The Intercontinental Championship has been around for 40 years and is arguably wrestling's most consistent championship prize; with the exception of a brief hiatus in the early 2000s when it was temporarily removed from the company, the I-C title has been regularly defended at most of WWF/E's biggest shows.
Known as WWE's "workhorse" title, the Intercontinental Championship has been a steppingstone to some 25 WWE Hall of Famers (and many future Hall of Famers as well) and has been a focal point of many of the company's biggest shows, such as WrestleMania III and SummerSlam '92.
In compiling a list of the Top 50 Intercontinental Champions, we looked at the following criteria:
Did the person hold the Intercontinental Championship multiple times?
Did the person have a lengthy Intercontinental Champion run or runs?
What was the stage where they won the championship?
What kind of competition did they defend the belt against?
How closely is their career associated with the Intercontinental Championship?
If you'd like to be a part of this conversation, Tweet us at @canadianbulldog using the hashtag #Top50, or leave a comment below.
Ready? Here we go!
Finn Balor captured the Intercontinental Championship twice in 2019, trading the belt back and forth with Bobby Lashley and holding on to the gold for 120 days.
Although better known for his tag team and cruiserweight exploits (or even his run as World Champion), Rey Mysterio held the Intercontinental Champion twice in 2009, famously defeating Chris Jericho in a mask vs. title match.
Carlito only held the Intercontinental Championship once, holding it for about three months in 2005.... but the way he captured it, defeating Shelton Benjamin during his very first appearance on Raw? Dass cool.
UFC Hall of Famer Ken Shamrock captured the Intercontinental Championship in October 1998 by winning a tournament for the vacant title. Shamrock defended it successfully for about four months.
Rowdy Roddy Piper
WWE Hall of Famer Rowdy Roddy Piper's one Intercontinental Title reign was short but memorable. At the Royal Rumble in 1992, he defeated The Mountie, holding the title until WrestleMania VIII, losing in a classic match to Bret Hart.
Jeff Hardy has held the Intercontinental Championship four times between 2001 and 2007, defeating the likes of Triple H, Johnny Nitro and Umaga for the honor.
... WWE Hall of Famer Chyna held the Intercontinental Championship twice in 2000, becoming the first (and only) female Intercontinental Champion in WWE history. For a brief period, she also co-held the title with Chris Jericho.
Rob Van Dam
Rob Van Dam is a six-time Intercontinental Champion, defeating the likes of Chris Jericho and Eddie Guerrero for the gold.
Former Olympian Ken Patera was the second Intercontinental Champion in company history, defeating Pat Patterson for the title in April 1980 and holding onto it for more than 200 days.
Christian has pleased all his Peeps by capturing the Intercontinental Championship four times between 2001 and 2012. He even captured the vacated title once in a battle royal.
John Morrison (also known as Johnny Nitro for his first two reigns) is a three-time Intercontinental Champion, holding the championship for more than 200 days combined.
Santino Marella captured the Intercontinental Championship during his very first WWE appearance (a surprise win over Umaga). Although his two reigns lasted a combined 162 days, he tried in vain to outlast The Honky Tonk Man's record run.
WWE Hall of Famer Triple H is a five-time Intercontinental Champion who captured his first title as Hunter Hearst Helmsley from Marc Mero and lost the title to a young Rocky Maivia.
The British Bulldog
The British Bulldog (no relation to yours truly) captured the Intercontinental Championship in spectacular fashion in August 1992 - in front of his hometown crowd and against his brother-in-law Bret Hart in the main event of that year's SummerSlam.
Cody Rhodes dominated the Intercontinental Championship scene between mid-2011 and mid-2012, holding the title for a combined 257 days.
The Magnificent Muraco
WWE Hall of Famer The Magnificent Muraco held the Intercontinental Championship twice between 1981 and 1984, holding the title for a 541 days. Most famously, he defended the belt against Superfly Jimmy Snuka in a legendary steel cage match.
Owen Hart is a two-time Intercontinental Champion who held the championship for about four months combined. His feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin over the I-C Title is remembered to this day.
Kofi Kingston is the most successful Intercontinental Champion among The New Day (though Big E has also held the belt), capturing the title four times for a combined reign of more than 250 days.
The Rock's first Intercontinental Championship was won while he was still Rocky Maivia. His combined two reigns total 339 days, which included an early feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Bret "Hitman" Hart
Two-time WWE Hall of Famer Bret Hitman Hart is a two-time Intercontinental Champion who used the title as a steppingstone to greater things. His title match with Mr. Perfect at SummerSlam '91 was a Match Of The Year candidate.
WWE Hall of Famer Jeff Jarrett captured the Intercontinental Championship six times between 1995 and 1999, famously feuding with Razor Ramon, Chyna and others over the gold.
The Ultimate Warrior
WWE Hall of Famer The Ultimate Warrior held the Intercontinental Championship twice, with a combined reign of 432 days. The Warrior used his gold as a steppingstone to challenge WWF Champion Hulk Hogan to a title vs. title match at WrestleMania VI.
