Winning a championship should be the apex of any sportsperson's career.
It's an indicator that they are the best at their game. Limitless athletes may be spectacular at kicking balls into the net or shooting them through the hoop, but only one will stand above the rest as that sport's medalist, taking their place in the sporting world's Hall of Fame. For football, that's Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Kylian Mbappé. For basketball, it's LeBron James, Michael Jordan, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Usain Bolt, Muhammad Ali, Jessica Ennis, Roger Federer; they're some of sport's most celestial names.
In professional wrestling, winning a championship has a marginally different interpretation.
It's less a beacon of the art's best and more an indicator of who the given promotion wishes to portray as the best. Jinder Mahal was WWE Champion, while Rick Rude was not. Mahal's in a similar boat regarding the United States Championship, standing in the same conversation as an amalgam of wrestling's finest, from Lex Luger and Ric Flair to John Cena and AJ Styles.
Because of this, many of wrestling's most laudable athletes have embarked on a cynical run upon realising their destiny. On these occasions, a magical pop just wasn't enough...
10. Eddie Guerrero: WWE Championship
Eddie Guerrero was an unbelievable performer who'd have been a daily component of today's GIF-able state of pro wrestling. The unmitigated mastery of every Eddie Guerrero match went unrivalled in an era when workrate wasn't an influential decider in what makes a solid wrestler.
His ascendancy to WWE Champion came too late. Toppling Brock Lesnar at the 2004 No Way Out created what is heralded as a revered moment of the Ruthless Aggression Era. It was poignant in realisation. Guerrero had first arrived in WWE seeking preferred treatment than that he'd had in WCW. He was a perennial mid-carder there in spite of a killer breakthrough act in Mexico's AAA with Art Barr.
Discussion of his WWE Championship victory typically surrounds the win itself. Rarely is there conversation surrounding his actual run at the helm of the WWE ship - and that's because it sucked. Eddie went from a 30-minute epic vs. Lesnar to three disqualification finishes in a row before dropping the strap to JBL in a punishing Texas Bullrope match. Back-to-back defences vs. Kurt Angle and Rey Mysterio a month after surging to WWE Champion immortality was the peak of his run, 30 days into his 133-day reign.
Indeed, the only other highlight beyond this was that stomach-churning Judgement Day 2004 bloodbath. It was no fitting portrayal of the AAA legend.