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Wrestling Gold: The History of the WWE Intercontinental Championship, Pt. 4

Kyle SchadlerChief Writer IJanuary 16, 2013

Wrestling Gold: The History of the WWE Intercontinental Championship, Pt. 4

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    For this edition of Wrestling Gold, I present the WWE Intercontinental Championship!

    The title was established in September 1979, but before that it was the WWF North American Heavyweight Championship. Established just seven months beforehand, the North American title is seen as the predecessor to the Intercontinental title.

    The North American Heavyweight Championship was unified with the South American Heavyweight Championship to create the Intercontinental Championship, but some believe there was no unification and it was just said to explain the introduction of the new title.

    WWE doesn’t recognize the two titles as the same, and they’re most likely not. Since the belt is a predecessor to the intercontinental title and was “unified” with another to create it, I included its brief existence.

    On May 6, 2002, the title was renamed the WWE Intercontinental Championship due to the issues over the initials “WWF” with the World Wildlife Fund. It would be briefly abandoned in October when it was unified with the World Heavyweight Championship.

    The title would return seven months later and has been active ever since.

    In Part 1 of the title, the champions of the 1980s were presented, which saw the first 16 champions hold the belt. In Part 2, the 43 champions of the 1990s came up. Last time in Part 3, you saw the 2000s and the 67 titleholders of that decade.

    For final piece of the WWE Intercontinental Championship, the 12 champions of this decade so far will be presented!

Kofi Kingston

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    Defeated: Drew McIntyre

    Where: Detroit, Mich.

    When: May 23, 2010

    Event: Over the Limit

    Title Reign: 66 days

    WWE Highlights:

Dolph Ziggler

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    Defeated: Kofi Kingston

    Where: Laredo, Texas

    When: July 28, 2010

    Event: SmackDown

    Title Reign: 160 days

    WWE Highlights:

    • One-time world heavyweight champion
    • One-time WWE intercontinental champion
    • One-time WWE world tag team champion
    • One-time WWE United States champion
    • 2012 World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank winner

    FCW Highlights:

    • Two-time FCW Florida tag team champion

Kofi Kingston

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    Defeated: Dolph Ziggler

    Where: Tucson, Ariz.

    When: Jan. 4, 2011

    Event: SmackDown

    Title Reign: 77 days

    WWE highlights:

Wade Barrett

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    Defeated: Kofi Kingston

    Where: Columbus, Ohio

    When: March 22, 2011

    Event: SmackDown

    Title Reign: 89 days

    WWE Highlights:

    • Two-time WWE intercontinental champion
    • NXT Season One winner
    • 2010 Slammy Award for Shocker of the Year

    FCW Highlights:

    • One-time FCW Florida tag team champion

Ezekiel Jackson

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    Defeated: Wade Barrett

    Where: Washington, D.C.

    When: June 19, 2011

    Event: Capital Punishment

    Title Reign: 51 days

    WWE highlights:

Cody Rhodes

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    Defeated: Ezekiel Jackson

    Where: Sacramento, Calif.

    When: Aug. 9, 2011

    Event: SmackDown

    Title Reign: 236 days

    WWE Highlights:

    • Two-time WWE intercontinental champion
    • Three-time WWE world tag team champion
    • One-time WWE tag team champion
    • 2010 Slammy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Baby Oil Application

The Big Show

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    Defeated: Cody Rhodes

    Where: Miami, Fla.

    When: April 1, 2012

    Event: WrestleMania XXVIII

    Title Reign: 28 days

    WWE Highlights:

    • Two-time WWE champion
    • Two-time world heavyweight champion
    • One-time ECW world heavyweight champion
    • One-time WWE intercontinental champion
    • Five-time WWE world tag team champion
    • Three-time WWE tag team champion
    • One-time WWE United States champion
    • Three-time WWE hardcore champion
    • 2009 Slammy Award for Tag Team of the Year as Jeri-Show with Chris Jericho
    • 2011 Slammy Award for Holy $#!+ Moment of the Year
    • 2012 Slammy Award for Betrayal of the Year

    WCW Highlights:

    • Two-time WCW world heavyweight champion
    • Three-time WCW world tag team champion
    • 1996 World War 3 winner
    • 1996 King of Cable

    Other career highlights:

    • Nickelodeon’s Slime Wrestling World Nickelodeon

Cody Rhodes

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    Defeated: The Big Show

    Where: Chicago, Ill.

    When: April 29, 2012

    Event: Extreme Rules

    Title Reign: 21 days

    Other career highlights:

    • One-time OVW heavyweight champion
    • One-time OVW television champion
    • One-time OVW Southern tag team champion

Christian

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    Defeated: Cody Rhodes

    Where: Raleigh, N.C.

