There are eight active titles in the WWE, NXT included, and in this article, I will rank each title from worst to first based on how they were defended in 2015. This includes number of defences, variety, quality of matches, storylines and title holders themselves.
8th: Divas Championship
2015 Title Holders: Nikki Bella & Charlotte.
Best Title Match: Charlotte versus Becky Lynch (SmackDown)
Best Champion: Charlotte
The so called Divas Revolution of WWE has not amounted to much so far, but there is plenty of hope for it in 2016. As this list is focused on the entirety of 2015 however, this title can’t be anywhere other than last. The Divas Championship spent the first half of 2015 being defended in matches no longer than ten minutes with feuds that were given little to no time to develop on Raw. The title suffered because of this and the fact that Nikki Bella, who has undeniably improved dramatically, held the title for much of the year which really hurt any potential match quality. The second half of the year saw an improvement with Charlotte taking the title, but her lack of a defined character as well as the fact that neither Sasha Banks nor Becky Lynch had a title shot until the end of 2015, meant this title confirmed itself on the bottom of the list. Let’s hope, for the sake of the women’s division, that the pink butterfly disappears soon and is replaced by a real championship.
7th: NXT Tag Team Championship
2015 Title Holders: The Lucha Dragons, Blake & Murphy, The Vaudevillains and Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder.
Best Match: Blake & Murphy versus The Vaudevillains (NXT Takeover: Brooklyn)
Best Champions: Blake & Murphy
The NXT tag team division is in amazing shape heading into 2016 and the back half of 2015 did a remarkable job in setting up the future of the division, but that doesn’t change the fact that there really haven’t been any standout title matches this year. The Dragons held the title for the first half of January so their reign won’t really be assessed here. Blake & Murphy as well as Dawson & Wilder were teams that more or less came out of nowhere and won the titles with the latter being far more successful as champions. Blake & Murphy spent 219 days as champion and carried the division for most of the year, but now find themselves in no man’s land. The Vaudevillains put on three excellent title matches as champions or challengers so credit to them, but the world is ready, willing and Gable for this division to go to the next level in 2016.
6th: Intercontinental Championship
2015 Title Holders: Dolph Ziggler, Wade Barrett, Daniel Bryan, Ryback, Kevin Owens & Dean Ambrose.
Best Match: Daniel Bryan versus Dolph Ziggler (Raw)
Best Champion: Kevin Owens
When you look at who has held the title in 2015, it’s shocking that the Intercontinental Championship can be ranked so low. Unfortunately, a combination of poor booking, injury and Ryback hurt this title in 2015. I have nothing against The Big Guy, but he simply can’t deliver a memorable match without some serious help. What would have been an excellent reign from Bryan was unfortunately cut short due to injury, Barrett was booked weaker than any champion in 2015, Dolph Ziggler held the title for four days of 2015 and Dean Ambrose’s reign has obviously just started leaving Kevin Owens as the only logical choice as best champion. He and Ambrose put on two quality matches, but the match between Ziggler and Bryan for the title on the night after WrestleMania.
5th: WWE Tag Team Championships
2015 Title Holders: The Usos, Tyson Kidd & Cesaro, The New Day x2 and The Prime Time Players
Best Match: The New Day versus The Lucha Dragons versus The Usos (TLC)
Best Champions: The New Day
This title gets the jump on the Intercontinental Championship for two reasons. Firstly, Tyson Kidd & Cesaro putting on some fantastic performances carrying the division for a while and secondly, the pure entertainment value of the New Day. The team of Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods spent the better part of 175 days as champions in 2015 and they haven’t just carried the division, they have more or less carried WWE programming. Their antics made you want to see the tag team division and made the titles feel important. Of course, the best Tag Team Championship match of 2015 was the triple threat ladder match from TLC. All three teams laid it all on the line and completely stole the show. I feel it’s only a matter of time before we get a feud between The New Day and Enzo Amore & Colin Cassidy and the prospect will only make the division that much better in 2016.
