The WWE released an article outlining the 25 Greatest WWE Intercontinental Champions in History. However, due to their revisionist account, their lists are always somewhat flawed. As with many of their collections, the WWE manages to insert a few current names in the "all time history" lists. I always found this tactic to be eye-rolling, as it is obviously just another way to get over current stars. Therefore, I thought I would compact a more suitable and less prejudice list of the five greatest WWE Intercontinental Champions in history.
Curt Hennig may have been the quintessential Intercontinental Champion. He was the perfect mid card wrestler. He was athletic, unique, charismatic and a big presence that didn't overshadow the main event. Though Hennig did have a brief feud with Hulk Hogan, he was never considered a serious threat. But the fact that Hogan would work with him proved just how awesome he was.
Bret "The Hitman" Hart captured the Intercontinental Championship from Mr. Perfect at Summerslam 1991. In addition to his memorable match with Hennig, Hart also had a brutal bout with Roddy Piper at Wrestlemania 8. Hart gave the title a lot of credibility before he moved on to the Heavyweight Championship. Along with Hennig, Hart may be one of the men who are synonymous with the classic looking Intercontinental Belt.
Honky Tonk Man
The self proclaimed "greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time" is certainly in the top ten. Honky Tonk Man is the longest reigning champion in history, having held the belt for a record 454 days. The Elvis look-a-like doesn't get too much love from the WWE, as he is considered a difficult gentleman to negotiate with.
The Heartbreak Kid is a former three times Intercontinental Champion. He held the title during the years 1992-1995, before he captured the heavyweight gold at Wrestlemania 12. Michaels may always be remembered and haunted by his forfeiture of the championship in 1995.
The Macho Man Randy Savage was the consummate mid 80s champion. Savage held the belt from 1986-1987, before he lost the belt to Ricky Steamboat in a dramatic and historic Wrestlemania three match. Savage is one of the first men to use the Intercontinental Championship as a stepping stone to a bigger and brighter future.
In the last several years, the Intercontinental Championship has lost prestige. It is no longer a solid middle card trophy, but rather, just an afterthought. The title has been given to almost any wrestler with a pulse, and that has damaged its lineage. It's sad, as the championship was once a heralded possession that demanded respect and prestige. I hope Cody Rhodes, the current champion, will be able to resurrect the credibility.
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Ryan Drew is a 30 year old pro wrestler from Boston. He was trained by Spike Dudley. Please follow Ryan on Twitter, Facebook or at The Wrestling Hub.