Saturday, April 19, 2014

The 10 Count: Best Intercontinental Champions

On this past Monday Night Raw we saw yet another attempt to restore the Intercontinental Title back to some importance. It made me think of the better days of I-C Title and when it meant something in this company. They mentioned 12 members of the WWE Hall of Fame are former I-C Champions. So this makes this a tough list to crack and we have left some of those Hall of Famers off our list of the 10 greatest I-C Champions of all time.

Steve Austin, Shawn Micheals and Ultimate Warrior all did not make the list of greatest I-C champs of all time. Hard to imagine but look at our list of 10 and you will see it is hard to find them a spot. Even the first ever I-C Champ Pat Patterson isn’t on the list either. Mainly because we are still looking for the footage of the tournament he won in Brazil or Argentina or where ever in South America it supposedly took place to become the first champion.

#10 Kurt Angle:
The one and only ever Euro-Continental Champion holding the European and I-C Belts at the same time. This was the first time we got to see Kurt Angle as a champion and would not be the last. Kurt was still a new comer to pro wrestling after winning in a legit Gold Medal in 1996 with a broken fringing’ neck. Angle has gone on to be some what crazy and loony since leaving the WWE heading elsewhere, but at the start of his time in pro wrestling he was amazing in the ring and pretty damn tremendous on a microphone. A star was born and a run with this title was part of proving it.

#9 Don Muraco:
He was The Rock before the Rock. He was also part of one of the most iconic moments in Wrestling with Jimmy Snuka. Yes Snuka jumping off a cage was amazing, but just as amazing is having to be the guy lying there taking it. In many ways Don Muraco was ahead of his time. The funny bits he would do with his manager Mr’ Fuji were just fun and cheesy.  He had a couple runs with the I-C Title and was one of the first to make the title mean something. He feuded with Snuka and Pedro Morales in some classic battles.

#8 Bret “Hitman” Hart:
Much like many we will mention on this list Bret was given this title as a test to see if he could one day be the WWF/E Champion. He would be about the only guy I can recall defend the I-C Belt in a Main Event as he and the British Bulldog had a classic match for the title in the Main Event of a Summerslam. It was one of the best matches of that year or any year with Bulldog coming out on top. Hart would have several runs with the title and he would face his career long rival HBK along they way for this belt before the two would fight for a much bigger prize in the future.

#7 The Rock:
Before the days of the Rock being in the World Title picture he had a long run and feud with Stone Cold centred on the I-C Belt. It was the start of us getting to see what a truly great performer he was and vice versa with Austin. It was so vital for both in their development to go on to be World Champions and have one of the greatest feuds in Wrestlemania history with matches at 15, 17 and 19.

#6 Chris Jericho:
has held the belt the most number of times which I believe is 9 times, so based on that deserves to make this list. He was always a guy that seemed to get shuffled from the mid-card to the top of the card and many of those times he would get a run with the I-C Title. He had numerous foes to defend the belt against some of the best being Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit and William Regal. Probably many more we could list but those stick out.

 #5 Razor Ramon: Long before we knew who Scott Hall was there was the Bad Guy and he was the first 4 time I-C Champ in the history of the WWF/E. His most memorable feud for the I-C title was with Shawn Micheals that climaxed with the ladder match at Wrestlemania 10. Razor would win that match despite most of the praise going to HBK. Razor Regardless of being face or an actual bad guy was a great I-C Champ and really did well with his runs with the title.

#4 Ravishing Rick Rude:
The fact he was able to guide the Ultimate Warrior to some of the best matches of his career was an accomplishment enough, but Rude himself was a tremendous performer. Paired with Bobby Heenan the two together would make for some magic with microphone and Rude was a solid competitor in the ring. His unique airbrushed tights that related to his feuds have something that you just never saw back in those days and added that extra bit of fuel to the fire.
 #3 Mr. Perfect: Curt Hennig many feel deserved to be a World Champion in WWF but it never happened. His run with Bobby Heenan starting off as his manger and holding the I-C Title was pretty memorable. He would win a tournament to secure the belt I believe after the Warrior was forced to vacate the title after winning the WWF Title at Wrestlemania 6. He would lose the title to Bret Hart in a match where Hennig was suffering from extreme back issues but still it goes down as one of the best matches in history of Summerslam.

#2 Honky Tonk Man: Love him or hate him the guy played the cowardly heel champion for all it was worth. After shockingly beating Steamboat not long after his historic win over Savage it would be the Honky Tonk Man that would go on to have the longest reign in history. Perhaps not by design as he was going to lose the belt to Savage but plans changed when Savage was going to be given the World Title. By hook and often times by crook Honky Tonk would beat people and keep his running going until the un-named opponent the Ultimate Warrior came out and laid waste to him in about 20-30 seconds.

#1 Randy “Macho Man” Savage: This is the Condo on the Moon were you expecting anyone else? Savage had a great run with the title and eventually lost the belt in one of the most epic matches in the history of Wrestlemania. He was the first guy that really used this title as a stepping stone to the WWF Title and another long run with that belt. Randy Savage made the Intercontinental Title a big deal and was the man that made this title notable in a time when wrestling was in one of its biggest boom periods in the 80’s.

So that is our list how did we do? It is tough and lot's of debate can be had. But that is our top 10 and we're sticking to it. If you care to debate look me up on twitter @dinonationblog or on Facebook Condo on The Moon Page. Also check out Every Friday the IWC Podcast this week with guest wrestler Ethan Page and we talk ROH and WWE. What is not for debate is no one holding that belt in recent times deserves to be on this list and that is because of how they have been booked.