WrestleMania is WWE’s flagship pay-per-view and is famed for hosting pivotal World Title changes.
Across 37 ‘Mania events, only on 13 occasions has a wrestler won their first WWE World Title at WrestleMania. This feature lists each one.
‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage – WrestleMania IV
Hulk Hogan had reigned as WWF World Champion for four years when he dropped the gold to Andre ‘The Giant’ on NBC special, ‘The Main Event.’
After Andre ‘sold’ the title to ‘Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase, the strap was declared vacant and put up for grabs in a one-night tournament at WrestleMania IV.
On March 27, 1988 ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage battled past Butch Reed, Greg Valentine and The One Man Gang, before defeating DiBiase to claim his first World Title.
Savage would reign as champion for an entire year, before dropping the belt to Hogan in the main event of WrestleMania V.
The Ultimate Warrior – WrestleMania VI
With Hulk Hogan set to take an extended hiatus from the WWF to film Suburban Commando and recuperate from a packed schedule in the preceding six years, the federation was seeking a new company figurehead.
Their choice was, Intercontinental Champion, The Ultimate Warrior. Billed as a Title For Title match, with both the WWF and IC Championships on the line, the battle between Hogan and Warrior was an exciting affair.
In a shocking finish, Warrior cleanly pinned ‘The Hulkster’ after a splash to win his first (and only) World Title. Unfortunately, for him, Hogan stole the spotlight post-match by presenting Warrior with the belt.
Warrior’s cartoonish gimmick lacked the broad appeal of Hogan or Savage and his title reign failed at the box office. He was relieved of the gold by Sergeant Slaughter at the 1991 Royal Rumble and was never considered for a title run again.
Yokozuna – WrestleMania IX
With business in decline, WWF Chairman, Vince McMahon decided that bigger was better and selected the mammoth Yokozuna as his new big box office draw.
Yokozuna won the 1993 Royal Rumble match to earn a shot at WWF Champion, Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart at WrestleMania IX. Yokozuna dethroned Hart in a woeful headliner to claim the WWF World Title. He dropped the belt moments later in an impromptu bout with Hulk Hogan.
He would avenge that humiliating loss a couple of months later at the inaugural King of the Ring pay-per-view event to become a two-time WWF Champion.
Shawn Michaels – WrestleMania XII
Shawn Michaels’ quest to achieve his ‘boyhood dream’ finally came to pass in the main event of WrestleMania XII.
After tasting defeat to Diesel in the WWF Championship match-up at ‘Mania XI, ‘The Heartbreak Kid’ went one better and dethroned Bret Hart to claim gold in the Ironman bout in the ‘Mania XII headliner.
Michaels would hold the title until Survivor Series and would capture the strap on a further two occasions in 1997.
Stone Cold Steve Austin – WrestleMania XIV
Stone Cold Steve Austin’s career appeared to be over in the summer of 1997 after suffering a devastating neck injury. Said injury occurred after Owen Hart uncharacteristically, recklessly failed to protect Stone Cold during a Tombstone Piledriver at SummerSlam 1997.
After several months of rest and recuperation, Stone Cold miraculously returned to the ring and soon claimed his spot at the summit of the industry.
‘The Rattlesnake’ clashed with WWF Champion, Shawn Michaels in the main event of WrestleMania XIV. After blocking a Sweet Chin Music attempt, Austin nailed ‘The Heartbreak Kid’ with a Stone Cold Stunner to claim the first of six WWF Championships.
Chris Benoit – WrestleMania XX
Incredibly, it took six years, after WrestleMania XIV for another wrestler to claim their first WWE Championship at ‘The Showcase of the Immortals.’
Chris Benoit is the first wrestler on this list who had previously held a World Title; having reigned as WCW World Champion for a single day in January 2000. Benoit bested Sid Vicious in the main event of Souled Out to claim the vacant strap, but left the company the following day, primarily due to heat with then-booker, Kevin Sullivan.
It took four years for ‘The Crippler’ to reach the summit of the WWE mountain. However, he did so in memorable style. Benoit defeated World Heavyweight Champion, Triple H and Shawn Michaels to win his first (and only) WWE World Championship in a blistering triple threat war.
Unfortunately, the events during the weekend of June 22 to June 24, 2007, has ensured that Benoit’s crowning moment can never be celebrated and is destined to be lost to history.
John Cena – WrestleMania 21
It’s somewhat surprising that John Cena, WWE’s biggest star of the last two decades, had a rather forgettable crowning moment to win his first World Title.
