Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
WWE Intercontinental Championship
Originally the second-most important title in WWE, the WWE Intercontinental Championship is now one of the major championships on the RAW brand. While the top superstars on RAW usually seek the World Heavyweight Championship, wrestlers who are not in the main event tend to vie for the Intercontinental Championship, which has been around for more than 25 years.
Pat Patterson has the distinction of being the first Intercontinental (IC) Champion. He received the title in September, 1979. In the 1980s, several top superstars would win the IC Title, including Pedro Morales, Don Muraco, Tito Santana, and Ricky Steamboat.
The IC Title has traditionally been used as a stepping stone for wrestlers as they advance in their careers.Chris Jericho, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock,Triple H and Randy Orton have all held the IC Title before becoming World Champions.
During the Invasion storyline in 2001, the United States Champion, Edge, defeated the Intercontinental Champion, Test, to merge both titles. Edge then held the Intercontinental Championship, and the United States Title became inactive.
Rob Van Dam put his Intercontinental Championship on the line, along with Jeff Hardy's European Championship, in a ladder match on June 22, 2002. By winning that match, Rob Van Dam merged the two titles, and continued to hold the IC Title, while the European Championship was deactivated. The same would occur on August 26, 2002, when Van Dam defeated the Hardcore Champion, Tommy Dreamer. Dreamer's Hardcore Title was merged with the IC Championship and was then deactivated.
The Intercontinental Championship was unified with the World Heavyweight Championship on October 20, 2002, when the World Heavyweight Champion, Triple H, defeated the Intercontinental Champion, Kane. This time, the Intercontinental Title became inactive. This was a hugely unpopular decision and fans demanded the belt be reactivated. RAW General Manager Steve Austin reinstated the IC Title the following year, and Christian won the belt on May 18, 2003. The Intercontinental Title has remained active ever since.
Also, the United States Championship was restored as the SmackDown equivalent of the title in 2003, much like it was WCW's equivalent of the title in its competition with the then WWF.
Facts & Trivia
The wrestler with the longest Intercontinental Championship reign is the Honky Tonk Man, who held the title for nearly 15 months.
The wrestler with the shortest Intercontinental Championship reign is Dean Douglas, who was awarded the belt from an injured Shawn Michaels, only to lose it to Razor Ramon on the same night 11 minutes later.
Pat Patterson became the first Intercontinental Champion with the claim that he had won a tournament in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. However, such a tournament never actually took place; the title was just awarded to Patterson.
Chris Jericho and Chyna are the only wrestlers to have held the IC Title at the same time. The two became co-champions after a controversial ending to a match between them led to the Intercontinental Championship being vacated by Jericho and then awarded to both superstars, under the stipulation that both wrestlers would lose the title if one of them lost during a defense. Chris Jericho would later win a triple threat match including Chyna to become sole champion once again.
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