The WWE Intercontinental Championship is often seen as a stepping stone to the WWE Championship, with future world champions such as Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Triple H all holding the championship on their road to the main event. The championship is also seen as a workhorse title, with some of the best performers putting on nightly classics as champion. But, who were the best Superstars to ever hold the belt? Here are the top 10 best Intercontinental Champions of all time.
10. The Rock
The Rock was always destined for greatness, and his time as Intercontinental Champion helped prove it to fans. His first reign came in February 1997 while he was still known as Rocky Maivia after he defeated Triple H on an episode of Raw, before losing it two months later to Owen Hart. But, it was his second reign from December 8th 1997 to August 30th 1998 which showed the world that The Rock was a world champion in the making. The Rock held the championship throughout much of his time as a member of the Nation Of Domination, losing it once the stable began to fizzle out so he could be positioned to win the WWF Championship later that year. On a side note, The Rock lost the Intercontinental Championship at Summerslam 1998, in one of the best WWE ladder matches, to Triple H, the same Superstar he won the belt from for his first title reign.
9. Pedro Morales
Pedro Morales has held the Intercontinental Championship for longer than any WWE Superstar in history, with him holding the belt for a total of 619 days across his two reigns as champion. He first won the belt as the third ever holder by defeating Ken Patera on December 8th 1980, before losing the championship to Don Muraco the following June. Morales would go on to hold the championship for a further 424 days before once again losing it to Muraco in 1983.
8. Mr Perfect
Mr Perfect has held the title for a combined reign of 406 days, currently the 9th longest reigning champion. Curt Hennig will forever go down as one of the greatest performers to never hold the WWE Championship, which makes his Intercontinental Championship reigns even more special. The championship is often referred to as the workhorse title and Mr Perfect was certainly that, having high-quality matches with everyone he stepped in the ring with.
7. The Miz
At the time of writing this, The Miz has had the second most reigns as Intercontinental Champion, with a total of eight reigns. The record currently goes to Chris Jericho who has nine reigns. But, with The Miz still being an active WWE Superstar it is possible that he will eventually tie, or even beat, the record and become the Superstar with the most reigns. During his time as champion, he has held the belt for a total of 597 days, defeating Superstars such as Dolph Ziggler, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns to win the title.
6. The Honky Tonk Man
The Honky Tonk Man currently holds the record of the longest single reign as champion, with a reign spanning 454 days, winning the championship from Ricky Steamboat in June 1987, before losing the belt to The Ultimate Warrior at Summerslam 1988 the following August.
5. Bret Hart
The Intercontinental Championship is often called the workhorse championship, and there is no better workhorse than Bret Hart. The Hitman held the title on two occasions, first defeating Mr Perfect, and then Roddy Piper for his second reign. The championship served as a tool to elevate Hart to the top, with him winning the WWF Championship shortly after dropping the belt to the British Bulldog in the main event of Summerslam 1992 in front of 70,000 fans at Wembley Arena.
4. Shawn Michaels
Shawn Michaels will go down as the greatest performer of all time, or at least tied with Ric Flair, and his work as Intercontinental Champion helped him earn that accolade. First winning the championship from British Bulldog in October 1992, HBK held the title on three occasions, with his final reign ending a few months before he won the WWF Championship at WrestleMania XII.
3. “Macho Man” Randy Savage
Macho Man vs Ricky Steamboat at WrestleMania 3 will forever go down as one of the great WrestleMania matches of all time, and certainly one of the best Intercontinental Championship matches ever. First winning the championship from Tito Santana in February 1986, Savage held the championship until March 1987 when the legendary encounter with “The Dragon” took place.
2. Razor Ramon
Like Mr Perfect, Scott Hall will go down as one of the best wrestlers never to hold the WWE Championship. During his time in the WWF, Ramon was one of the top mid-card competitors and a member of the infamous Kliq. During his time as champion, he held the belt on four separate occasions for a total of 434 days, winning the championship in a Battle Royal, then from Diesel, followed by Jeff Jarrett, and finally from Dean Douglas before moving to WCW in the Spring of 1996 to start the legendary NWO faction.
1. Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho holds the record of the most Intercontinental Championship reigns with nine different runs as champion. First winning the championship in December 1999, he went on to hold it a further eight more times with his final reign being in 2009. Over the decade he won the championship from Superstars such as Chyna, Chris Benoit, Rob Van Dam, Jeff Hardy, and Rey Mysterio. The Miz is hot on his tail with eight reigns, but only time will tell if he record will ever be broken.