From being unified and retired to main-eventing pay-per-views, the Intercontinental Championship has had its fair share of ups and downs over the years. The Championship is, as hailed by many, the stepping stone to the main event. Though some former Intercontinental Champions have gone on to become the main event stars, the title has served as the glass ceiling for many.
The title came into existence on September 1, 1979, when Pat Patterson unified (in kayfabe) the North American Heavyweight and South American Heavyweight Championships. Since then, more than 80 wrestlers have earned the privilege of calling themselves your Intercontinental Champion, but the reigns of only a few will go down in history as the most memorable ones. So, without further ado, let us take a look at the stars that defined the Intercontinental Championship in different eras:
Honorable Mentions: Dolph Ziggler, The Rock, and Randy Savage
#1 The Golden Era (1982-1992) - The Honky Tonk Man
A lot of legendary Superstars from the Golden Era are responsible for establishing the title and making it prestigious in the first place, most notably Bret Hart, Pedro Morales, and Mr. Perfect. But, none of them compare to The Honky Tonk Man. The Hall of Famer held the title just once, but that single reign was enough to make him immortal in WWE history. The one-half of Rhythm and Blues holds the record for being the longest-reigning Intercontinental Champion ever at 454 days.
Jake Roberts was supposed to win the prestigious title from Tonk Man, with the latter being only a transitional champion. Jake, however, failed many drug tests following WrestleMania III, which led to a change in plans, with Hulk Hogan's persuasion leading to a memorable reign for Honky the Tonk Man.
His record-setting reign ended at SummerSlam 1988 when The Ultimate Warrior squashed him in just 31 seconds to win the title. His reign was much more memorable because of his habit of getting himself counted out or disqualified to retain the title that caught the attention of the fans.