Nothing signifies success in the professional wrestling business quite like wearing a big gold belt around your waist — except, perhaps, wearing two or three of them at the same time. While countless wrestlers have managed to become multiple time champions with more than one title, only a very select few have simultaneously held two belts at once, definitively placing them in the upper echelon of WWE history. Truly one of the rarest accomplishments a wrestler can muster, such a feat hasn’t been accomplished in nearly two years as of this writing. And the first didn’t even happen until WWE had been around for quite some time (granted, part of that had to do with a lack of championships in general).
No matter how you look at it, holding two wrestling championships at the same time is impressive. Most double champions accomplished the feat with the Tag Team Championships as one of their titles, but the fact they shared their success with a partner in no way marred the prestige of wearing two belts. A few of these teams were able to boast that both members were double champions, further solidifying who the elite forces in wrestling were during their day.
Outside of a few years during the Attitude Era when it seemed oddly commonplace, holding on to two belts for lengthy reigns was viewed as almost impossible. In fact, the when the first few instances of double champions in the WWE happened, the double champions were forced to vacate one of their belts due to obscure guidelines that the concept was somehow against the rules. There’s obviously no such rule anymore, but it’s still a difficult task for wrestlers to pull off, making it all the more important fans remember who was were actually able to do it. Keep reading to learn about 15 pro wrestlers you may have forgotten were double champions in WWE.
15. D’Lo Brown – European and Intercontinental Champion
It’s the real deal — despite a popular misconception — that Kurt Angle is far from the only Euro-Continental Champion around, as he was even beaten to the punch by D’Lo Brown several months earlier. Representing the people of Europe more often than any other performer, D’Lo started his accomplishment by defeating Mideon at Fully Loaded 1999 to regain the European Championship, already his third reign with the gold. Days later on Raw, a title vs. title match against Intercontinental Champion Jeff Jarrett saw D’Lo walk away with both belts, and he went on to defend them both concurrently for the next month. The success didn’t last long, however, as D’Lo lost both belts to Jarrett at SummerSlam, thus making Double J a double champion, as well. However, unlike D’Lo, Jarrett was unwilling to defend both titles and simply gave the European Championship away to D’Lo’s former friend turned enemy, Mark Henry. While D’Lo eventually managed to regain the European title from Henry, that was about it for his time in the sun, as a freak accident during a match against Droz basically derailed any momentum his time as double champion had afforded him.
14. Kurt Angle – European and Intercontinental Champion
Given the many accomplishments Kurt Angle has managed over the years, it’s almost understandable why he would cast aside everything we’ve just said about D’Lo Brown and pretend Brown’s reign as Euro-Continental Champion “didn’t count.” Of course, Angle was just joking and getting himself some boos when he made that comment in late 2000. But there was some wisdom in the idea, considering Angle was the only man to reign as Euro-Continental Champion while wearing Gold Medals around his neck, as well. Regardless of who was a better champion, Angle started the road to two titles on a February 2000 episode of SmackDown, defeating Val Venis for the European Championship. About three weeks later at No Way Out, he also beat Chris Jericho for the Intercontinental Championship, thus completing the rare accomplishment. In a classic case of his hubris getting the best of him though, Angle went on to lose both titles in a single match at WrestleMania 2000, as he foolishly put them up for grabs in a 2 out of 3 Falls Triple Threat Match. Jericho pinned Chris Benoit for the European belt, Benoit pinned Jericho for the Intercontinental belt, and Angle was left without any glory… at least for the time being.
13. Triple H – Intercontinental and Tag Team Champion
With all the terrible stories about his egomania and political games, it may be surprising Triple H didn’t wear the WWE Championship around his waist along with any other titles. However, in 2002, he had the company merge half the titles into one to fulfill that purpose, so maybe we’re getting ahead of ourselves. That isn’t the point, anyway, as it was a year earlier when Triple H held two titles at once, appropriately while he was half of the Two-Man Power Trip. It began when HHH aligned with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Vince McMahon the night after WrestleMania X-7, kicking in to high gear two days later when he defeated Chris Jericho for the Intercontinental Championship. Despite losing and regaining the title to Jeff Hardy over the next few weeks, Triple H remained strong when with the Rattlesnake, the two compounded their success at Backlash by beating Kane and The Undertaker for the WWE Tag Team Championships. Things fell apart for HHH soon after that though, as he lost the Intercontinental title to Kane at Judgment Day, and then the Power Trip lost the Tag Team belts to Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit the next night.
12. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin – WWE and Tag Team Champion
The one person who could one up Triple H’s success in the Two-Man Power Trip would naturally have been his partner — the man who held on to the WWE Championship throughout the whole ordeal, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. As the most popular superstar in company history, Austin has never been a stranger to wearing gold around his waist, or in his case, swinging it over his shoulder as he chugged beer. That said, his run with Triple H was the only time he managed to hold two championships at once, although it might be reasonable to claim Vince McMahon had more to do with that than his son-in-law. In one of the most infamous moments in WrestleMania history, Austin’s fifth WWE Championship reign began when McMahon helped him beat The Rock for the title, and it was Vince who put Austin together with Triple H, as well. This period of Austin’s career was pretty much entirely dictated by Vince as the Rattlesnake’s paranoia contrastingly made him terrified of losing his gold and became more vicious than ever in defending it. It could even be argued that Austin and Triple H only lost the Tag Team Championships because HHH injured his quad in their final match as a team, and there’s no saying how far they could have gone if he stayed healthy.
11. Eddie Guerrero – United States and Tag Team Champion
Arriving like an overbearing front of Latino Heat, the second-to-none Eddie Guerrero managed to become wildly popular and successful whenever and wherever wrestling execs were willing to shine a spotlight on him. After winning some gold in ECW and WCW, it looked like Eddie was ready to do the same in WWE, yet it took him a few years before he could seriously capitalize on his potential. Eddie finally started breaking through in the summer of 2003 when he won a tournament to crown a new United States Champion, and then he doubled down on that success a month and a half later on an episode of SmackDown by also winning the Tag Team Championships with his nephew Chavo. While we can ask what’s in a name, it could also be relevant that Los Guerreros defeated the World’s Greatest Tag Team to accomplish the task. However, neither belt would be attached to Eddie’s name for long, unfortunately, as he lost the US belt to The Big Show at No Mercy 2003, and then dropped the Tag Team titles to the Basham Brothers days later on SmackDown. It may have ultimately been a good thing, though, as just a few months later, he one-upped himself again and became WWE Champion.
10. Chris Benoit – World Heavyweight and Tag Team Champion
Unlike all the other wrestlers on this list, anyone who happened to forget about Chris Benoit’s time holding two giant pieces of gold probably did so in part by choice. On the other hand, at the time, it was almost impossible to ignore Benoit in 2004, when he was receiving the biggest push of his life. In fact, most fans heavily supported it, celebrating vigorously at WrestleMania XX when the Rabid Wolverine defeated Triple H and Shawn Michaels in a triple threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship. Not one to rest easy, HHH somewhat made up for it the next week when his cohorts Batista and Ric Flair won the Tag Team Championships from Booker T and Rob Van Dam. But Benoit was quick to cut off that momentum by taking those same belts away from Evolution with Edge as his partner. Edge and Benoit defeated Batista and Flair slightly one month after Benoit had won the Big Gold Belt, and they managed to hold on to the Tag Team titles for six weeks before dropping the them to La Résistance. Benoit held on to the World Heavyweight Championship another three months before dropping it to Randy Orton.
9. Bob Backlund – World and Tag Team Champion
Well before he won his second title, Bob Backlund was on his way to the Hall of Fame as one of the best WWE Champions in history. He defeated “Superstar” Billy Graham for the belt on February 20, 1978 and went on to hold it for nearly six years. It was a little under halfway through that reign when he added the second piece of gold to his collection. In the semi-main event of the Showdown at Shea in 1980, Backlund teamed with Pedro Morales to defeat the Wild Samoans for the Tag Team Championships in a 2 out of 3 Falls Match, 2-0. Unfortunately for Bob and Pedro, this was the example mentioned in the intro where WWE officials decided there was a rule no man could reign with two titles at once, and thus, Bob and Pedro were immediately stripped of the gold. This didn’t make much sense as Bob never should’ve been allowed to challenge for the tag team championship if he couldn’t it. In any event, a tournament was held to crown new champions, and the belts went back to the Samoans. It wasn’t all bad for Bob though, as he kept his more important WWE Championship for some three more years.