Batista versus Triple H took centre stage in the WrestleMania 21 main event. Cena had to settle for a spot on the WrestleMania undercard.
Cena clashed with long-reigning WWE Champion, John ‘Bradshaw’ Layfield. In an unmemorable match-up, Cena smashed JBL with a single F-U to lift the WWE Championship. His first of 16 WWE World Titles.
Batista – WrestleMania 21
The original plan for WrestleMania 21 was for Randy Orton to face and dethrone his Evolution stablemate, Triple H of the World Heavyweight Championship.
However, in its haste to create new headline stars, WWE rushed Orton’s title victory to SummerSlam 2004 instead and then abruptly turned him babyface the next night, as Evolution turned on him. By burning through six months of storytelling in the space of 24 hours, Orton’s title run was bungled and Triple H relieved him of the belt several weeks later at Unforgiven.
Orton’s ‘Mania spot was given to his former Evolution comrade, Batista instead. ‘The Animal’ won the 2005 Royal Rumble and received a monster push heading into WrestleMania. At the ‘Showcase of the Immortals’ Batista crushed ‘The Game’ and defeated him for the gold, which set up a nine-month title run which was ended as a result of a triceps tear, which sidelined him for most of 2006.
Batista would claim a further five WWE World Titles, prior to his retirement in 2019.
Rey Mysterio – WrestleMania 22
When Eddie Guerrero tragically passed away on November 13, 2005, at the age of 38, it left a void in WWE’s main event club.
His real-life friend, Rey Mysterio was chosen to fill that spot. Mysterio won the 2006 Royal Rumble match from the number two position, setting a then-longevity record of 62 minutes.
Mysterio and Randy Orton challenged Kurt Angle for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 22 and Mysterio pinned Orton to win his first WWE World Title. Mysterio would hold a further two World Titles during his two-decade WWE career.
Seth Rollins – WrestleMania 31
Roman Reigns won the 2015 Royal Rumble match and challenged WWE Champion, Brock Lesnar in the headliner of WrestleMania 31.
However, it was Reigns’s former Shield ally, Seth Rollins who actually left ‘Mania as the new WWE Champion. During the main event, Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase and nailed Reigns with the Stomp to walk out of ‘Mania as the new WWE Champion.
Rollins held the gold until November 5, 2015, when he vacated the strap due to injury.
Kofi Kingston – WrestleMania 35
Kofi Kingston debuted in WWE in January 2008. He looked set to smash through the glass ceiling and become a permanent fixture in WWE’s main event scene in late 2009. However, following his memorable feud with Randy Orton, Kingston was demoted back to the mid-card.
Kingston established The New Day, with Big E and Xavier Woods in 2014 and the trio became a fixture in the tag team division.
However, in early 2019, the WWE Universe got behind Kingston in a big way and he earned a crack at Daniel Bryan’s WWE Championship at WrestleMania 35.
After a stunning match-up, Kingston nailed Bryan with the Trouble In Paradise to claim the strap. Unfortunately, following his title win, Kingston failed to update his act and distance himself from his mid-card New Day persona.
Kingston was relieved of the gold by Brock Lesnar in a paltry eight seconds on the October 4, 2019, SmackDown. It seems unlikely that Kingston will earn a second World Title reign.
Braun Strowman – WrestleMania 36
Braun Strowman wasn’t originally booked on the WrestleMania 36 card. However, when Universal Championship challenger, Roman Reigns withdrew from the show, Strowman was given a tremendous opportunity to wrestle Universal Champion, Goldberg.
‘The Monster Among Men’ took full advantage, nailing the champion with three powerslams to lift the title.
Regrettably, Strowman’s reign was unremarkable and he dropped the belt to Bray Wyatt’s ‘Fiend’ persona at SummerSlam.
Drew McIntyre – WrestleMania 36
Drew McIntyre is the most recent WWE wrestler to have claimed their first WWE World Championship at WrestleMania.
Unfortunately, for the ‘Scottish Psychopath’, his crowning moment occurred behind closed doors at ‘Mania 36, which took place just weeks into the global coronavirus pandemic.
McIntyre defeated WWE Champion, Brock Lesnar in a quickfire, glorified squash match. He would hold the title until October when he was dethroned by Randy Orton.
The Scot would regain the title from ‘The Viper’ three weeks later on the November 16, Raw.
You can watch every WrestleMania event exclusively on the WWE Network.