4th: WWE World Heavyweight Championship
2015 Title Holders: Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins, Sheamus & Roman Reigns
Best Match: Brock Lesnar versus Seth Rollins versus John Cena (Royal Rumble)
Best Champion: Seth Rollins
The WWE World Heavyweight Championship has had a poor two years overall. It spent most of 2014 not being defended at all, whether it was due to Bryan being injured or Lesnar being absent and had too many poor defences in 2015. While it started the year with a bang at the Royal Rumble, defences at Extreme Rules, Night of Champions, Hell in a Cell and TLC were all sub-par with Rollins’ injury in the middle derailing the championships momentum. WWE not pulling the trigger on guys like Cesaro, instead opting for the likes of Kane and Sting, hurt the quality of the title matches and the entire feud between Sheamus and Roman Reigns was rubbish – tater tots. Expect this title to have a much better 2016.
3rd: NXT Championship
2015 Title Holders: Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens & Finn Balor
Best Match: Finn Balor versus Samoa Joe (NXT Takeover: London)
Best Champion: Finn Balor
The top titles of NXT don’t get defended with the regularity of the main roster titles, but that doesn’t hurt their rankings whatsoever. The title came into 2015 in electric fashion off the back of Neville and Zayn putting on one of the best title matches ever in a WWE ring and while Owens and Zayn didn’t quite reach that match quality wise, they put on one of the best storylines in 2015 with a referee stoppage ending their first match. Zayn went into their second match with a banged up shoulder which probably didn’t help the match quality. From there, Owens did a remarkable job of making the NXT Championship valuable and when he passed the title to Balor in that incredible match in Beast in the East, Balor took the title to the next level, becoming the face of the whole brand. A couple of poorer title defences spread throughout are a small tarnish on the title, but in its totality, it was one of the best titles of 2015 and will be one of the best titles of 2016.
2nd: NXT Women’s Championship
2015 Title Holders: Charlotte, Sasha Banks & Bayley
Best Match: Sasha Banks versus Bayley (NXT Takeover: Brooklyn)
Best Champion: Sasha Banks
Like the NXT Championship, the women’s title wasn’t defended particularly often, but when it was, it was always quality. Forget everything Michael Cole and JBL try to spoon-feed you, it was NXT and in particular, this title and how it was defended in 2015 that started the Divas Revolution. From the very first match at NXT Takeover: Rival that birthed the Four Horsewomen, to the very last defence at NXT Takeover: London which was some of the best in ring psychology you’ll ever see, this title become the top prize in NXT for much of 2015. While Bayley deserves all the credit in the world for her run with the prize, it was Sasha Banks’ reign that was the most memorable. Her two matches with Charlotte on NXT TV were great, her match with Becky Lynch at NXT Takeover: Unstoppable showed just how good Becky is and put her on the map and then of course, the match with Bayley in Brooklyn was the match of the year in 2015. The best way to summarize this title is that every defence in the first half of 2015 briefly held the title of best women’s match in WWE history. It’s only briefly, because each subsequent match then stole that title. Bayley and Sasha main-eventing NXT Takeover: Respect was the icing on the cake as this title in 2015 will be remembered for years to come.
1st: United States Championship
2015 Title Holders: Rusev, John Cena x2, Seth Rollins & Alberto Del Rio
Best Match: John Cena versus Cesaro (Raw)
Best Champion: John Cena
Love him or hate him, what John Cena did for the United States Championship in 2015 is unparalleled. He took a title that was without a doubt the most forgotten title in the WWE and turned it into the best part of Raw every single week. The Open Challenge gave the majority of the roster a chance to shine and the quality of each of those matches was outstanding. Whether it was Sami Zayn, Stardust, Neville, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler or Kevin Owens, the United States Championship was treated like the top prize in the company and John Cena deserves all the credit for that. His match with Rollins at SummerSlam for both titles, minus the interference, was incredible and seeing Seth holding both titles showed the United States Championship belonged next to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Alberto Del Rio’s run wasn’t anywhere near as interesting with Del Rio defending against Jack Swagger and that’s about it, but it’s not enough of a blemish to tarnish Cena’s work.
Do you agree or disagree with this list? Send your feedback to @NicNegrepontis and @CamelClutchBlog on Twitter.