8. Diesel – Intercontinental and Tag Team Champion
Contrasting the year-long WWE Championship reign that would start days after he had lost the belt that made him a double champion, Diesel’s time with two pieces of gold lasted all of one day, so we can’t fault people who missed it. His first title in WWE was the Intercontinental Championship, which he won from Razor Ramon on an April ’94 episode of Superstars. Then several months later, the night before SummerSlam, he and Shawn Michaels defeated The Headshrinkers for the Tag Team titles. However, it was the next night at the Pay-Per-View when Diesel lost the Intercontinental belt back to Ramon, making his double championship reign one that lasted less than 24 hours. Diesel and HBK held on to the Tag Team Championships for three more months, however, until they were forced to vacate them at Survivor Series when Michaels broke up the team. Taking the loss in stride, it was a mere three days later that Diesel beat Bob Backlund for the WWE Championship and rebounded without losing his cool. The next year, Diesel and Michaels would win the Tag Team Championships for a second time, again making Diesel a double champion, though they were forced to return the belts on a technicality the next night.
7. Davey Boy Smith – European and Tag Team Champion
Neither Owen Hart nor Davey Boy Smith were strangers to the Tag Team Championships when they formed a team and defeated The Smoking Gunns for the titles at In Your House: Mind Games. Owen had twice won the belts before with Yokozuna, and Davey previously held them with the Dynamite Kid. Yet it seemed like their new team was even greater than either of those earlier units thanks to how well they got along. Confirming the team’s greatness, Davey added the European Championship to his resume by defeating Owen in a tournament final while they reigned as Tag Team champs. Rather than break up or even show dissension, Smith and Hart stuck together as tag champs for about three more months after Davey had won the European belt. Along the way, Owen became a double champion, as well, beating Rocky Maivia for the Intercontinental title on an episode of Raw — and he even managed to become a two-time Slammy Award winner. Unfortunately, Hart and Smith’s time as double champions ended on May 26, 1997, when “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels defeated them for the Tag Team titles.
6. Shawn Michaels – WWE and European Champion
Perhaps feeling that his one day as Intercontinental and Tag Team Champion with Diesel in 1995 didn’t count, the story goes, as Shawn Michaels has implied, that he more or less demanded Vince McMahon to make him a double champion for a second time. Of course, this happened in an era when McMahon was plausibly in HBK’s pocket, so it wouldn’t have been that difficult for Michaels to get his way. The original plan for One Night Only was for Davey Boy Smith to retain the European Championship, but when it was all said and done, Michaels walked out of the building with the belt. Less than two months later, the Montreal Screwjob happened at Survivor Series, and that meant HBK was also the WWE Champion, something he knew was coming — and thus brought up the question as to why he wanted the European title to begin with. The prevailing theory is that HBK simply wanted to steal Davey Boy’s glory in his home country, embarrassing the Hart family as part of their ongoing feud. Whatever the case, Michaels held both titles for about a month before dropping the European belt to Triple H in a precursor to the Fingerpoke of Doom.
5. Ken Shamrock – Intercontinental and Tag Team Champion
Were pro wrestling a legitimate contest, chances are the so-called “World’s Most Dangerous Man” Ken Shamrock would have cemented his nickname by winning whatever WWE title he damn well pleased. Luckily for his coworkers, Shamrock was more civilized than his character, and was willing to settle for winning the Intercontinental Championship in a one-night tournament on a 1998 episode of Raw. Shamrock defeated Steve Blackman, Val Venis, and X-Pac en route to the gold. That same night, the Big Bossman made his WWE return — relevant because he and Shamrock went on to win the Tag Team Championships from the New Age Outlaws about two months later after Ken joined Vince McMahon’s Corporation. Bossman also won the Hardcore Championship two weeks prior to him and Ken forming a tag team, making their unit another example where both members became double champions. However, things started unraveling quickly as Bossman lost the Hardcore title the next week on Raw, and their Tag Team reign wasn’t meant to last either, as they dropped the belts to Jeff Jarrett and Owen Hart the next month. Shamrock lost his Intercontinental Championship to Val Venis weeks after that, and he never was able to recapture his early dominance.
