The Intercontinental Championship has always been looked at as a stepping stone for a wrestler. It's a title that recognizes that the individual has a ton of potential to be the WWE Champion some day, but not quite yet. We've seen it many times where the IC strap catapults a star into a superstar. The Macho Man, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels are examples of wrestlers that took the belt and ran to greatness. We also have other cases where the title reign amounted to nothing. Sometimes it was a case of a poor gimmick or the company not pushing the wrestler enough. Sometimes it was a case of the wrestler just lacking in talent. There were also instances where it was a bit of both. Did you know that Carlito once held the second most prestigious belt in the company? It was a 155 day run! Granted, he wouldn't qualify as one of the worst but he was definitely one that got lost in the shuffle. Shelton Benjamin also had a 244 day reign that has been forgotten about, but he'd likely constitute as an underrated IC champion as he had a ton of potential and was misused. The same could be said for Drew McIntyre who is currently ripping it up in the indies.
We could go on all day when it comes to talking about wrestlers that flew under the radar and those who were misused, which we discuss here, but that is not the point of this article. This list will be a tribute to those who were the best at being the worst. Let's dive into this catastrophe and see the top 15 worst Intercontinental Champions of all-time!
15 D'Lo Brown
He was the only man to ever wrestle in a chest protector. D'Lo was known for perfectly executing the running power-bomb, the "Low-Down" from the top rope and the leg-drop, but that's about it. Not to rip on poor D'Lo, but he was never a popular singles wrestler and he was best known for his role in the Nation of Domination stable. He wasn't terrible, but there was no chance that his title reign would spring-board him into the upper echelon of WWE talent. He won the belt off Jeff Jarrett and his tenure didn't last long at all, promptly dropping the title back to Jarrett a mere 26 days later.
14 The Godfather
The Godfather was best known for coming to the ring with a line of "ho's" parading behind him. Upon entering the ring, he'd grab the Microphone and say: "COME GET ON THE HOOOOOOO TRAIN." It was an entertaining gimmick, but it was an "Attitude Era" shtick that would never fly in today's PG brand of entertainment. The Godfather's actual name was Charles Wright, who also wrestled under the "Papa Shango" moniker. Papa Shango was voted as "Worst Gimmick" and "Most Embarrassing Wrestler" by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards in 1992. His gimmick changed, but unfortunately his wrestling ability did not.
13 Lance Storm
Wrestling purists will likely disagree with this addition because Storm actually wasn't a bad wrestler. He's wrestled for the major three companies (ECW, WCW and WWE) and racked up 13 titles in the process. The issue was that Storm lacked charisma. In his final days with the company, WWE simply accepted how dull he was and just incorporated it into his gimmick as he'd come to the ring and sarcastically say: "if I can be serious for a minute." Another aspect that made his title run meaningless was the fact that he won it off of Albert (Don't you worry, we'll get to him).
12 Billy Gunn
There are certain tag-team wrestlers that simply can't get over as singles wrestlers. Billy Gunn fits that bill perfectly because any tag-team that he's been a part of has been a huge success and anytime he's ventured off on his own, it's resulted in a huge flop. Billy and Bart Gunn (not actually brothers) paired up and were a tag-team called the Smokin' Gunns. Together, they captured the Tag-Team Championship on three occasions. Billy Gunn then switched his persona to Bad Ass Billy Gun, as he and The Road Dogg Jesse James formed The New Age Outlaws. They would go on to be one of the most popular tag-teams of all-time. The one constant is that Gunn never garnered any attention as a singles wrestler. Whether his name was Bad Ass, Mr. Ass, or The One Billy Gunn (oh gosh), it didn't make a difference. Making him IC Champion was a waste of time.
11 Road Dogg
Basically the same logic as mentioned above with Billy Gunn. Road Dogg was Billy Gunn's partner (and mouth piece) in the New Age Outlaws tag-team. While Billy Gunn at least had the prototypical "wrestler's look," Road Dogg came to the ring wearing a tank-top and track pants. One of his signature maneuver's, the Shake Rattle and Roll, ranks as one of the most ridiculous ever (granted, so do the leg-drop and People's Elbow). His title run lasted a grand total of 14 days...good grief.
10 Big E Langston
Sure, he did hold the belt for 167 days, but wrestling fans have completely eliminated this run from their memories. The point of an Intercontinental title reign is to use it as a showcase and move onto bigger and better things. After Big E's tenure with the belt, he slowly got the "phasing out" treatment as he lost the championship to Bad News Barrett and failed to win it back in a rematch. He then suffered a couple of losses to Rusev and kind of faded for a bit. He's now one third of the stable "New Day" along with Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods, which is working terrifically, but it's still quite the downgrade from Intercontinental Champion, when you consider what other wrestlers have gone on to accomplish.
9 Marc Mero
WWE paid him a king's random to make the switch from WCW and while he had a ton of charisma and was a fireball of energy in the ring, he just never connected with the crowd. If it weren't for Sable by his side, The Wildman would have been an afterthought and probably a jobber. He did have some talent but never enough to be part of the part of the WWE's elite. To quote Ric Flair: "He couldn't work, the only thing he had going for him was the fact that he looked like Little Richard with a better body." Ouch... It didn't help Mero's cause that three out of the next four Intercontinental champions were Triple H, The Rock, and Stone Cold Steve Austin. That's some pretty steep competition for the Marvelous one! Yes, he changed his nickname from Wildman to Marvelous, but it didn't make much of a difference.
