The Intercontinental Championship has always played second fiddle to the WWE Championship, but if we take a look back at the company's history, most Intercontinental Champions do go on to win the WWE championship. Essentially, the IC belt is like a trial run to see if the superstar has what it takes to carry the load. It's a belt that can catapult a wrestler into super stardom. The question is; how can we gauge what constitutes as a successful title run?
There are two main factors that go into judging a successful title run. The first one is, longevity. If the wrestler is entrusted to carry the second most important belt in the company for a large amount of time, then they are clearly doing something right and probably have a ton of upside. The second factor is the success the wrestler achieved after his Intercontinental title reign, more specifically, if he used it as a spring board to the WWE championship. The second factor is also key because there have been some wrestlers that were given long IC title reigns, yet their careers stayed stagnant or they simply faded off. Shelton Benjamin. for example. held the belt for a combined 354 days during his two title reigns, but he didn't generate much interest and simply became an afterthought. This was an extremely difficult list to make and there will be some scrutiny! Without further ado, here's the top 10 Intercontinental Champions in WWE history.
9 "Double J" Jeff Jarrett
8 Pedro Morales
7 Chris Jericho
Jericho perhaps used the IC championship to catapult his career more than anyone else. He had nine IC Championship reigns (yes, nine), and was crowned the first ever undisputed WWE Champion. It was undisputed because he was the first wrestler to hold both WWE and WCW Heavyweight titles at the same time.
6 Bret "The Hitman" Hart
5 Shawn Michaels
4 The Honky Tonk Man
The Honky Tonk Man's IC title reign was different...to say the least. The manner in which he won the belt was so unexpected. WWE had Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat defeat the Macho Man Randy Savage at WrestleMania 3. After taking the belt off of a superstar like Macho Man, you'd think that Steamboat would be poised for a long and prosperous title run, but it was not the case as the Honky Tonk Man won the belt off Steamboat two and a half months later. His title run was even more unexpected as he set an unprecedented record of 454 days as champion during a single reign.
3 Razor Ramon
2 "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig
1 "Macho Man" Randy Savage
One impeccable reign for the ages. Randy Savage had it all; the look, the in ring ability, the hot valet (that was actually his wife), and was he ever charismatic. He won the belt off Tito Santana in February, 1986 (another great champion, that makes me wish this was a top 11 list). "Macho Man" was such a fabulous champion because he defended the belt against everyone. What separates him from The Ultimate Warrior, is that most of Macho's matches were classics, while the majority of Warrior's contests were squash matches. Some argue that his match with Ricky Steamboat at WrestleMania 3 was the greatest match of all-time, even though Macho was defeated. He definitely used his IC title reign, and this match in particular, to catapult his career as he was destined for greatness. His title reign lasted 414 days, and we thank him for the memories. R.I.P Macho Man.
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