WWE Intercontinental Championship

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WWE Intercontinental Championship
New Intercontinental Championship design 2014.jpg
The current WWE Intercontinental Championship belt
Current champion(s) Daniel Bryan
Date won March 29, 2015
Date established September 1, 1979
Promotion WWE
Other name(s)
  • WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship (1979–1992)[1]
  • WWF Intercontinental Championship (1992–2002)

The WWE Intercontinental Championship is a professional wrestling championship in WWE, currently held by Daniel Bryan. Along with the WWE United States Championship, it is one of WWE's secondary titles. Although generally contested in the midcard at WWE shows, the title was defended in the main events of WrestleMania VI, SummerSlam 1992, the third and eighth In Your House events, and Backlash 2001. In recent years, its prestige has declined, and the champion often loses non-title matches on TV.[3]


The term "intercontinental" refers to spanning multiple continents, in this case originally two, North and South America.

In 1985, the belt design changed, the centerplate now centered on the Atlantic Ocean, in a map including western Africa and Europe.

On April 10, 1989, the championship was first defended outside of North America, by Rick Rude against The Ultimate Warrior in Milan, Italy.[4] On March 30, 1991, Mr. Perfect made the first Asian defense against The Texas Tornado at a WWF copromotion with Super World of Sports in Tokyo, Japan.[5] It first came to Africa on April 6, 1997, when champion Rocky Maivia pinned Savio Vega in Durban, South Africa.[6] Shelton Benjamin made the first Australian defense on April 7, 2006, pinning Gene Snitsky in Brisbane.[7]


WWF North American Heavyweight Champion Pat Patterson became the inaugural champion on September 1, 1979. It was said he had unified his title with a South American Heavyweight Championship, in a tournament in Rio de Janeiro,[8] though this tournament was never actually held.[9][10]

On October 17, 1999, Chyna became the only woman to hold the Intercontinental Championship by defeating Jeff Jarrett at No Mercy.[11][12] Following the World Wrestling Federation's purchase of World Championship Wrestling in March 2001,[13] the title was unified with the WCW United States Championship at Survivor Series 2001, causing the United States Championship to become inactive. The United States Champion, Edge, defeated the Intercontinental Champion, Test.[14]

In 2002, Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff began consolidating his brand's singles championships. On July 22, 2002, he announced that the Intercontinental Championshop would be unified with the European Championship in a ladder match, which saw Intercontinental Champion Rob Van Dam defeat European Champion Jeff Hardy. On August 19, 2002, Bischoff made a six-minute gauntlet match for the Hardcore Championship, with the winner facing Van Dam in a second unification match the next week on Raw. Tommy Dreamer successfully retained his title in that match, but lost to Van Dam in a hardcore match the next week.[15][16] As a result of the victories over Hardy and Dreamer, Van Dam is regarded as the last European and Hardcore champion in WWE history; these were his first and fourth reigns with those respective titles.[17][18][19]

Bischoff, however, was not done. On September 30, 2002, he announced that there would be one more unification match. In this match, the Intercontinental Championship would be unified with the recently reactivated World Heavyweight Championship, which had been awarded to Triple H by Bischoff following the decision by SmackDown General Manager Stephanie McMahon to make reigning Undisputed WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and his title exclusive property of her show. The match took place at No Mercy the following month and saw Triple H defeat Intercontinental Champion Kane, making him the sole singles champion of the Raw brand.[20]

On May 5, 2003, Bischoff's now Raw co-General Manager, Stone Cold Steve Austin, announced live on Raw, over Bischoff's objections, that he was reactivating the Intercontinental Championship and that any former champions on the Raw roster were eligible to enter a battle royal at Judgment Day for the title. Christian won the battle royal to claim the championship and restore a secondary singles title for Raw wrestlers to compete for and giving the brand a total of four championships, which included the World Heavyweight Championship and the former WWF Tag Team Championship, which was renamed the World Tag Team Championship. Eventually WWE would do the same thing for SmackDown and created a separate set of titles for that brand; for its secondary title, SmackDown reactivated the United States Heavyweight Championship that had been unified with the Intercontinental Championship in 2001, placing the WWE name on it while claiming the lineage of the old WCW title of the same name (much as they did with the Cruiserweight Championship when that became WWE exclusive).

During the 2009 WWE Draft on April 13, 2009, reigning champion Rey Mysterio was drafted to SmackDown, making the Intercontinental Championship exclusive to that brand.[21] On October 2, 2011, at Hell in a Cell, Cody Rhodes introduced a modified version of the classic belt design with the white strap, with an added modern WWE "scratch logo" and other embellishments.[22] Since August 29, 2011, when all WWE programming became "Supershows" featuring wrestlers from the full roster, the title has been defended on both Raw and SmackDown. On August 18th, 2014, the Intercontinental Championship belt design (along with all of the other championships in WWE) was updated with the new logo in place of the long-standing scratch logo.

