Tuesday, AJ Styles pulled off the unthinkable, unseating
Jinder Mahal and capturing the WWE Championship. His win two weeks before
Survivor Series will force a major change to a marquee match at the PPV, with
Styles now slated to face WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar in a
Styles’ win was notable for another major reason: He became
the first person to win the WWE Championship outside of North America, as
SmackDown emanated from Manchester, England. Considering that the title has
been around for more than 50 years, that’s a pretty incredible feat. The title
has changed hands in Canada a few times, but it had a perfect track record
everywhere else, until Tuesday.
But this is not the first time that WWE championships have
changed hands outside North America. Far from it, actually. In fact, most other
WWE titles have transferred from one champ to another on other continents.
There have been more than 20 WWE title changes in Europe, Asia, Australia and
even Africa through the years.
(Interestingly enough, the only populated continent where no
title changes have taken place is where a few fictitious tournaments have
happened: South America.)
The Phenomenal One’s victory was the second WWE title switch
in England in as many days, as Sheamus & Cesaro won the Raw Tag Team
Championships on Monday, defeating the Shield.
Putting that very recent win aside, let’s take a look at
some of the more notable title changes that happened outside North America.
Scott is a former journalist and longtime wrestling fan who was smart enough to abandon WCW during the Monday Night Wars the same time as the Radicalz. He fortunately became a fan in time for WrestleMania III and came back as a fan after a long high school hiatus before WM XIV. Monday nights in the Carlson household are reserved for viewing Raw -- for better or worse.