WWE Hall of Famer Pedro Morales' two Intercontinental Championship runs lasted a combined 619 days, more than any other performer. Morales was the first man to hold the company's World, I-C and Tag Team Championships.
Randy "Macho Man" Savage
WWE Hall of Famer Randy Macho Man Savage held the Intercontinental Championship for 414 days between 1986 and 1987, including his legendary match with Ricky Steamboat at WrestleMania III.
Chris Jericho has held the Intercontinental Championship a record nine times for a combined reign of more than 300 days. Along the way, Y2J has battled the likes of Rey Mysterio, Kurt Angle and Rob Van Dam.
Umaga captured the Intercontinental Championship twice during 2007, dominating that division for about two-thirds of the year. His first reign was cut short thanks to the surprise debut of Santino Marella.
Dean Ambrose captured the championship twice between 2015 and 2017, holding the gold for more than 200 days combined and bringing the title from SmackDown Live to Raw.
Shinsuke Nakamura captured the Intercontinental Championship at Extreme Rules in 2019. The Artist held the gold for 201 days before dropping it to Braun Strowman.
Kevin Owens held the Intercontinental Championship twice in 2015 and 2016 for a combined total of 132 days, turning the I-C title into The Kevin Owens Show.
Dolph Ziggler is a six-time former Intercontinental Champion, holding the gold several times between 2010 and 2016. All told, The Show Off held the belt for more than a year combined.
WWE Hall of Famer Eddie Guerrero held the Intercontinental Championship twice between 2000 and 2002, holding it for nearly four months combined. Latino Heat won his first championship from...
If you thought Wade Barrett was going to rank higher on this list.... then I'm afraid I've got some Bad News! Barrett held the I-C title five times between 2011 and 2015, with combined reign of more than a year.
WWE Hall of Famer Diesel held the Intercontinental Championship once in 1994, holding the gold for more than four months.
Seth Rollins used the Intercontinental Championship to springboard to bigger things, capturing the championship twice in 2018 at both WrestleMania and SummerSlam. Combined, Rollins was champion for 190 days.
Stone Cold Steve Austin
WWE Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin is a two-time Intercontinental Champion, winning the title twice in 1997.
Although WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle only held the Intercontinental Championship once (and for just over a month), we give him high marks for becoming the first Eurocontinental Champion (except for D'Lo Brown, but he doesn't count).
Randy Orton only had one run with the Intercontinental Championship, but it was a significant one that helped set him up for future success. Orton defeated Rob Van Dam for the title in December 2003 and held it for more than 200 days.
Greg The Hammer Valentine
WWE Hall of Famer Greg The Hammer Valentine captured the Intercontinental Championship in September 1985 and held onto it for 285 days, even defending the title at the first WrestleMania.
Shelton Benjamin is a three-time Intercontinental Champion, holding the title for nearly a year combined. His first win was at the inaugural Taboo Tuesday pay-per-view, where he was a surprise challenger to Chris Jericho.
WWE Hall of Famer Edge is a five-time Intercontinental Champion who held the title at various points between 1999 and 2004.
Ravishing Rick Rude
WWE Hall of Famer Ravishing Rick Rude captured the Intercontinental Championship at 1989's WrestleMania V when he upset The Ultimate Warrior for the gold.
Goldust is a three-time Intercontinental Champion who captured his first title from Razor Ramon in 1996 after famously playing "mind games" with The Bad Guy.
Ricky The Dragon Steamboat
WWE Hall of Famer Ricky The Dragon Steamboat only captured the Intercontinental Championship once and held it for about two months. But his high ranking on this list comes from his WrestleMania III victory over Randy Savage, arguably the greatest I-C championship match of all time.
WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson is the grandfather of the Intercontinental Championship, becoming the first man to win it, and via a mysterious tournament in Rio de Janeiro in 1979, holding onto it for 233 days.
WWE Hall of Famer Mr. Perfect is closely associated with the Intercontinental Championship, which he first captured in a 1990 tournament. His two reigns total more than 400 days combined.
WWE Hall of Famer Tito Santana is often referred to as the prototypical I-C Champion, capturing the title twice between 1984 and 1986. His reigns lasted more than 400 days combined.
WWE Hall of Famer Razor Ramon is a four-time Intercontinental Champion, holding the title for more than 400 days and defending his gold against everyone from Goldust to Diesel.
Two-time WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels won the Intercontinental Championship three times between 1992 and 1995. His classic title matches with Bret Hart, Marty Jannetty, Mr. Perfect and others helped to build The Heartbreak Kid's legend.
The Miz has become a major part of the Intercontinental Championship lineage in recent years. His eight title reigns are the second-highest ever, as are the number of combined days (597) that he held the gold, dropping the title at WrestleMania XXXIV.
The Honky Tonk Man
How can we make a list of the Top 50 Intercontinental Champions without listing The Greatest Intercontinental Champion Of All Time? WWE Hall of Famer The Honky Tonk Man captured the I-C Title in 1987, which many saw as an upset. After surviving feuds with everyone from Randy Savage to Jake Roberts, The Honky Tonk Man's single reign was a record 454 days.