    When: May 20, 2012

    Event: Over the Limit

    Title Reign: 64 days

    WWE Highlights:

    Other career highlights:

    • Two-time NWA world heavyweight champion
    • One-time ECWA heavyweight champion
    • One-time PCW heavyweight champion

The Miz

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    Defeated: Christian

    Where: St. Louis, Mo.

    When: July 23, 2012

    Event: Raw 1000

    Title Reign: 85 days

    WWE Highlights:

    • One-time WWE world heavyweight champion
    • One-time WWE intercontinental champion
    • Two-time WWE world tag team champion
    • Three-time WWE tag team champion
    • Two-time WWE United States champion
    • 2008 Slammy Awards for Tag Team of the Year with John Morrison and Best WWE.com Exclusive (The Dirt Sheet)
    • 2010 Raw Money in the Bank winner

    Other career highlights:

    • One-time OVW Southern tag team champion
    • One-time Deep South heavyweight champion

Kofi Kingston

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    Defeated: The Miz

    Where: Memphis, Tn.

    When: Oct. 16, 2012

    Event: Main Event

    Title Reign: 75 days

    WWE Highlights:

    • 2012 Slammy Award for Tell Me I Did Not Just See That

Wade Barrett

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    Defeated: Kofi Kingston

    Where: Washington, D.C.

    When: Dec. 29, 2012

    Event: Raw

    Title Reign: 18 days and counting

    Other career highlights:

    • One-time OVW Southern tag team champion
    • One-time Dropkixx TWC European heavyweight champion

Statistics and Final Thoughts

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    Longest 10s Reign So Far: Cody Rhodes (236 days)

    Shortest 10s Reign So Far: Cody Rhodes (21 days)

     

    Most Reigns: Chris Jericho (nine-time champion)

    Longest Overall Title Reign: The Honky Tonk Man (454 days)

    Longest Combined Title Reign: Pedro Morales (two reigns totaling 619 days) 

    Shortest Overall Title Reign: Dean Douglas (11 minutes)

    The WWE Intercontinental Championship has a long and rich history. It has seen more than a dozen superstars elevated to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, including the likes of Randy Savage, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, the Rock, Steve Austin, Edge and Chris Jericho.

    The title would also see 14 future inductees into the WWE Hall of Fame, including Pat Patterson, Don Muraco, Tito Santana, Ricky Steamboat and Mr. Perfect.

    This title was once a great stepping stone to the top of the mountain, but it has lost its meaning over the years.

    If memory serves me correct, the last time the WWE Intercontinental Championship elevated anyone to the World Heavyweight Championship was the 2003-2004 reign of Randy Orton. I suppose you could count Dolph Ziggler, who held the World Heavyweight Championship for the span of an episode of SmackDown seven months after winning this title, but since he was handed the title and didn’t have a real reign as champion, I personally don’t count it.

    While former holders of the WWE and World Heavyweight Championship have also held this title after Orton, the fact remains that they were already in the main event. The intercontinental title took Orton from the midcard and shot him to the main event, a feat that has not been duplicated since.

    There is hope, though. The title seems to be gaining some of its meaning back with Wade Barrett as champion. He has been competing in main-event-level matches, and it seems like WWE is building him up for a spot on top.

    For the first time in years, the WWE Intercontinental Championship looks to be elevating a superstar to the main event, and it could be happening soon!

    Thanks for reading!

    Next up, Ring of Honor will get the spotlight in the series! Next week will see the history of the ROH World Tag Team Championship, and I may include the Television Championship in there as well since the title has a short history. I haven’t decided about that yet, though.

     

    Previous Installments

    WWE DivasTNA KnockoutsTNA Knockouts TagWWE TagTNA TagShimmerWWE US 1WWE US 2TNA TVTNA X-DivisionWWE IC 1WWE IC 2WWE IC 3

     

    Abandoned Series

    WWE Women’sWWE EuropeanECW TelevisionWCW HardcoreWCW US Tag TeamWWF Martial ArtsWWF InternationalWCW Women’sECW WorldWWE CruiserweightWWF Light WeightECW Tag TeamFTW WorldWCW 6-Man Tag TeamMillion DollarWWF JuniorWWF Women’s Tag TeamWCW International│ WCW TV pt.1WCW TV pt. 2WWE Hardcore │WCW Tag Team pt. 1WCW Tag Team pt. 2World Tag Team pt. 1World Tag Team pt. 2│ World Tag Team pt. 3World Tag Team pt. 4WWWF USA

     

    Sources

    http://www.wwe.com/classics/titlehistory/intercontinental

    http://www.wrestling-titles.com/wwe/ic.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WWE_Intercontinental_Championship

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_WWE_Intercontinental_Champions

    Information on wrestler title histories provided by Wikipedia

    Title "Wrestling Gold" thought up by Jeff D. Gorman 

     

    Don’t forget to hit me up on Twitter, where I always follow back fellow wrestling fans and usually tweet during the shows!

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