WWE History Of The Intercontinental Title
Written by: Tom Hopkins
This is the second “History of…” DVD set, following the World Title one that came out a few years back. I don’t know if this will be the last, as the only other title with a real lineage in the WWE is the tag title, though an NWA-title one would be nice, too.
The Main Characters
–The Intercontinental Title was first awarded in 1979, at a mystery tournament held in Brazil (which in wrestling, if you win a tourney held in another country we fans know it didn’t actually exist and was just given to someone) and has been competed for to this day. This belt was almost always seen as a stepping-stone for wrestlers not yet on the World Title level, and most of the winners would eventually elevate to main event status.
These matches all took place over a span of 31 years, the first being in 1979 and ending in 2008. It all features the belt being contented and the location is wherever the match took place.
The three-DVD set is really a collection of matches, with each disc representing a different decade. Disc One shows the 80’s, Disc Two the 90’s and Disc Three the 00’s. I will fill in the rest of the IC lineage they don’t show matches of using information from the WWE website.
—Disc One—(2:50:03) We begin with a montage of all great past IC champs, then Todd Grisham pops on as host, and tells us about Pat Patterson being the first champ.
–Pat Patterson(c) vs. Ted DiBiase for the Intercontinental Title–
This is the main event from an MSG show held on 10/22/79. Vince McMahon calls the action and this match features a very young DiBiase, sans beard. Patterson does a primo stall job as McMahon talks to some guy about album covers, no joke. Eventually DiBiase has enough and just goes right after Patterson. He stomps a mud hole in him but elects not to stomp it dry. DiBiase works the shoulder of Patterson early, and bodyslams him for two. Kneedrop gets two as well. DiBiase works in the abdominal stretch, which Patterson breaks with a rake to the eyes. Patterson slugs away at DiBiase in the corner but DiBiase counters with an eyerake of his own. DiBiase hits a dropkick but misses a second one. Patterson takes out a pair of brass knuckles but DiBiase knocks him down before he can use them. DiBiase picks up the knucks and charges but Patterson takes down DiBiase and covers, using the ropes of course, to retain the title at 7:54. This was actually a good match for 1979. **.
Patterson would lose the belt to Ken Patera, dropping it to him on April 21st, 1980, in NYC (I guess this means it was lost at MSG). He would hold it for 8 months.
–Ken Patera(c) vs. Pedro Morales for the Intercontinental Title–
This is from MSG, 10/20/80. Patera is heel, as evidenced by the fact he has Grand Wizard in his corner and calls Morales a fat Latino. The two go at it right away, and the MSG crowd is absolutely amped up. Morales takes it to Patera right away, though we don’t get much more than punches or kicks. Patera comes back with the same moveset, then tosses the Fiery Latino over the top rope onto the outside (and the unpadded concrete). Patera follows and bodyslams Morales. Morales makes his way back to the ring where Patera locks in a front-face lock. Fast-forward two minutes and we see Morales break the hold with a near-fall and both men are out. Morales makes it to his feet first and slugs away at the champ. Patera comes back with some kneelifts and a suplex for two. Patera goes to the second rest-hold of the match, a bearhug. Morales breaks out, they brawl, they both push the referee away, then eventually toss him to the outside and the ref has had enough of it, calling for a double-DQ at 15:56. This was just really slow and boring. ½*.
Pedro would eventually defeat Patera for the IC title on 12/08/80, a very bad night for all Beatles fans. I guess there wasn’t any footage of that match, since we get the Double-DQ instead of the actual title change. Morales would then feud with Don Muraco for over two years for the title, with Muraco winning it on June 20th, 1980 in Philly and Morales winning it back on 11/23/81 at MSG.
