WWE Top 10 takes you back to this week's SmackDown LIVE to revisit the show's most thrilling, physical and controversial moments.02/22/2017 - 13:30
John Cena, Dean Ambrose, AJ Styles, The Miz, Baron Corbin, Dolph Ziggler, Luke Harper, Kalisto, Apollo Crews, Mojo Rawley battle for the right to headline WrestleMania against WWE Champion Bray Wyatt.02/22/2017 - 00:15
Fearless Nikki gets checked out after battling The Queen of Black Harts and suffering a pipe assault courtesy of Maryse.02/21/2017 - 23:45
After Naomi was forced to relinquish the SmackDown Women's Championship, The Wicked Witch of WWE battles her longstanding adversary to become the new titleholder.02/21/2017 - 22:00
Fearless Nikki looks to rid her life of The Queen of Black Harts in a brutal Falls Count Anywhere Match.02/21/2017 - 22:00
Just nine days after realizing her lifelong dream, an injured Naomi must surrender the SmackDown Women's Title to General Manager Daniel Bryan.02/21/2017 - 21:00
See incredible slow-motion footage from the explosive SmackDown LIVE WWE Title Triple Threat Match between Bray Wyatt, John Cena and AJ Styles.02/17/2017 - 15:45
Three of SmackDown LIVE's best square off for the WWE Championship in a main event free-for-all.02/14/2017 - 22:45
World Heavyweight Championship turns five years old
While there was no birthday cake in the locker room, Sept. 2 was an anniversary for one of WWE's most sought-after honors.
On Sept. 2, 2002 in Milwaukee, Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff bestowed the new WWE World Heavyweight Championship on Triple H to give the Raw brand its own signature champion after WWE Undisputed Champion Brock Lesnar declared he would only compete on SmackDown.
Although new, the honor had an extensive history. It was directly descended from the former WCW World Championship, which came to WWE from the company's purchase of WCW in 2001.
Before it was the WCW World Championship, the title was also the National Wrestling Alliance's World Heavyweight Championship. The NWA lineage is traceable back to George Hackenschmidt, who first won the title in 1904. Legendary wrestlers Frank Gotch, Lou Thesz, Bronko Nagurski, and Harley Race also held the NWA championship in the prime of their careers.
When WCW ended its relationship with the NWA in the early 1990s, Ric Flair was recognized as the first-ever WCW World Champion. Since that time, top names such as Hulk Hogan, Ron Simmons, and Bret Hart carried the championship prior to WCW's demise.
During the 2001 invasion of WCW and ECW, the WCW World Title changed hands six times in a WWE ring before Chris Jericho unified it with the WWE Championship at Vengeance in December 2001.
Since its reincarnation in 2002, top WWE Superstars such as Shawn Michaels, The Great Khali, Edge, Batista, Triple H, King Booker, Undertaker and Rey Mysterio have worn the prestigious championship. It has changed hands 16 times, and Triple H leads the locker room with five championship reigns.
While only five years young, WWE's version of the World Heavyweight gold has already had a ringside seat for some of our most memorable and competitive matches.
And as SmackDown's signature championship, the title will likely celebrate many more birthdays on future champions' waists, for some yet to step in a WWE ring, and some yet to be born.