WWE: The Top 10 Intercontinental Champions of All Time
The Intercontinental Championship—once upon a time WWE's second most prestigious honor—has been held by 69 superstars, but 10 stand out better than the rest.
So what does it take to make the list?
The amount of title reigns is important. Likewise, an immense amount of total days with the belt factors in.
But it's not just the reigns or total number.
Each individual title reign should be somewhat impressive as well. The man who holds the title seven times for 20 days each falls down in the order.
Lastly, what each individual brought to the title was considered. Was it a misstep in the belt's history, a stopgap, a joke—or did holding the IC title do what it was intended and propel its owner?
These 10 guys were the greatest and most important IC champions of all time.
No. 10: Tito Santana
Total Days: 443 (fourth)
Much to the Iron Shiek's dismay, Tito Santana's amount of time spent as the Intercontinental champion earns him a spot on the list.
Santana had quality feuds against Don Muraco, Greg Valentine and Randy Savage.
More importantly, Santana was the first wrestler of Mexican descent to obtain the IC belt.
No. 9: Honky Tonk Man
Total Days: 454 (third)
The pro for Honky Tonk Man is that he held the IC belt for 454 consecutive days. This is both the third most days of all time and the longest consecutive reign.
Honky Tonk defended his belt for over 15 months.
The con for the Elvis look-a-like was that his title defenses—not to mention wins—were supremely cheap. Often times he disqualified himself or simply walked away from matches.
When he finally lost, it was in less than one minute.
Still, a record is a record.
No. 8: Mr. Perfect
Total Days: 406 (eighth)
Mr. Perfect's rapid rise in the WWF/E culminated with winning the Intercontinental Championship.
He had a few notable feuds with the likes of Tito Santana and Bret Hart, holding the belt for 126 and 280 days, respectively.
In fact, his second and last title reign ended only because of injuries, which caused Mr. Perfect to briefly retire.
No. 7: Ultimate Warrior
Total Days: 432 (sixth)
The Ultimate Warrior knocked off The Honky Tonk Man's longest Intercontinental title reign in history in less than one minute.
He held the belt for 216 days.
After dropping the the title, Warrior recovered the belt by defeating Rick Rude. He held on to it for another 216 days.
Though, he never technically lost the IC belt a second time.
As the champion, Warrior took on and beat World Champion Hulk Hogan. Warrior vacated the IC belt.
No. 6: Macho Man Randy Savage
Total Days: 414 (seventh)
Randy Savage only had one title reign, but its length was over one year long.
He earned it as a heel with help from a foreign object, which certainly cheapens it. Still, 414 days can't be sneezed at.
Two things stand out in Savage's favor.
First, he captured the IC belt within eight months of his WWE debut. Second, he was part of 1987's Match of the Year.
At WrestleMania 3, Savage put on one of the greatest matches in history with Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat.
The belt (and match) served as the perfect springboard for the Macho Man.
No. 5: Razor Ramon
Total Days: 438 (fifth)
Hey yo, the bad guy was a legit Intercontinental champion.
Scott Hall's initial time in the WWE (as Razor Ramon in the then WWF) was tied to the IC championship.
Though you can skip one forgettable three day incumbency, Hall's other three title reigns were long and noteworthy.
He had the reigns, the days and best of all, the feuds.
While he was the champion, Hall took on Diesel (Kevin Nash), Owen Hart and Shawn Michaels.
In fact, some of his matches with Michaels are some of the greatest Intercontinental battles of all-time.
Fans must also appreciate the fact that Hall originally won the IC belt by way of a 20-man battle royale, then beating co-finalist Rick Martel in a singles match the following week.
No. 4: Don Muraco
Total Days: 541 (second)
Much like the next man on the list, Don Muraco owned the Intercontinental Championship in a time when long title defenses were the norm.
Still, he was one of the original belt holders and the second all-time leader in days with it.
Muraco had a memorable stretch while battling for the IC title. From steel cage matches with Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka to putting over Rocky Johnson, Muraco was a guy who fans loved to hate while putting over younger talent.
No. 3: Pedro Morales
Total Days: 619 (record)
The knock on Pedro Morales will be that he only held the belt twice and he did so in a time when title reigns were typically very long.
Still, he was one of the first people to be awarded the Intercontinental Championship and the first to capture it a second time.
Even better, he holds the record for most total days—80 more than the next guy—with the belt.
There's no denying records.
Besides, Morales is the WWE's first ever Triple Crown champion (holder of three major titles on different occasions).
No. 2: Shawn Michaels
Total Days: 406 (eighth)
Shawn Michaels didn't have the longest reign, the most reigns or even the most days as the IC belt's owner.
So why is he so high?
Because of the flair he defended his title with and the attention he brought to the division.
Michaels was a hardworking wrestler, building his reputation from the ground up. He quickly entered into main-event status and battled top-tier champions including Bret Hart.
Then he dropped down to win IC gold.
His feuds were great, his matches were excellent and his reigns were impressive.
Of course, when Jim Ross supports you, you shoot way up the list.
No. 1: Chris Jericho
Reigns = 9 (record)
Totals Days = 318 (13th)
It's hard to deny Chris Jericho as the greatest Intercontinental champion of all time.
Though, there could be an argument for it.
Only once did Jericho defend the belt for more than 100 days. Only twice did he do it for more than five weeks at a time.
In fact, three of his stints combined lasted less than three weeks.
Still, Jericho is a nine-time champion, three more than anyone else in history. This doesn't even count a period in which he co-held the title with Chyna for three weeks.
His lack of lengthy reigns can also be overlooked because of what he brought to the belt.
Jericho truly made fans care about the Intercontinental Championship. He defended with valor, brought prestige to it and made the entire tier as viable as the main-event superstars.
What About These Guys?
Inevitably, I'll get comments from outraged fans of Jeff Jarrett, Triple H, Edge, Jeff Hardy and Rob Van Dam questioning my rankings.
While each of these guys had multiple stints as the Intercontinental champion, their reigns were very short.
Jarrett was a six-time winner. His longest tenure was 94 days. He also had a two-day rule.
Edge and RVD are similar—five and six-time winners (respectively) who never defended the belt successfully for more than two months.
Hardy and Shelton Benjamin just missed the cut.
Triple H didn't make the list because only his first reign was somewhat impressive while all the others seemed unnecessary or out of place.
Even Chyna almost earned a mention. She was the first and only woman to hold a major title. Unfortunately, twice for 64 days doesn't make anyone the best.