–Pedro Morales(c) vs. Don Muraco for the Intercontinental Title–
This is from MSG, 12/28/82. There’s a feeling out process to start, with lock-ups first getting clean breaks, then shoves, then finally a cheap shot by Muraco. Muraco goes to work on the champ, hitting a splash off the second rope in the corner and slingshots him into the bottom rope. Muraco suplexes Morales for two then tosses him over the top rope to the outside. Muraco follows and slams Morales into the steel rail. Muraco waits for Morales to get to the ring apron where he suplexes him in for two. Muraco follows with a dropkick that sends Morales hurtling to the outside. Muraco waits for Morales to come back in but this time Morales counters the suplex from the apron and fires away at Muraco. Muraco is knocked to the outside where Morales follows and exacts some revenge on the outside. Once they both get in, Morales back body drops Muraco then inadvertently knocks down the referee. Muraco must’ve been inspired by that since he kicks the referee down and gets disqualified at 14:25. Three matches into the DVD and we’ve seen two cheap endings. Sign of the times, I guess. It was more entertaining than the previous match at least. *. Fink gives the official word that it was a double-DQ.
Muraco would eventually win the title back, defeating Morales at MSG on January 22nd, 1983. During his second run as champ Muraco would have a legendary feud with one Superfly Jimmy Snuka.
–Don Muraco(c) vs. Superfly Jimmy Snuka for the Intercontinental Title in a Steel Cage Match–
Muraco gives McMahon a pre-match interview about the match. The two men circle to start and they exchange blows early, which Snuka gets the best of. They lock up and Snuka gets backed into the ropes. He turns Muraco around to the ropes and punches him in the head. He chops away and Muraco calls for the door to be open. Snuka catches him and sends him headfirst into the turnbuckle. Muraco comes back with a knee to the groin and slingshots him into the cage, and Snuka is busted open already. Muraco grinds Snuka’s face into the cage and sends him into the corner. Muraco charges but Snuka puts up the feet to block. Snuka tries to climb over but Muraco catches him and slams him face first into the cage. Snuka is on straddling the cage now and knocks Muraco over. He climbs down back into the ring but gets caught by Muraco and slammed off the top rope. Muraco tries to go out through the door but Snuka grabs him from behind and Muraco lowblows him. He tries to send Snuka to the corner, but its reversed and Muraco flips up and down onto the mat. He gets thrown into the cage and is busted wide open now. Snuka slams Muraco and hits a fistdrop off the second rope. Snuka punishes Muraco in the ring and headbutts. He goes off the ropes and hits another big head butt that is so powerful it sends Muraco through the ropes, through the cage door to retain the title at: 6:29. Snuka is so pissed he gets Muraco back in the cage, suplexes him then hits the superfly splash from the top of the cage to a massive pop. Match was really short by cage standards, but that spot is still impressive. **1/2.
Snuka never won the title from Muraco, but Tito Santana did, winning at the Boston Gardens on February 11th, 1984. Santana went about feuding with Greg Valentine, who would take the title from Santana on September 24th, 1984 in London Ontario, Canada. The two would battle two weeks before Wrestlemania at MSG in a Lumberjack Match.
–Greg Valentine(c) vs. Tito Santana for the Intercontinental Title in a Lumberjack Match–
Odd that they’d have this two weeks before Wrestlemania in the same arena. This is a Lumberjack Match and the duo of Monsoon/Okerlund call the action. A lumberjack match ensures that a competitor can’t flee and retain his title via count-out, since wrestlers surround the ring to throw the combatants back in. Valentine, the champ at the time, Pearl Harbors Santana. Santana sends Valentine out, but the heels don’t throw him in right away. Santana with an atomic drop and again the heels don’t send him in, so the faces have to. Tito with some punches, then a skull cracker. Valentine tries to bail again, but the faces throw him in. Tito with an axehandle off the second rope and a cover gets two. Valentine tries to bail again, but he’s thrown back in. Santana sends Valentine to the corner, but a blind charge hits a boot, and Valentine covers for two. He drops a knee to the ribs for two, then drops a forearm for two. Valentine starts working the leg and throws him to the outside to the heels, who send him back, then to the face side who delay in sending him in. Back in, Valentine drops a forearm from the second rope, then an elbow for two. Tito gets back into the match by dropping Valentine on the top turnbuckle in an awkward looking spot and slugging how down. Tito suplex get two. He tries for the figure four but Valentine bails. He’s sent back in, and Tito hits a forearm. He puts on the figure four, but the heels at ringside pull Valentine to the ropes as the ref is distracted. Santana goes after Studd (at ringside) and Valentine hits him from behind. Slugfest ensues, they both get knocked out when their heads hit off the rope, and Valentine falls on top of Santana for the pinfall and the victory. I didn’t have the stop watch on but it was probably somewhere around 15:00. Weird ending, but an overall enjoyable match. ***.
