So we continue our special with one of the most loved championships in professional wrestling history. If ever there was a belt that was synonymous with the term ‘secondary singles championship’, it would be the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Often imitated, but rarely duplicated, the WWE Intercontinental Championship is the belt that every other secondary championship aspires to be… Granted in the past couple of years, it has been a title synonymous with wrestlers forced to job out to other people, the the legacy it holds still stands…. Even in if the ROH Television Championship is starting to surpass it thanks to Jay Lethal… and the IWGP Intercontinental Championship… REGARDLESS! This belt has an amazing legacy to it and we are going to look at the best and worst that this championship has to offer.
Due to the fact that this will be a Top Ten list, I will be separating the Best Intercontinental Champions with the Worst Intercontinental Champions. Today, we will be looking at the ones who just didn’t quite have the most ‘illustrious’ of reigns. This is the Top Ten Worst WWE Intercontinental Champions of All Time.
10. Ric Flair
We start off this list with, what will surely be, a controversial choice to say the least. Ric Flair is one of the greatest in the industry, his legacy is something that cannot be touched, and his feud with the likes of the late Dusty Rhodes and Ricky Steamboat are the stuff that legend. The man gave it his all his entire life and wrestled right up to the bitter end when his body finally told him that he needed to calm the fuck down. The Nature Boy certainly is one of/if not the best in the business.
However… I have some serious problems with Ric Flair’s waning years, in particular, the fact that they put every title on him during his swan song run with the exception of the actual WWE Championship. Flair found himself on the Worst list before with the World Tag Team Championship with Roddy Piper and now he finds himself on the Worst Intercontinental Championship list.
Flair won the strap from Carlito at Unforgiven 2005, then proceeded to hold the belt for 155 days. Now, unlike other contests where the wrestler had a poor run, Flair’s run was not that bad. He had some great matches, including a bloodbath of a match at Cyber Sunday with Triple H for the belt. BUT, keep in mind, Flair’s reign came at the cost of a lot of talent at the time. The Championship could have been used to build up potential stars in the making like Shelton Benjamin and Carlito. But instead, it was given to Flair as a farewell present and a bit of nostalgia bait. He is 10 on the list because his reign wasn’t that terrible, but still makes it due to the fact that the reign was just so unneeded.
The most recent entry on this list, poor Joe Hennig, son of wrestling great “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig, just doesn’t have it. It is a shame, some guys just have what it takes and some guys don’t. People want to see Curtis Axel succeed, they do. If for no other reason than nepotism is alive and well, plus wrestling fans will cheer anything that is even remotely nostalgic. It is the reason why Sting got such loud pops even though the man is well into his retirement years and showing badly in the ring and out of it. Axel has been with the company for a little over 5 years, 8 if you count his FCW run. They have tried several things with him, but all of it amounts to Curtis Axel never being anything more than a lower mid card guy.
But WWE did try to give the man a push by putting the Intercontinental Championship on his waist in 2013. Curtis held the championship for 155 days and through most of it, he was jobbing to higher up athletes. He finally dropped the championship to Big E Langston and since then he has spent time with a terrible Rybaxel Tag Team and then a horrible Hulk Hogan impression. Poor Axel, his championship reign, like his career has equaled out to a dud.
8. Lance Storm
Lance Storm makes this list for no other reason than how poorly the WWE handled him. Storm came over as apart of the Invasion Angle, wrestling for the Alliance. He won the IC belt one time on an episode of Raw before losing the belt a month later to Edge at Summerslam.
Storm was never the most charismatic guy in the world. He just wasn’t and was never going to be on top of the industry. It was a similar situation to Dean Malenko as a guy who was so athletically and technically gifted, but just didn’t have that IT factor. They handled Lance Storm as nothing more than an uncharismatic bore and a joke. They could have done something with Storm and instead left him as little more than cannon fodder and transitional champion material, such a waste.
7. Road Dogg
Oh you didn’t know that Road Dogg was once the Intercontinental Champion? Well your ass better call some body! Oh yes, Road Dogg is a former Intercontinental Champion. You see, back when the Attitude Era was in full swing title changes happened so rapidly, that you would blink and someone would be a three-time champion. As a matter of fact, from the years there wasn’t a soul that held the Intercontinental strap for longer than 100 days from 1999-2003 when Randy Orton held the title for 210 days.
During this time period, Road Dogg was one of the many people to hold the title. He won the title back at the start of 1999 from Val Venis. He would hold the title for exactly two weeks before dropping it to Goldust. Road Dogg not only makes this list for a single short run with the belt, but also coupled with the fact that he was never the greatest wrestler in the business. A showman, yes, but not a great wrestler. Couple these two facts and that lands him on the worst list.
Ahmed Johnson is one of those weird wrestlers who, when you bring up their name, you have three other fans saying: “Yeah… I think I remember that guy.” Johnson, real name Tony Norris, was one of those wrestlers that the WWE loved. He was big, muscular, had an intimidating presence, and was a former athlete. All signs pointed to a decent run for the guy. However, circumstances, and alleged racism lead to Johnson’s eventual release.
