This is the first installment of ‘Ranking the Champions”. In ranking the champions I will be looking at all of the WWF/WWE Post Wrestlemania Champions and conducting a top ten list of who I think were the best to hold that title.
The Intercontinental Title has always been my favorite WWE Title. When I started watching wrestling in the mid-80s, it seemed to me like some of the greatest matches were contested over the IC title.
Also keep in mind this list is designed as to whom I feel was at their best when they were the Intercontinental Champion and brought credibility to the title.
10. The Rock held the Intercontinental Title on two occasions. He morphed from Rocky Maivia into the Rock between these reigns, making him deserving to be on the list.
9. Jeff Hardy is what an Intercontinental Champion should be. He is electric in the ring and delivers good matches. The Intercontinental Championship has been called ‘The Workhorse” title, and Jeff is exactly that.
8. Bret Hart was involved in one of my favorite Intercontinental Title Matches ever vs. Roddy Piper at Wrestlemania VIII. He did what an IC Champ should and really made a name for himself.
7. Razor Ramon was cocky, simple as that. The Wrestlemania X Ladder Match with Shawn Michaels will not soon be forgotten. Razor had multiple reigns and good feuds with the likes of Michaels, Diesel, and Jeff Jarrett among others.
6. Chris Jericho: It seems like whenever the WWE needs to add some credibility to this title, they put it on Jericho. That's why he’s held it eight times! The angle with Chyna and Jericho co-holding the Intercontinental Title was pretty entertaining.
5. The Honky Tonk Man: Cool, Cocky, Bad…the HTM is the longest reigning Intercontinental Champion ever. He was the typical heel; everyone thought he was terrible, and that’s why it was so awesome every time he retained the title!
4. Randy Savage: Honky and Savage are the only two on the list that weren’t multiple-time champions in the time covered, but like Honky, Savage had a memorable title reign. He was defeated in perhaps the most heralded Intercontinental Title match of all time against Ricky Steamboat at Wrestlemania III and had an amazing feud with George ‘The Animal’ Steele during his reign. Miss Elizabeth may have helped me out a bit in placing him so high on the list!
3. Shawn Michaels came into his own more as the Intercontinental Champion than anyone else. More so than being the Champion, he brought a huge amount of credibility to the title by being the heel challenger, especially in his feuds with Bret Hart and Razor Ramon over the title. The mini-stint with Marty Jannetty defeating him for the title was fantastic as well.
2. Ultimate Warrior: His sound defeat of The Honky Tonk Man at the inaugural SummerSlam in 1988 was one of those wrestling ‘shock’ moments and he picked up steam from there. The epitome of him being the Intercontinental Champion came actually when he had to vacate it…because he defeated Hulk Hogan on that fateful night in the Skydome bringing credibility to the title like none other.
1. Mr. Perfect: Maybe it’s the old school in me, but when I see the Intercontinental Title, I picture it around Curt Hennig’s waist. He was great, and he donned the Intercontinental Title like it was the Heavyweight Championship.
I loved it when Kerry Von Erich, who had only been with the company a month, defeated him. The relentless pursuit by himself and Bobby Heenan to get the title back was classic.
After his reigns were over, Perfect was in the Intercontinental Title picture as well. He helped Michaels win it, then helped Jannetty defeat Michaels in a classic RAW moment. Then his influence in the Mark Mero-Triple H storyline only fueled the fire that Henning was out to make the Intercontinental Title the best it could be!
So that’s my take on the top ten Intercontinental Champions of all time. This list does not include Triple H, Steve Austin, Owen Hart, Tito Santana, Jeff Jarrett, Edge, RVD, Shelton Benjamin, and others whom you might think deserve to be on it. This is my take….what’s yours?