Tito would win the title back on July 6th, 1985 in a steel cage match from Baltimore, Maryland. He would hold the title for the rest of the year until he challenged a new and exciting WWE wrestler named Macho Man Randy Savage.
–Tito Santana(c) vs. Macho Man Randy Savage for the Intercontinental Title–
This is from a February 8th, 1986 show held in Boston. I’m surprised this is on here, considering the real-life heat between Macho and McMahon. Gorilla and Ventura are calling the action and the more I hear this duo, the more I think they could be considered the best pair of on-screen announcers, save for maybe Heenan/Monsoon. The two men jockey for position to start, until Macho thumbs Tito in the eye causing Tito to chase Macho to the outside, where he jaws with a fan. This allows Tito to attack him from behind. Savage quickly comes back, rolls Tito and the ring and tries for an axehandle off the top. Santana catches him and slams him down. He tries for the flying forearm but Savage quickly bails, draws Tito outside then blindsides him when Tito gets back into the ring. Tito comes right back with an atomic drop. He covers but Savage’s feet are in the ropes. Savage takes control again with a thumb to the eyes. Savage drills Tito with an axehandle off the top but that only gets a two. Savage tosses Tito to the outside then connects with an axehandle off the top rope. He was high-flying at that time, folks. Tito blocks an attempt to be sent to the turnbuckle and he hits a double axe-handle of his own. He covers but again Macho’s feet are in the ropes. Tito sends Macho to the corner but a blind charge hits Macho’s knees. Macho covers for two but the kick out by Santana tosses Savage onto the referee. Tito small packages Macho but the ref is not there to count. Macho tries for a splash but Tito evades and Macho hurts his knee. Tito works that knee over and puts on the figure four. Savage makes the ropes and heads to the apron allowing Tito to suplex him in. Tito goes for the figure four again but Savage kicks him off and makes the ropes. Savage pulls something out of his tights as he stands on the apron but misses Santana. Santana tries to back suplex Savage in but as Savage is in the air he punches Santana with the illegal object, allowing him to cover for the pin and the title at 10:32. This was a really exciting match, and I don’t know if Savage had a bad match in the 86 or 87. ***1/2.
Macho would hold the title for the rest of 1986, and leading up to the biggest event of all time, Wrestlemania III. Savage had crushed the larynx of Ricky Steamboat to set up this match.
–Macho Man(c) vs. Ricky Steamboat for the Intercontinental Title–
Lock-up to start, broken by Steamboat, and Savage bails to Elizabeth, who leads her away from Steele. Savage comes back in where he’s armdragged down, then choked by Steamboat. Savage bails, draws Steamboat to the outside, then draws him back to the ring where he takes control, choking Steamboat on the ropes and covering for two. Blind charge by Savage misses, and Steamboat goes after the arm of Savage, dropping it on the top rope. Savage comes back with an elbow to the face, then tosses Steamboat to the corner, where Steamboat flops over the top to the outside. Savage pulls Steamboat to the apron, then elbows Steamboat in his injured throat. Savage brings him in and elbows him down for two, then drops a knee to the chest for two. Savage tries to send Steamboat’s head into the turnbuckle but Steamboat blocks and its Savage who eats turnbuckle. Steamboat ties Savage to the ropes and pounds him away. Steamboat backs off and gets kicked in the gut for it. Steamboat with a crossbody gets two, then a good shoulderblock/two-count sequence for Steamboat, which Savage follows with a knee to the back of Steamboat. Savage tries to toss Steamboat to the outside but he skins the cat and comes back in, only to get clotheslined back to the outside. Savage follows to the outside then knees Steamboat over the barricade. Steele brings Steamboat back inside, where Savage immediately tosses him again. Savage goes to the top then hits an axehandle onto the back of Steamboat. Savage brings Steamboat back in and hits another axe-handle from the top, then drops an elbow for two. Savage clotheslines Steamboat’s throat over the top rope as he hops to the outside and gets a two-count for it. Savage with a suplex gets two.
