For the longest time, the WWE Intercontinental Championship was regarded as a stepping stone to the world championship. It has been held by the likes of Randy Savage, Ultimate Warrior, Triple H, Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho, and many other legends in the world of professional wrestling.
However, the title has lost some of its significance over the last decade or so. It gradually became more of a decoration for upper midcard wrestlers and less of a stepping stone on the path to wrestling superstardom.
In recent years, the championship has been traded among the Smackdown midcard wrestlers. Drew McIntyre, Ezekiel Jackson, and Wade Barrett are just three wrestlers who have recently had rather forgettable reigns as Intercontinental Champion.
Most recently, Big Show's reign as champion really degraded the title. After being portrayed as a buffoon going into WrestleMania 28, Big Show defeated Cody Rhodes to win the title. As if that wasn't bad enough, Big Show's pathetic reign would end with his first defense of the title.
Thankfully, the title's prestige seems to be on the upswing and Cody Rhodes has done a lot to help rebuild it. In his first reign, Rhodes engaged in a feud with Smackdown top-dog Randy Orton. He also defended the title against future Hall of Famer Booker T.
Rhodes' stellar title defenses really made the belt feel significant again. In addition to that, bringing back the retro belt design added another air of significance to it.
The WWE is on the right path to continue reestablishing the prestige of the belt. As a former World Heavyweight Champion and top babyface, Christian holding the championship really makes it feel like the second most important title on Smackdown. The quality of matches that he and Rhodes are capable of putting on will surely add to the increasing prestige of the belt.