8 Ezekiel Jackson
Noticing a theme yet? Mr. McMahon and the WWE brass love their jacked up wrestlers. Jackson was essentially a reincarnation of Ahmed Johnson. They even wore the same red trunks and had the same freaking finishing move (Torture Rack). We'll give Jackson a bit of credit as his wrestling ability was superior to that of Johnson's, but he was extremely injury prone and had terrible microphone skills. Unfortunately, in this day and age, professional wrestling is a brand of sports entertainment and a wrestler needs to be able to cut a solid promo, especially if he/she is carrying a belt. If they're just terrible with the mic, then they need to be aligned with a manager that serves as a mouth piece like Paul Heyman is masterfully doing for Brock Lesnar. Jackson had no ability and no manager, and thus was a terrible IC champ.
7 The Mountie
As a Quebecer, it pains me to say this, but making The Mountie the Intercontinental Champion was absolute nonsense. Jacques Rougeau was a well-established tag-team wrestler with his brother Raymond, but his "Mountie" gimmick was more for comic relief than anything else. There's a couple of factors here that make The Mountie's title run a joke. For one, it wasn't even televised as the title randomly changed hands at a house show. He also defeated Bret Hart, which would never "eeeeever" happen on a televised event. Secondly, his title run only lasted 48 hours as "Rowdy" Roddy Piper demolished him at the Royal Rumble. Makes you wonder, what was the point of this?
6 Santino Marella
The same thought process applies for Santino Marella in a sense that a joke is a joke until it's not funny anymore. Marella won the belt in his debut when he was introduced as a "fan" from the crowd. He was obviously getting whaled on until Bobby Lashley interfered and destroyed Umaga, allowing Marella to get the pin. The WWE were trying to amplify a feud between Umaga and Lashley, but they devalued their second most prestigious belt in the company by making Santino the champion. Then again, Vince McMahon held the WWE championship at one point and David Arquette held the WCW championship, so what do I know?
Test had an amazing look for a wrestler...but that is all. His "Love Her or Leave Her" match with Shane McMahon was incredible, but other than that, it's tough to pick out a classic Test match. He was a wrestler that truly struggled to get comfortable, constantly changing his finishing move in the process. His struggles also followed him on the microphone as it was painful to watch him try to cut a promo. Even in the back he was the butt-end of a lot of jokes because he was about as sharp as a bowling ball. In his Autobiography, Mick Foley stated that when Test would try to comeback and dish out some insults of his own, it was like watching someone try to sink a battleship with spitballs. Despite this lashing, Test did last with the company for seven years, so he had to have been doing something right. He sadly passed away in 2009 due to an accidental overdose.
Albert ranks towards the top of this list because he was given many chances to succeed and always flopped. Whether he was Prince Albert or just Albert, it was the same old story. WWE even recently tried to give him a makeover and called him Tensai, who was supposedly from Japan, to which the fans mockingly chanted "AAAAAAAAAALBERT." Ironically, his most successful stint was when he was put in a tag-team with Test. They went by the name T&A and were flanked by arguably the hottest diva of all time, Trish Stratus. It could have been a case of two wrongs making a right or maybe it didn't matter who was wrestling as long as Trish was ringside. Regardless, they had a decent run as a tag-team. However, his Intercontinental title reign was abysmal and he dropped the belt to Lance Storm 27 days later.
A lot of people took issue with the fact that WWE chose to put the Intercontinental Championship around the waist of a woman. It was a bit odd, but the more troublesome aspect was that they made a mockery of the belt in the way they gave it to her. Jeff Jarrett and Chyna took part in a "Good Housekeeping" match where the title was on the line. This match involved all kinds of stupid props, as brooms, frying pans and even an ironing board were at their disposal and completely legal. The match took place as Jarrett's contract was set to expire and the idea of the match was simply a ploy to humiliate him. The ridiculous manner in which Chyna won the belt set the tone for the rest of her mediocre title run. The idea of promoting women's wrestling was a good one, but the way they got there wasn't.
2 Ahmed Johnson
Another typical Vince McMahon project that went south very quickly. Johnson was massive and freakishly strong, but the issue was that he had no charisma and couldn't wrestle a lick. Not only could he NOT wrestle, but he was so stiff that he was actually inadvertently hurting the people that he was working with. Sometimes he was so reckless that he'd even end up injuring himself in the process. Ahmed Johnson beat Goldust at King of the Ring in 1996 and his reign lasted 50 days, before he disappeared for a bit due to health issues. When he came back, WWE finally took a hint and realized that Johnson was not the second coming of Hulk Hogan and promptly buried him as they'd use him mostly in gimmick matches that involved multiple participants.
1 Dean Douglas
Shane Douglas was actually a pretty talented wrestler and had a solid run in ECW. Unfortunately for Shane, his "board of education gimmick" was so awful that it gives "The Boogeyman" character a run for its money.
There's a famous (true) story that involved Shawn Michaels getting jumped outside a nightclub. If you ask him, he was jumped by 12 marines. Others claim that Michaels was so belligerent and intoxicated that he picked a fight with a few randoms and they laid the "smackdown" on him. Regardless, this incident put Michaels out of action for a bit as he had to recover from injuries. Douglas was handed the title due to Michaels' inability to defend it...and he lost it 10 minutes later to Razor Ramon. This whole debacle makes Douglas, without a shadow of a doubt, the worst Intercontinental Champion of all-time.