Steamboat makes a comeback but Savage comes back with an eye rake. Gut wrench suplex gets two. Steamboat flips over Savage and chops away, but gets kicked in the face trying for a back drop. Savage charges and Steamboat back drops Savage over the top rope onto the outside. Steamboat sends Savage back in then heads to the top rope where he hits a chop off the top. Steamboat covers but Savage’s foot makes the rope. Steamboat with a chop off the ropes gets two. Savage bails to the apron, where he’s punched to the outside. Steamboat follows but Savage beats him back in. Steamboat with a sunset flip from the apron for two, then a school boy for two, then another roll-up for two. Small package for Steamboat gets two. Steamboat slams Savage then slingshots Savage into the turnbuckle and rolls him up for two. Steamboat with a roll-up but Savage reverses and pulls the tights, but only gets a two. Savage sends Steamboat’s shoulder through the ropes into the steel post. Savage and Steamboat try for Irish whips but they keep getting reversed, and the ref ends up getting bumped. Savage clotheslines the Dragon down, then hits the flying elbow drop, but the ref is down. Macho goes to the outside and grabs the ringbell. Steele comes in and takes the belt, but takes a boot in the face for his troubles. Savage gets the bell back and heads to the top, but Steele pushes him off. Savage picks up Steamboat and bodyslams him, but Steamboat small packages him for the pin and the Intercontinental title at 14:36. This was just an awesome match, with Savage and Steamboat working just an amazing match, which still may be the best one ever seen at a Wrestlemania. *****.
Steamboat wouldn’t hold the title for long, thanks to a request he made to Vince about spending time with his newborn child. Vince said sure, but at the expense of the IC title and possibly his WWE career.
–Ricky Steamboat(c) vs. Honky Tonky Man for the Intercontinental Title–
This is from the old WWE show, SuperStars, that aired on 06/02/87. Honky goes right at Steamboat, tossing him to the outside. Ricky skins the cat, kicks away Jimmy Hart (at ringside with Honky) and tosses Honky to the outside. Honky comes back in the hard way, via a belly to back suplex, and Honky is in trouble. Steamboat tries a victory roll but Honky kicks out, sending Steamboat right into the corner. Honky takes control now, slamming Steamboat down, but he can’t capitalize after he misses a second-rope elbow drop. Honky tries for a quick Shake, Rattle and Roll but Steamboat frees himself and chops away at Honky. Steamboat goes to the top rope and hits a karate chop but Hart has the referee distracted. Steamboat goes after Hart, allowing Honky to get a cheap pin, using the ropes, and pick up the Intercontinental Title at 3:54. This was definitely writing Steamboat out of the series so to speak, and set up the longest IC title reign in history. Not a great match since it had no time to develop. *.
Honky was the shocking new champion, but even more shockingly, he would become the longest reigning IC title holder, holding the title for 425 days. He was a cowardly champ, always running and getting counted out to retain his title. All anyone wanted was someone to challenge Honky Tonk.
Honky Tonk Man comes out and berates the fans and proclaims himself the greatest Intercontinental Champion ever. He says he doesn’t care who his opponent is, he’s gonna win. Of course, he will defend his title and when his combatant comes out the crowd nearly loses their shit.
–Honky Tonk Man(c) vs. Ultimate Warrior for the Intercontinental Title–
After 18 months of dealing with Honky as an IC champ, 18 months of him ducking opponents and barely retaining his title, Warrior comes in and mops up the floor with Honky. Bodyslam, shoulderblock, clothesline, and one splash later it’s over. 34 seconds into the match and Ultimate Warrior has ended the reign of Honky, becoming the new IC champ. Not a great match (it was too short) but it ranks very high on the importance factor in history. ½* for the match, ***** for its impact.
Warrior would lose the title to Ravishing Rick Rude at Wrestlemania V, thanks to outside interference from Bobby Heenan. A rematch was necessary, of course.