WWE has received negative reactions from critics regarding their scripting of the Intercontinental Champions. In 2013, Darren Gutteridge of Pro Wrestling Dot Net wrote that the "title has proven an albatross for the past decade, with almost all title holders doomed to tread water, usually only beating people decisively when the title is on the line".[23] The albatross metaphor was also used to describe the title in 2014 by James Caldwell of Pro Wrestling Torch,[24] while Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer said that year that "the IC title isn't booked to mean much".[25] Various commentators in 2014 and 2015, including from the Baltimore Sun, Rolling Stone, PWInsider and Pro Wrestling Dot Net have pointed out that the Intercontinental Champion often loses non-title matches,[26][27][28][29] while Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview questioned how Intercontinental Champions "losing too much" is "supposed to bring prestige to the Intercontinental Championship"?[30]


Current champion Daniel Bryan.

The inaugural champion was Pat Patterson who, as the WWF North American Champion, in September 1979 also was declared "South American Heavyweight Champion" after "winning" a fictitious tournament in Rio de Janeiro. Patterson unified the two championships into the Intercontinental Championship.

There have been 74 different champions. Chris Jericho had the most reigns with nine. Pedro Morales held the championship for a record total of 619 days and The Honky Tonk Man had the longest uninterrupted reign at 454 days, from June 2, 1987 until August 29, 1988. Dean Douglas had the shortest reign at 13 minutes 52 seconds. Chyna is the only woman to win the title. The youngest champion was Jeff Hardy, who won the championship at 23 years old, while the oldest champion was Ric Flair, who won the championship at Unforgiven 2005 at the age of 56. There have been nine vacancies throughout the title's history.

The current champion is Daniel Bryan, who is in his first reign. He defeated previous champion Bad News Barrett, R-Truth, Dolph Ziggler, Dean Ambrose, Luke Harper, and Stardust in a Ladder match on March 29, 2015 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, during Wrestlemania 31 to win the title.


  1. ^ WWE WrestleMania I (DVD). WWE. 1985-03-31. 
  2. ^ Dean Douglas' Reign
  3. ^ Henry, Justin (February 19, 2015). "A Vinconvenient Truth". Fighting Spirit Magazine (Uncooked Media) (116): 10. [I]nexplicable is the fact that the Intercontinental title is now considered by the wrestlers to be a death sentence, due the subsequent TV win/loss record that renders the championship moot and the champion's character impotent. 
  4. ^ 1989 WWF events, from TheHistoryOfWWE.com
  5. ^ The 4,181 Intercontinental title matches, from WrestlingData.com
  6. ^ 1997 WWF events, from TheHistoryOfWWE.com
  7. ^ 2005 WWF events, from TheHistoryOfWWE.com
  8. ^ "Pat Patterson's first reign". 
  9. ^ "Intercontinental Title Tournament Finally Uncovered", April Fool's joke from WWE.com
  10. ^ Intercontinental title history, from TheHistoryofWWE.com
  11. ^ Lilsboy (May 2005). "The truth about Chyna". The Sun. Retrieved 2007-04-12. 
  12. ^ Laurer, Joanie. If They Only Knew, 299.
  13. ^ "WWE Entertainment, Inc. Acquires WCW from Turner Broadcasting". WWE Corporate. 2001-03-23. Retrieved 2007-12-07. 
  14. ^ "Survivor Series 2001 results". WWE. Retrieved 2007-12-07. 
  15. ^ "WWE Raw – June 22, 2002 results". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2007-12-07. 
  16. ^ "WWE Raw – August 26, 2002 results". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2007-12-07. 
  17. ^ "Rob Van Dam's first reign". World Wrestling Entertainment. Archived from the original on 2008-03-11. Retrieved 2007-08-02. 
  18. ^ "WWE European Championship history". WWE. Retrieved 2007-12-07. 
  19. ^ "WWE Hardcore Championship history". WWE.com. Retrieved 2007-12-07. 
  20. ^ "No Mercy 2002 results". WWE. Retrieved 2007-12-07. 
  21. ^ Plummer, Dale (2009-04-14). "RAW: Drafting a fresh start for the WWE". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  22. ^ Buridck, Michael (2011-10-02). "WWE "Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes def. John Morrison"". Retrieved 2011-10-04. 
  23. ^ Gutteridge, Darren. ""Man vs. Machine" WWE Survivor Series Preview and Predictions: Is this the last we'll see of the Survivor Series format? How will WWE 2K14 fair in it's first outing?". prowrestling.net. Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  24. ^ Caldwell, James. "WWE Raw results 11/17: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw - final Survivor Series hype, main event Contract Signing, new IC champion, more". PWTorch.com. Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  25. ^ "Sun. Update: TLC preview, odds". f4wonline.com. Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  26. ^ "Luke Harper gets his first taste of gold on Monday Night Raw". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  27. ^ "WWE Fast Lane Tip Sheet". pwinsider.com. Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  28. ^ "03/02 Powell's WWE Raw Live Review: Paul Heyman promo, Seth Rollins and "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart, Nikki Bella vs. Paige for the Divas Championship, WrestleMania 31 build continues". prowrestling.net. Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  29. ^ Herzog, Kenny. "WWE 'Royal Rumble' Recap: The Philadelphia Phuck You". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  30. ^ "2/26 SmackDown: It wasn't bad or good". wrestleview.com. Retrieved 7 March 2015. 

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