WWE is doing its best to make the mid-card titles an important part of programming again.
For years, the Intercontinental Championship had become a forgotten title. Once thought of as the second most important “trophy” in WWF and later in the company the McMahons have their fingerprints all over, the title had all but disappeared.
When Daniel Bryan made the announcement that he had drafted The Miz to the SmackDown Live brand, it wasn’t as much about bringing the performer over to the blue brand as much as it was bringing the belt, full of tradition and history, over to Tuesday nights.
According to lore, WWF North American Heavyweight Champion Pat Patterson became the inaugural champion on September 1, 1979. It was said he had unified his title with the South American Heavyweight Championship, in a tournament in Rio de Janeiro, although both the tournament and South American Championship were entirely fictional. That’s the business and kayfabe at its best.
There have been 78 different champions. Chris Jericho has the most reigns with nine. Pedro Morales held the championship for a record total of 619 days and The Honkytonk Man had the longest uninterrupted reign at 454 days, from June 2, 1987, until August 29, 1988.
Dean Douglas had the shortest reign after he held the title for just 13 minutes 52 seconds. Chyna is the only woman in WWE history to win the title. The youngest champion was Jeff Hardy, who won the championship at 23 years old, while the oldest champion was Ric Flair.
The Miz has an uphill battle on Sunday at No Mercy when he faces Dolph Ziggler once again with the title on the line. This time, Ziggler is putting his career on the line. We all know how this should play out – which means there will be another title run added to Ziggler’s storied career.
Where both The Miz and Ziggler fall in terms of great champions is still under review. In the meantime, let’s take a look at the five greatest Intercontinental Champions of all time.
#5 Pedro Morales
Morales was almost as big a star as Bruno Sammartino and first WWF star to win the Triple Crown in the promotion. He was a two-time Intercontinental Champion, with his title runs of 624 days combined. Morales beat Ken Patera in 1980 and held the belt for 194 days.
In his second run with the belt, he beat Don Muraco, for 425 days. The first Latino to hold a world heavyweight championship, Morales' combined reign as WWWF Heavyweight Champion remains among the longest in history.