–Ravishing Rick Rude(c) vs. Ultimate Warrior for the Intercontinental Title–
This is from the second Summerslam, held on 08/28/89. The champ is introduced first, which isn’t right. It’s always challenger first then champ. Warrior controls early, press-slamming Rude to the outside. Warrior follows and hits Rude with the belt as Ventura goes crazy that he wasn’t DQ’ed. Man, Ventura is even better than I remember. His tirade is just hilarious. He suplexes Rude as Ventura’s commentary gets even better. Warrior actually heads to the top rope once we’re back in the ring, and hits a double axe-handle for two. Warrior suplexes Rude and again Rude kicks out at two. Warrior gets an atomic drop then drops Rude on his ass and goes upstairs again. This time it doesn’t work as Rude crotches the challenger. Rude starts elbowing the back of Warrior. A suplex gets two for Rude. Rude wisely keeps working the back of Warrior, even getting a near-fall. Rude goes for the Rude Awakening but Warrior powers out of it. Warrior goes for a clothesline but Rude ducks it and locks on a sleeper. Warrior breaks with a jawbreaker then he collides into Rude, who collides into the referee, knocking all three men down. Heenan goes to Rude at ringside to revive him and Rude is up first. Rude goes over to Warrior and chops him, but Warrior starts his no-selling. Warrior with a big back body drop and its time for clotheslines ‘r us. Powerslam for Warrior but there’s no ref to count! Warrior revives the ref then goes back to Rude and piledrives him. He covers and the ref slowly crawls over to count. One, two, and Rude’s foot is on the rope. Warrior hits the running powerslam now but a splash hits the knees of Rude. Rude hits a weird looking powerslam for two then heads upstairs. He hits a fist-drop but that only gets a two as well. Rowdy Roddy Piper starts making his way to ringside as Rude piledrives Warrior for two. Rude now sees Piper and his attention is drawn to him. Rude poses in front of Piper, so Piper moons Rude. This allows Warrior to get up and hit a German suplex off the second rope. Shoulderblock leads to the gorilla-press slam and splash. That’s enough to finish things at 16:01 and give Warrior the IC title back. This match was a lot better than their Wrestlemania match, and it seems Rude always got the best matches out of Warrior. ***1/2.
When we left Disc One, Warrior was the IC champ. Grisham shows one of the Warrior’s yellow-strapped belts, which is actually kind of funny. Since the next match on here is from 1991, we have a few years to catch up on what happened with the title. Warrior would vacate the title at Wrestlemania VI, after winning the WWE title from Hogan. Mr. Perfect would win a tournament (defeating Tito Santana in the finals) to claim the title on 04/23/90 in Texas. Speaking of Texas, the Texas Tornado would beat Perfect for the title on 08/27/90 at Summerslam (something they glossed over completely). Perfect would win it back on 11/19/90, beating the Tornado on SuperStars. Perfect would hold the title for 280 days before meeting Bret Hart at Summerslam.
–Mr. Perfect(c) vs. Bret Hart for the Intercontinental Title–
This took place at Summerslam 1991 (08/26/91) at MSG with Heenan, Monsoon and Piper making the call. Perfect as Coach with him, a manager I forgot he had. Shoulderblock knocks down Perfect, and Bret follows with a hiptoss, causing Perfect to bail. Bret with a crucifix pin gets two. Perfect charges into a side headlock, and both guys do some hair-pulling. Bret would later pull out the hair of Shawn Michaels in a backstage brawl. Hart with a crossbody gets two, then a sunset flip for two, and right back to the side headlock. Bret trips down Perfect and teases the Sharpshooter, but just stomps Perfect instead. Bret is sent hard to the corner and bodyslammed, but Bret comes right back with a slam of his own. Perfect is clotheselined to the outside, and Perfect has had enough and starts bailing. Bret literally pulls him back in the by the tights. Perfect cheapshots Bret while the ref is breaking them up in the corner and sends Bret outside then hits a wicked chop. Bret makes the apron but Perfect hits a running knee, catapulting Bret into the barricade on the outside. Bret comes back in and gets a quick reverse sunset flip for two, but Perfect’s up quick and smacks Bret down. Perfect sends Bret hard into the turnbuckle and Perfect covers for two. Perfect with a necksnap, then a roll-up for two. Perfect dropkicks Bret to the outside as Perfect gloats in the ring. Perfect heads outside, leading to a slugfest. Perfect goes to the top rope, but Bret catches him. Perfect knocks Bret off, and both men fall down with Perfect getting an awkward pin. It looked like a blown spot.