4. Batista – World Heavyweight and Tag Team Champion
Impressive physique notwithstanding, in a certain respect, Batista was one of the least likely double champions ever to grace WWE. He was already 36 years old when he won his first World Heavyweight Championship, and while that hardly put him near retirement age, it’s a bit later than most wrestlers would get their start. Proving just how little any of that mattered, Batista won the Big Gold Belt from Triple H at WrestleMania 21, and went on to become the longest reigning champion in the title’s history. Approximately eight months into his run as World Heavyweight Champion, Batista also won the Tag Team Championships with Rey Mysterio as his partner by defeating MNM on an episode of SmackDown. Contrasting his incredible success as a solo champion, Batista and Mysterio only held on to the belts for a mere two weeks before losing them back to MNM, also suffering a loss to Raw’s Tag Team Champions Kane and The Big Show along the way. None of this affected Batista’s dominance in the solo division in and of itself, but his reign was nonetheless not meant to last, as he was forced to vacate the World Heavyweight Championship mere weeks later due to injury.
3. John Cena – WWE and Tag Team Champion
Considering his status as the preeminent face of WWE for more than the last decade, John Cena has held more gold than almost anyone else in the company, especially if that statement is confined to the more recent years. That said, he’s actually pulled off double championship status only once, during his third of what would become a record 16 World Championships. At that point, Cena won the WWE Championship from Edge at Unforgiven 2006, coincidentally kicking off what would be the longest of his many reigns as champion. Given that longevity, it tracks he might run out of singles opponents, and thus he started tagging with his eventual WrestleMania 23 challenger, Shawn Michaels. And with their combined star power, it wasn’t difficult for them to pick up the Tag Team Championships from Edge and Randy Orton en route to the Grandest Stage of Them All. Despite winning the tag belts, Cena and Michaels were still set to headline the show, and thus WrestleMania 23 became the only time in history the Tag Team Champions wrestled one another in the main event. Not coincidentally, they weren’t able to hold things together for long after that, as they lost their belts to the Hardy Boys the next night on Raw.
2. The Miz – United States and Tag Team Champion / WWE and Tag Team Champion
Managing to show up everybody on this list, The Miz has actually managed to become a double champion in WWE twice with a different combination of titles, albeit with the caveat his second turn with two belts didn’t last particularly long. His initial feat was far more impressive, beginning when he won the United States Championship from Kofi Kingston on an October 2009 episode of Raw. Halfway into an incredible eight-month reign with the belt, Miz also teamed up with The Big Show to win the WWE Tag Team Championships by defeating Triple H and Shawn Michaels — a huge accomplishment in and of itself. Things fell apart for the Miz quite rapidly though, as he and Show lost the tag belts to The Hart Dynasty on a late April 2010 episode of Raw, and he similarly dropped the US title to Bret Hart a mere weeks after that. His fortunes turned around, however, when he won the WWE Championship near the end of that year, and it looked even better when he and John Cena won the Tag Team Championships from The Corre months later. However, as already stated, the second time around, Miz would only hold on to both belts for a few minutes before losing the tag belts back to the Corre when Miz turned on Cena.
1. Seth Rollins – WWE and United States Champion
As the self-proclaimed Architect of WWE, one might expect Seth Rollins to try something more original than following in the footsteps of everyone else on this list, plus the many we didn’t have time to mention. Granted, no one superstar quite matched his feat when he won the WWE and United States Championship at once, so perhaps he was plenty original in his task after all. Rollins reached his rare feat by first winning the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 31, cashing in his Money in the Bank contract to defeat Brock Lesnar for the belt. He held on to the gold for so long he started feeling the need for more, and thus started challenging for John Cena’s United States title as well. Rollins bested Cena to become a double champion at SummerSlam, thanks largely to unexpected help from Jon Stewart. His run as WWE and United States Champion was plenty impressive, but it wasn’t meant to last, as Rollins dropped the US title back to Cena the next month at Night of Champions. The bad news kept coming less than two months later, when Rollins suffered a terrible injury that forced him to vacate the WWE Championship as well.