On a gloomy day in December back in 1909, two Toronto-based football teams (University of Toronto Varsity Blues and Parkdale Canoe Club) competed in the inaugural Grey Cup Championship Game. Over one hundred years have past and the Grey Cup continues to symbolize the best football in Canada.
While winning the Grey Cup is an honour in its own right, it does not compare to winning the Super Bowl. Sure, the Grey Cup has existed within the football world much longer but the Super Bowl is the football championship. Pee-Wee football players do not dream of Grey Cup glory, they long for the Lombardi Trophy.
In WWE, winning the Intercontinental Championship is a big deal; or at least it was a big deal in the past. However, wrestlers like Kevin Owens have provided the belt with hope once again; a belt which was introduced by Pat Patterson back in 1979 and a belt which has been held by many WWE legends.
However, the ultimate goal for every WWE Superstar is to become the WWE (World Heavyweight) Champion. With the exception of The Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania VI - due to Warrior challenging Hulk Hogan for the WWE Championship - the Intercontinental Champion does not main event WrestleMania.
The Intercontinental Championship has been used as a stepping-stone and has helped propel the careers of some of WWE's biggest Superstars, as "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, The Rock, and Shawn Michaels have all held the Intercontinental Championship prior to their emergence into mega-stardom.
Over the years, many men have held the Intercontinental Championship. However, many of these title reigns have been lost and forgotten in the minds of WWE fans. The following piece will take a look back at those who have held the Intercontinental Championship at some point in their careers.
These are the top 15 forgotten Intercontinental Champions:
Note: For the purposes of this piece, each wrestler will have held the Intercontinental Championship one time only.
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15 The Godfather (43 Days)
The Godfather has made it all the way to the WWE Hall of Fame. Therefore, let's kick things off by honoring The Hustler of Human Flesh and his Intercontinental Championship reign from 1999.
The most memorable part of The Godfather's time with the title was his loss to Jeff Jarrett on Raw is War, a week after Jarrett's partner, Owen Hart tragically passed away in a horrific accident. Jarrett's victory was a tribute to Owen.
14 Billy Gunn (19 Days)
Billy Gunn never quite possessed that "singles star" quality and will be remembered best as a tag team wrestler; famously as one-half of a groundbreaking tag team known as The New Age Outlaws.
However, in the year 2000 - at least for a little while - Billy Gunn would enjoy some singles success as the Intercontinental Championship. Gunn's reign was far from memorable or monumental but it did in fact happen.
13 Road Dogg (14 Days)
When fans looks back on The New Age Outlaws, they recall Road Dogg Jesse James as the voice of the duo and the more charismatic member of the tag team. That's just the way it goes with most wrestling pairs.
However, at least Billy Gunn can state that he held the Intercontinental Championship longer than his buddy Road Dogg; not that much longer but longer all the same. These two were better suited together anyway.
12 Ken Shamrock (125 Days)
Ken Shamrock brought a sense of realism to the wrestling ring with his MMA background. In fact, Shamrock would receive a solid push for a while and even perform on the main event level.
Although Ken Shamrock was never able to capture the WWE Championship, he would hold the Intercontinental Championship for over 100 days. Shamrock is often a forgotten piece of the Attitude Era puzzle.
11 Diesel (138 Days)
During the 1990s, "Big Daddy Cool" Diesel played a pivotal role in WWE's New Generation. Diesel would eventually serve as the longest reigning WWE Champion of the decade.
However, prior to the top-of-the-card position, Diesel would serve as Intercontinental Champion for a period of time. Eventually, the mid-card was no longer an option and "Big Daddy Cool" was thrust into the main event scene.
10 Big Show (28 Days)
At WrestleMania XXVIII, Big Show finally experienced a "moment" at the Big Event when he captured his first and only (to date) Intercontinental Championship by defeating Cody Rhodes.
However, Big Show would not hold the title for long as Show's quick love affair with the Intercontinental Championship would last a month before Cody Rhodes came back around to reclaim the gold.
9 John "Bradshaw" Layfield (27 Days)
John "Bradshaw" Layfield would lose the Intercontinental Championship in a most memorable manner at WrestleMania XXV when Rey Mysterio defeated the self-proclaimed "Wrestling God" in twenty-one seconds.
Adding to the memory of this night, JBL would grab a mic following his embarrassing loss to inform the live audience and those watching at home that he quit the company. This of course served as an angle for JBL to retire from in-ring competition.
8 "Ravishing" Rick Rude (148 Days)
Perhaps no other Intercontinental Champion wore the gold with more pride than "Ravishing" Rick Rude. The belt was not only worn around the waist of Rude but once removed was still visible to the fans.
Rick Rude wanted it made clear at all times that he was indeed the reigning Intercontinental Champion, which is why a picture of the title was airbrushed onto the tights of Rude.
7 Booker T (34 Days)
In the early days of 2003, Booker T was placed into the main event picture and would even challenge Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XIX in Seattle ... in a losing effort.
However, by the summer of that year, Booker T - working exclusively on Raw - was placed into the mid-card as the top spot was reserved for others. During this time, Booker T would capture his only Intercontinental Championship.
6 Randy Orton (210 Days)
As a young, brash upstart talent, Randy Orton would piece together one of the greatest Intercontinental Championship reigns of all time. This while running with the biggest dogs in the yard: Evolution.
However, twelve World Championships later and the lone Intercontinental Championship reign of Randy Orton is often overlooked; for just reason of course but still, fans should not forget about this impressive 200+ day run with the gold.
5 Rocky Maivia (74 Days)
Technically, Dwayne Johnson was a two-time Intercontinental Champion throughout his early years in WWE. However, for the purposes of this piece, we must exclude his title reign as The Rock and focus on Rocky Maivia.
While serving as Intercontinental Champion, the crowd grew to hate Rocky Maivia with a distinct passion as "Die, Rocky, Die!" chants were heard throughout arenas. Upon losing the belt, The Rock was born. Therefore, this forgotten reign played a massive role.
4 CM Punk (49 Days)
It's hard to forget anything about CM Punk as the outspoken former wrestler would prove to be the most controversial WWE Superstar in recent memory. And certainly, Punk's 434 day WWE Championship reign is unforgettable.
However, prior to WWE realizing they had a main event star with CM Punk, The Straight Edge Superstar was aimlessly bounced around the card. At one point. Punk was made to be Intercontinental Champion.
3 Kurt Angle (35 Days)
In February 2000, Kurt Angle would become not only the Intercontinental Champion but the European Champion as well; referring to himself as the "Eurocontinental Champion." This while Angle barley had his foot in the WWE door.
Kurt Angle would go on to lose both the Intercontinental and European Championship at WrestleMania 2000 in a Triple Threat match. However, Angle's only reign with the Intercontinental Championship is one that fans should know about.
2 "Rowdy" Roddy Piper (77 Days)
It is difficult to pinpoint who invented the art of professional wrestling trash-talk but one thing is for sure: "Rowdy" Roddy Piper perfected said art as the first true, unapologetic, wrestling heel.
While never wearing the WWE Championship belt, Roddy Piper would capture the Intercontinental Championship in January of 1992 before losing the belt to Bret Hart at WrestleMania VIII. Never Forget Hot Rod.
1 Ric Flair (155 Days)
The greatest World Champion in professional wrestling had never held the Intercontinental Championship and had no need or desire to do so until Unforgiven 2005 when Ric Flair stepped into the ring with Carlito.
The "Nature Boy" would win his first and only Intercontinental Championship and hold onto the strap for 155 days with the usual Ric Flair Tactics until the title was taken from Flair by Shelton Benjamin on an episode of Monday Night Raw.
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