Top 10 Greatest WWE Intercontinental Champions in History

Russ WilliamsContributor ISeptember 7, 2010

Top 10 Greatest WWE Intercontinental Champions in History

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    Intercontinental Championship

    On September 15th, 1979, Pat Patterson appeared as the inaugural Intercontinental Champion on the basis that as he was already the North American Champion and had won a tournament held in Rio de Janerio, Brazil to win the (fictitious) South American Championship, he then unified the two titles, thus creating the Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship. Since that time there have been 66 different champions.

    Here are the 10 Greatest…

#10 Shawn Michaels

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    HBK held the Intercontinental Title a mere 3 times, but every match he had for it was nearly a 5-star match. But, I’ll be honest, he’s on this list for the war he had with Scott Hall over the belt. It just doesn’t get much better than Wrestlemania X.

    Number of reigns: 3

    Total days of combined reigns: 406

#9 Hunter Hearst Helmsley

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    Initially, I wasn't going to add Hunter to this list, but then I did some research and remembered all the matches he had for the IC Title after he was already a multiple time World Champion. If that doesn’t serve to elevate the title, I don’t know what does. His battles with Chris Jericho, Jeff Hardy, and The Rock are all worth watching again and again.

    Number of reigns: 5

    Total days of combined reigns: 196

#8 Randy Savage

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    Here’s a guy who can put on a 4+ star match with anyone at anytime. Here’s a guy who is about as well rounded as a wrestler can be. He did everything pretty damn well, and his impressive list of championships proves it. Hell, he held the IC Championship for 414 days with an iron grip.

    Number of reigns: 1

    Total days of combined reigns: 414

#7 Chris Benoit

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    The Crippler, Chris Benoit. This controversial figure is simultaneously both revered and reviled by fans across the world. I’m not here to write an article on all that, not now anyway. Love him or hate him, his intensity and technical prowess won him the Intercontinental Championship four times and his wars with Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, and Rob Van Dam over the title are not to be missed. 

    Number of reigns: 4

    Total days of combined reigns: 142

    R.I.P

#6 Curt Hennig

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    Perfect.

     What else is there to say?

    Yes, he only held the title twice. But what he did in the ring day in and day out puts him above most of the other guys who have held the title. Described by WWE as “one of the best in-ring technicians of his generation”,  peers including Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and Randy Savage consider Hennig to be one of the most gifted in-ring performers in professional wrestling history.

    Number of reigns: 2

    Total days of combined reigns: 406

    R.I.P

#5 Ricky Steamboat

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    At Wrestlemania III, 2 men put on a wrestling clinic for the Intercontinental Championship. In what many consider the greatest match in WWF/E history. For that reason and so many others... one being that he can still go... Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat is here at #5.

    Number of reigns: 1

    Total days of combined reigns: 65

#4 Pedro Morales

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    Yes, the third ever Intercontinental Champion and first ever Triple Crown Champion deserves a spot on this list. He also elevated the Championship early on by being a former World Champion when he won it. He became known for his scientific wrestling ability and endurance, as well as a "fiery Latin temper" which won him many matches.

    Number of reigns: 2

    Total days of combined reigns: A record of 619 days.

#3 Chris Jericho

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    Chris Jericho’s regular 4 and 5 star matches, his technical achievements and his charisma would be enough to put him on any list of great performers, but Jericho, as of this writing, has held the Intercontinental Championship a record 9 times. His battles for the title with people like Chris Benoit, Rey Mysterio, Edge, and Triple H truly brought this title much of its current credibility.

    Number of reigns: 9

    Total days of combined reigns: 318

#2 The Honky Tonk Man

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    Here’s a guy that only held the Intercontinental Championship once, but that reign was impressive to say the least. The Honky Tonk Man held the IC Title for a record 454 days. Even to this day this one reign is the yardstick by which all others are judged.

    Number of reigns: 1

    Total day of combined reigns: 454

Annnnnd....

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    the number one Greatest Intercontinental Champion of all the times is…

#1 Santino Marella

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    "I'm going to prove to be the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all times. Put up the Honk-A-Meter! You see, The Honky Donky Man was Intercontinental Champion for a record 64 weeks. Santino Marella has already been Intercontinental Champion for two weeks. According to the Honk-A-Meter, that's merely 62 weeks. That's nothing for me, and then I will be the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all times." —Santino Marella

    Just kidding!

    The greatest Intercontinental Champion is really…

#1 The Ultimate Warrior

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    Yes, The Ultimate Warrior only held the Title twice for a total of 432 days, but at Wrestlemania VI the IC Title was elevated by having the Warrior and reigning World Champion Hulk Hogan battle eachother Title for Title, and having the Intercontinental Champion win.

    Number of reigns: 2

    Total days of combined reigns: 432

Honorable Mentions...

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    Don Muraco

    Tito Santana

    Rick Rude

    Bret Hart

    Owen Hart

    Scott Hall

    Jeff Jarrett

    The Rock

    Steve Austin

    D'Lo Brown

Conclusions...

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    My basis for what made a good Champion was guys who elevated the Title instead of being elevated by it. Guys who were dominant, respectable champions.

    Let me know that you think.