However, this wasn’t before Johnson had a less than stellar feud with the underrated wrestling stable, The Nation of Domination. After Ron Simmons came to the WWE from WCW, big things were on the horizon for him. Now dubbed Faarooq, The Nation feuded with Johnson until injury put him on the shelf for sometime. After this, the Nation would go on to have a much more memorable feud with the factions Los Boriquos, lead by the underrated Savio Vega, and the Disciples of the Apocalypse. It was a very gang wars type of feud and a great one at that.
But, before Johnson got hurt, he was given a single Intercontinental Championship reign that lasted 50 days, claiming the strap from Goldust. Johnson would have a less than stellar run before vacating the belt after an attack from Faarooq. Johnson would go on to do nothing and his wrestling career was pretty much finished up after that.
5. Marc Mero
I don’t know what it was about WWE in the late 90’s that made them want to get some legit fighter/tough guys… But man they shelled out some cash to get som legit fighters. From 1996-1998 WWE hired the likes of Steve Blackman, Dan Severn, the most successful of the bunch Ken Shamrock, and finally the Golden Gloves winner, Marc Mero. Marc did not have the most stellar of careers, most of the time it was overshadowed by his ex-wife Sable who garnered intense popularity with the crowds at the height of the Attitude Era.
Mero’s career in the WWE was pretty much a dud due to Sable’s success and Mero’s attitude backstage. But during this run, Mero did sport one Intercontinental Championship reign that lasted about a month. After the aforementioned Ahmed Johnson vacated the belt, Mero defeated Faarooq in a tournament to claim the prize. He would later lose the belt to Triple H. The reign was forgettable and so was Mero’s tenure with WWE.
4. Jeff Jarrett
Double J Jeff Jarrett’s IC title reigns are proof positive that it just takes one thing to ruin a career. Jeff Jarrett was poised to go down as one of the greatest Intercontinental Champions of all time. He had multiple reigns, each of which memorable, he had a great heel gimmick, and the guy knew how to work a match. He has also become one of the more constant faces in pro wrestling over the years with the creations of TNA Wrestling and now Global Force Wrestling. However, the reason Jarrett finds himself on this list is due to a financial exchange between him and Vince McMahon.
I can understand that dealing with Vince McMahon may be… Annoying to say the least. But Jarrett, in an effort to get more money out of the company, essentially held the IC belt for ransom, threatening to jump ship to WCW and toss the belt in the trash can, shades of Medusa. He was able to extort a good amount of money from McMahon before dropping the belt to Chyna and leaving for WCW anyways. A classless act no matter how many ways you put it and it lands him at the number 4 spot.
3. Kerry Von Erich
Oh yes, Kerry Von Erich of the, now infamous, Von Erich family held the Intercontinental belt. Back in 1990, under the name of The Texas Tornado, Von Erich won the championship from Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig. There isn’t much to say on this one. The title reign is baffling to so many people, accomplished very little, and Von Erich was out of the company not long after dropping the championship back to Mr. Perfect a few months later. This one is easily one of the most insignificant championship reigns in the belt’s history.
2. The Mountie
When you think of reigns, one of the ones that will just baffle your mind to no end is The Mountie. Of all the things to make a character around, a mountie? Those little Canadian police officers that are about as stereotypical as the Canadian leaf, hockey, and Tim Hortons? Either way, I guess it was something for Jacques Rougeau after his Tag Team Partner, Ray retired. The Mountie… was surprisingly an okay gimmick. He was certainly a good heel and got over fairly well with the crowds. But then there was his IC title reign.
The Mountie won the belt from Bret Hart at a house show in Massachusetts… Why? I have no idea. He certainly won the belt and would drop the title two days later to Roddy Piper, who would in turn, drop the belt to Bret Hart again. It just didn’t seem to make sense and the reign accomplished nothing for almost all parties involved. At either rate, the Mountie’s IC title reign is often considered one of the worst reigns in WWE history. But there is still one more that tops him.
Who else should be at the top of this list then the guy who got handed the championship belt and lost it in the same night? Shane Douglas is one of the greatest wrestling personalities of the 90’s. Together with Paul Heyman, the man shaped Extreme Championship Wrestling and made it something amazing with it. He was a world-class athlete and a world-class wrestler. But his time in WWE was spent in a horrendous Dean of Students gimmick. Dean Douglas was a massive flop and a waste of talent when it came to Shane Douglas’s skills.
Douglas was handed the title at In Your House: Great White North, often considered to be one of the worst PPVs of all time, and lost the title that same night to one of the greatest IC championship holders, Razor Ramon. Douglas reign is one of those tragic moments where an amazing wrestler is saddled with an absolutely horrible gimmick and the several hour long championship reign stands as proof of that.
Thank you for reading and as always if you enjoyed this review, please like, and subscribe for more from me!