So after completing the list of the Worst Intercontinental Champions, it is now time to talk about the Top Ten wrestlers who helped define the secondary belt and make it such a prestigious championship. Unlike our last list, these are the ten who’s careers benefited from the strap being placed around their waist and the belts prestige was elevated by these wrestlers holding it. With that said, let’s get started with number ten.
10. Pedro Morales
One of the greatest wrestlers in the early WWE days, Pedro Morales is one of the best in the business. Part of a proud Puerto Rican heritage, Morales is one of the first WWE Champions and first IC Champions. He also is the first ‘Triple Crown’ winner claiming the World Championship, IC Championship, and Tag Team Champions over his tenure.
Morales held the title on two occasions, defeating Ken Patera and Don Muraco in the process. He was a solid champion and one of the earliest in WWE’s history.
At number 9 we have the Bizarre One! Goldust is one of the most decorated champions of all time. As a matter of fact, I think the only title he has not held is the WWE Championship itself. Goldust has gone through many changes over the years. Started off as a rather insensitive gimmick, Goldust was able to play up the ‘exotica’ wrestling persona quite well shades of Gorgeous George himself.
Goldust held the championship on three occasions during the Attitude Era and maintains an everlasting presence as one of the best IC Champions to grace the ring.
A controversial championship to say the least, many people think that Joan “Chyna” Laurer’s championship reigns was a mistake. But personally, I find it to be one of the best championship reigns in the belt’s history. Chyna held the title on two occasions, the first being 56 days and the second 8 days. During this time, Chyna had a decent feud with Chris Jericho, Hardcore Holly, and a good team up with Eddie Guerrero against Kurt Angle.
Not only was this the first time that a woman held a championship typically reserved for men, but Chyna’s larger than life persona helped push her as a major threat. Personally, I would have been one of the people pushing Chyna as a possible World Champion, but I’ll take what I can get from a tremendous title reign with the IC Belt.
I would not be one to call the Honky Tonk Man the “Greatest Intercontinental Champion of All Time” as his gimmick likes to claim, but I would be amiss to leave Roy Wayne Ferris off of this list. The fact is, now, we know know that the primary reason that Honky Tonk Man held the IC title for so long is because he was a lazy worker and would talk his way out of losing the belt. However, Honky Tonk’s silly gimmick mixed with his classic chickenshit coward heel gimmick was a perfect combo that made fans everywhere want to boo the Elvis impersonator.
Even though Ferris has earned a reputation as a person who will demand high wages for minimal work on his effort, his accomplishment as the longest reigning Intercontinental Champion at 454 days cannot be ignored. He eventually lost the belt to a returning Ultimate Warrior in grand fashion and with that came one of the most famous reigns in WWE history.
6. Ken Shamrock
When it comes to the Attitude Era of wrestling, there are few more noticable than MMA legend Ken Shamrock. This beast of a man debuted for the WWE in the late 1990’s and quickly began tearing through the industry, impressing with his legitimate tough man gimmick. His feud with The Rock was the feud that helped propel the Rock into the main event scene. No doubt, Dewayne Johnson has a lot of thanks to give to Ken Shamrock who assisted in making his career.
Many people claim that Shamrock deserved to be a much bigger entity in the WWE, but in all honesty, I feel like he did about as well as he could do. Shamrock was a work horse and a terrifying presence, but his gimmick was rather one note, and there was no way that Shamrock could be world champion with such a gimmick and weak on promos. However, his time as the IC champion and his feud with the Rock certainly propelled both athletes to a higher spot in the industry.
This would tragically represent the pinnacle of Shelton Benjamin’s career in the WWE. One of the true representatives of an upper mid card act that could never quite break through the glass ceiling, Benjamin was so entertaining as a wrestler. One of the most athletic acts that you will see in recent history, when you saw Shelton Benjamin on the card, you knew you were in for a treat.
Tragically, Benjamin would be held down by some questionable gimmicks in his later runs as well as the fact that his promo skills were questionable at best. To make him World Champion would be a questionable move… But, as the Intercontinental Champion, he was easily one of the best wrestlers in recent history to hold the strap. Benjamin held the title three times during the span of 2004-2006, his longest continuous reign with the belt being 244 days. During this time he had classic feuds with wrestlers like Chris Jericho and Carlito. A memorable run with the belt and a representative of what could have been if circumstances would have been different for the Gold Standard.
4. Mr. Perfect
In a strange sense, we look at the opposite side of the Hennig coin. On the Worst list, we found Curtis Axel as one of the Worst Intercontinental Champions of All Time and here we have his father, Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig as one of the greatest of all time! When Curt Hennig won the championship back in 1990, the Intercontinental Champion was a much more prestigious championship. The man who held the IC strap was a man who was on the rise in the WWE and destined for greatness. In a way, the only person who topped the IC Champion was the WWE Champion himself and for the better part of the year, Mr. Perfect was on top.
Mr. Perfect’s two championship reigns lasted 126 and 280 days, only separated by the unfortunate title reign of Kerry “Texas Tornado” von Erich. One of the most charismatic and technical wrestlers in the business, Hennig truly lived up to his moniker.
3. Pat Patterson
The first Intercontinental Champion and a constant presence in the WWE, Pat Patterson is one of the best all around athletes when it comes to wrestlers from the late 70’s and early 80’s. Patterson won the belt after beating Ted DiBiase for another championship and was awarded the title after a fictitious tournament occurred in Rio di Janeiro where he ‘defeated’ Johnny Rodz.
Patterson would go on to hold the championship 233 days before losing the belt to Ken Patera at a house show in New York City. It was a solid first reign and started the famous championship’s run.
2. Razor Ramon
Scott Hall’s Razor Ramon is one of the most iconic wrestlers of the 90’s. His reigns as Intercontinental Champion are the stuff of legend and his classic ladder match for the IC belt against Shawn Michaels is still heralded as the greatest ladder match of all time! If it wasn’t for the fact that Hall jumped ship with Kevin Nash to join the WCW, it was clear that Razor Ramon would eventually end up with the WWE Championship.
Ramon held the IC Championship on four occasions. His rivalries with Shawn Michaels, Jeff Jarrett, and Diesel are the stuff of legend. It is easy to see how there is only one person who can possibly top the success with the belt than Scott “Razor Ramon” Hall.
Could it be any other person? Y2J Chris Jericho is a nine time Intercontinental Champion! The only person who comes close to that is Jeff Jarrett and Rob Van Dam with 6 titles. Jericho is one of those guys who works so well in any scenario. Personally, I always saw him as the perfect midcard act. He was a decent main event guy, but he was always a solid worker and made the secondary titles his own personal playground.
Jericho’s charisma and work horse mentality made him perfect for an upper midcard/main event type of wrestler and his extensive title history is proof of that. Jericho’s 9 reigns span over a decade and culminated in 318 days as champion. It is easy to see how such a superstar is the best Intercontinental Champion in history.
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