The WWE Intercontinental Championship is the second oldest active title in WWE today. The WWE Championship, currently held by AJ Styles remains the oldest.
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The Intercontinental Title came into existence on September 1st, 1979 when Pat Patterson became the inaugural Champion by winning a fictitious tournament in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The then-World Wide Wrestling Federation wanted another singles Championship to augment the World Title on its live events.
An entertaining worker, the veteran, Patterson was the ideal choice to be the first Champion of a belt that would become known as the "workhorse" title, with more athletic contests than the Heavyweight Championship matches of the time.
It was widely viewed as a stepping stone, almost an audition for the WWWF/WWF World Championship.
Many IC Champions would go on to win the big one. This countdown looks at the five greatest IC Champions of all time who made the belt a memorable and worthy title.
It's easy to forget now but back in the early 1990's, Shawn Michaels struggled to gain the acceptance of wrestling fans as a true singles star.
Despite his incredible athleticism and strong microphone skills, his showman persona diminished his presentation as a tough, credible wrestler.
The then-WWF installed legendary heat machine, Sherri Martel as his manager in the hopes that her heat would transfer to her young charge.
To further put Michaels over as a legitimate star, he was given the Intercontinental Title. Michaels's first title win came in October 1992 versus The British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith. The result was a shocker coming just two months after Smith's famous IC Title victory over Bret "Hitman" Hart at Summerslam 1992 at Wembley Stadium.
Michaels kept hold of the strap until May of 1993 when he dropped it to his former tag team partner, Marty Jannetty.
Michaels soon regained the title and then vacated it due to injury. Upon his return, he claimed to still be the rightful champion and scolded the IC title holder, Razor Ramon as a fake. The two clashed in the first ever (televised) Ladder Match at Wrestlemania X in what was then the greatest match in company history.
The allure of the IC title endured and Michaels's reputation was enhanced, despite being on the losing side. Michaels would win his third and final IC title in a stunning match with Jeff Jarrett in July 1995 and subsequently gained a measure of revenge by defeating Razor in a Ladder re-match at Summerslam 1995 to retain the belt.
Michaels vacated the title due to injury two months later after he was assaulted for real outside a bar by a group of intoxicated marines.
When Michaels was fit to return he won the 1996 Royal Rumble and World Title at Wrestlemania XII. The IC belt had made him a star.