Since its inception in 1979 the WWE’s Intercontinental Championship has been, arguably, the second most coveted prize in all of Professional wrestling. In some cases the title was a virtual stepping stone to the upper echelon of the wrestling world. So with nearly a 30 year history behind the title, it’s no doubt that many impressive men have laid claim tot the belt.
Honorable mention – Chyna: The story of the Intercontinental Championship, much less the WWE as in general, would not be complete without a chapter including Chyna. If it isn’t enough to be the only woman to hold the Intercontinental Belt once, she did it twice.
10. The Honky Tonk Man – Not only is he the longest reigning WWE Intercontinental Champion of all time, but he is without a doubt the most hated. For 15 months as champ there was something about the guitar wielding Elvis impersonator that drove hard core wrestling fans absolutely berserk.
9. Edge – The future WWE champion began his first major title run with a win in 1999 over Jeff Jarrett for the championship. He has held the belt 5 times in all.
8. Pedro Morales – His feud with Don Muraco in the early 80’s legitimized the Intercontinental Championship paving the way for the respect that the title claims to this day. During this time Pedro Morales became not only the second longest reigning IC champ of all time, but also the first person to hold the WWE championship, IC title, and Tag belts.
7. Bret Hart – One of the greatest wrestlers of all-time started his singles title run in 91′ beating Mr. Perfect in one the best technical matches the sport had ever seen. He would hold the IC title only two times in his WWE career, but his title wins and defenses are studied to this day by up and coming wrestlers everywhere, and are what led to his legendary run as the companies top man in the mid 90’s.
6. Triple H – Before “The Game” was a superstar he began his WWE rise as Hunter Hearst Helmsley knocking off Marc Mero for the first of his 5 titles in 96′. Hunter would go on to battle Kane in one of the greatest Intercontinental feuds of all time even, for a short time, unifying the World’s Heavyweight Championship with the Intercontinental title due to his win at No Mercy 2002.
5. The Ultimate Warrior – The Warrior is credited with holding the Intercontinental Championship twice in the late 80’s, but the truth is, he never lost the belt cleanly. After dominating The Honky Tonk Man to win the title, his first reign was cut short amid controversy and his second title run ended when he defeated Hulk Hogan for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania VI which vacated his position as the Intercontinental champ.
4. Chris Benoit – The most respected technical wrestler of this era has enjoyed 4 IC title runs in his time with the WWE. Over the past decade “The Rabid Wolverine” has beaten some of the best competitors in the business, most notably gaining championship victories over such stars as Kurt Angle, Rob Van Dam and Chris Jericho.
3. Shawn Michaels – “The Heartbreak Kid” used the Intercontinental belt as a springboard to greatness. Michaels beat “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith in an absolute classic match at Saturday Night’s Main Event to win the first of his 3 IC titles. His last Reign as champion came with a win over Jeff Jarrett in 1995 and since then “The Show Stopper” hasn’t looked back, propelling himself to multiple WWE championships.
2. Jeff Jarrett – One of the sports most underrated competitors of all time claimed the first of his Intercontinental titles in January of 95′ by defeating future wrestling star Scott Hall. Jarrett went on to hold the belt for a then record 6 times. The Future TNA star’s dominance over the WWE’s Intercontinental ranks lasted almost 5 years.
1. Chris Jericho – The record 7 time IC champ “Y2J” has done just about everything an athlete in the sport could hope to do. In a little over 5 years in the WWE, Jericho took on all comers which led to championship wins over names like Rob Van Dam, Chyna, and Chris Benoit. His feud with Benoit over the belt went back and forth, but the defining moment for both athletes came in 2001 as Jericho was victorious in a classic ladder match.