20th Sep2019

Ten Best: WWE Intercontinental Champions Of All Time

by Chris Cummings

With the WWE recently celebrating the Intercontinental Title on a WWE network special, Chris takes a look at the Ten Best WWE Intercontinental Champions Of All Time…

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The Intercontinental Title in WWE has been, for most of its existence, a title that has helped take a mid-card talent and show them off in a bigger way, often transitioning them from the mid-card to the main event. It has been called “The Workhorse Title” by many, often being pointed to as the belt held and fought over by some of the more gifted technical wrestlers in the company. Growing up, it was always the Intercontinental strap that I looked forward to seeing defended on shows, whether it was “Macho Man” Randy Savage holding it, Bret “Hitman” Hart, Mr. Perfect or “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, it was usually a match that stole the show and was often held by a great worker.

As time as gone by, we’ve seen more legendary wrestlers hold the belt. “Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H, Chris Jericho, The Miz and many others have been strong champions over the years and though it isn’t always treated with the respect it should be, it is often a match that results in some very entertaining feuds and matches. So, I thought it would be an interesting idea to list whom I feel are the ten best Intercontinental Champions in the history of WWE. Again, like all these opinion-pieces, this isn’t fact, it’s subjective like most things in wrestling tend to be, so if you have a favourite champion who isn’t listed here, then let us know!

Here goes…

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10) Honky Tonk Man

The longest reigning Intercontinental Champion of all time, baby! He had his hair slicked back and he came to your town in his pink Cadillac, The Honky Tonk Man had a very entertaining run as I-C Champion in the 1980s in WWE. Holding the title for a record 454 days, Honky would go on to lose the belt, in quick fashion, to The Ultimate Warrior. But what a run he had, and it made his career. He would go on to call himself “The Greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time” in every promo he did after that. Hell… he did it in 2019!

9) “Macho Man” Randy Savage

WrestleMania 3. Savage and Steamboat took the wrestling world by storm with a beautiful wrestling match that remains a favourite among fans to this day. Savage was a spectacular wrestler, my personal favourite of all time, and his run as the Intercontinental Champion in the 80s was awesome. A fabulous and charismatic heel, he had some phenomenal matches with Honky Tonk Man, Tito Santana and “The Dragon” and became one of the best I-C champs in the process. Ooh yeah!

8) Razor Ramon

“The Bad Guy” had one hell of a run in WWE back in the early to mid-90s. His feuds with The 123 Kid, Shawn Michaels, Diesel, Jeff Jarrett and Goldust stand out to me as some of his greatest, and he was in his prime years here, having smashing bouts with his opponents, some featuring ladders, some not. He was a breath of fresh air, at the time, a big guy who could work and wrestle well with most who he got in the ring with.

7) The Rock

The Rock had a legendary career, and it all began with the Intercontinental Title. He feuded over the belt with many top notch talents, from Steve Austin to Ken Shamrock to Owen Hart, and had some awesome matches. His run would lead him to his eventual push to the main events where he would stay for the rest of his career. It all began with that I-C strap.

6) Owen Hart

The Rocket, The Black Hart, The King of Harts… Owen had a career that was wonderful to experience. His time in WWE in the 90s was a blast, and I remember it all very fondly. Owen was one of my favourites to watch, and some of his matches over this title were truly fantastic. Feuding over the I-C gold with the likes of Steve Austin, Goldust and Rocky Maivia, among others, seeing Owen holding gold was always a good thing, considering how great he was. One of the best to never make it to the World Title.

5) Bret “Hitman” Hart

Bret Hart was a guy who had an awesome tag-team career, a great main event career and a wonderful mid-card career too. Winning the title for the first time in an absolute classic with Mr. Perfect, he’d go on to other classic matches over that title with the likes of Roddy Piper and British Bulldog. One of the greatest wrestlers ever, Hart was also one of the best I-C champs to ever wear the belt.

4) Shawn Michaels

HBK had one of the most legendary runs in all of wrestling, and while I look back fondly on his main event runs, I do think of his I-C reigns with a similar fondness. He had some classic bouts with many people, including former tag-team partner Marty Jannetty but it’s perhaps his ladder matches with Razor ‘Scott Hall’ Ramon that stand out above all. The two matches, that took place in 1994 and 1995, are still incredible to watch now.

3) Mr. Perfect

When I think of the Intercontinental Title I often picture Mr. Perfect, a towel over his neck, gum in his mouth and the belt around his waist. Absolutely… perfect. His match with Bret Hart at SummerSlam in 1991 is one of my favourite I-C Title matches of all time, too. He’s a legend and was vastly under-used when he was in his prime. The Intercontinental Title should have been Mr. Perfect’s stepping stone to becoming a World Champion.

2) The Miz

The Miz, will, one day (probably soon) become the guy who holds the record for most-reigns as Intercontinental Champ. He has become synonymous with the title, and visa-versa, in the modern era of WWE. There has been times in recent history that The Miz has made the belt feel more important than many others who have held it, and that’s a great thing to see. The belt makes The Miz feel bigger and better, and he makes the belt feel more important. The title has fallen from the perch is once stood upon, but The Miz has, on many occasions, been able to change that and bring it to some sort of prominence again.

1) Chris Jericho

It’s hard to argue that Chris Jericho is the best I-C champ of all time. Not only is he (as of writing) the guy with the most title reigns, but he also had some of the best matches over the belt with a whole bucket of amazing opponents. Chris Benoit, Rob Van Dam, Christian and many others worked with Jericho in some fantastic bouts over that title, and it all went into creating a legacy that stands at the top of the mountain. Jericho was a highlight of the mid-to-higher card in the late 90s and early 00s in WWE, and his matches were often the best on the card. He was, and is, a phenomenal worker, and one of the most charismatic showmen in wrestling, and THE best Intercontinental Champion in the history of WWE.
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So, there we have it. A quick countdown of who I feel are the ten best Intercontinental Champions in WWE history. What do YOU think? Is someone missing, in your view? Let us know, and thanks for reading.

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