Perfect smacks Hart, and then hair tosses him. Perfect with a sleeper, but Bret elbows out. Hart tries for a crucifix but Henning falls back for a Samoan drop and gets a two-count out of it. More chops in the corner received by Hart, and Hart’s sent hard to the corner again for two. Perfect with a Perfect-plex and Bret kicks out! Bret with an atomic drop, then another one, then slides Perfect into the ringpost. Hart with a suplex gets two. Small package gets two, neckbreaker gets two, backbreaker leads to an elbow from the second rope for two, and now Bret gets in the ref’s face. This allows Perfect to roll up Bret, who kicks out and sends Perfect outside. Perfect is sent into the ringpost. They go back in and Bret goes for the Sharpshooter. Coach interferes and Bret knocks him off the apron. Bret goes between the ropes, causing Perfect to recover and kick the ropes, which hits the groin of Bret. Perfect goes for a figure-four, but Bret turns it around into a Sharpshooter and Hebner rings the bell way too early, giving Bret his first singles title at 18:04. Bret rips the tights off Perfect then celebrates in the ring. It was a very good match, but a couple of weird spots and a bad finish lowers this a bit. ****.
Bret would drop the title to a very unlikely challenger in the Mountie on January 17th, 1992. Mountie would quickly lose the title to Roddy Piper (making it Roddy’s only WWE belt) 2 days later at Royal Rumble. Piper would then lose to Bret Hart at Wrestlemania VIII, making Bret a two-time champ. Bret would be successful in all defenses until meeting his brother in law, the British Bulldog, in England at Summerslam 1992 (08/29). The WWE doesn’t mention any of those title switches, going right from Bret to Bulldog.
–Bret Hart(c) vs. British Bulldog for the Intercontinental Title–
Bulldog is being led to the ring by Lennox Lewis. Diana Smith (Bret’s sister and Bulldog’s wife) is at ringside watching this, as well as what looks like 1,000,000 people. Bret calmly shoves Bulldog, who shoves back. Bret is quickly dumped to the outside and seems a little irked. Back in and Bret with a takedown, with Bulldog getting a headscissor kickout. Again, but Bulldog misses the headscissor. Bret with an early victory roll gets two, then a small package for two, then a side headlock takedown. Bulldog reverses to a wristlock, only to get elbowed and Bret starts working the arm. Davey reverses into an armbar of his own. Bret escapes but Bulldog comes back with a crucifix pin for two. Bulldog goes back to the arm. Bret escapes and drives his knee into Davey Boy, then stomps him in the gut. Bret with a rear chinlock, which Bulldog escapes, but Bret shoulderblocks him down. Atomic drop (called a reverse piledriver by Vince) for Bret, and Bulldog tries again for the crucifix, but this time Bret is on to him and Samoan drops him, a spot repeated from the Perfect/Hart match. Bulldog comes back and monkey flips Hart down and Bulldog takes control of the match, sending Bret hard to the corners. Bulldog charges but hits Bret’s boot. Bret with a running bulldog, then he heads upstairs, only to be caught by Davey Boy. He goes upstairs but misses what seemed like a diving headbutt. Bulldog gets tossed outside and Bulldog wanders around a bit, until Bret with a slingshot plancha onto Bulldog. Bulldog was supposed to catch him but didn’t so Bret had to grab his neck and sort of bulldog him to the ground.
Bret drives Bulldog’s back into the ringpost and rolls him back into the ring. Bret starts working the back, and a neckbreaker gets two. Dropkick for Bret, followed by a back body drop for two. Suplex for Bret gets two. Bulldog with a backslide out of nowhere for two. Bret with an elbow off the second rope gets two. Bret slugs Bulldog down, then works in a reverse chinlock. He releases and puts on a sleeper instead. Bulldog makes the ropes so Bret stomps Davey (hard) in the face, then puts on another sleeper. Bulldog backs Bret into the corner to break the hold, but Bret goes right back to it. Again Davey drives him to the corner (but dives too early) and slugfest ensues. Bulldog tries to body press Bret, but messes up and Bret is crotched between the middle ropes. Davey press slams him this time and covers. Bulldog suplexes Hart, also for two. Bret does his run-chest-first into the turnbuckle spot leading to a Bulldog pin for two. Bulldog hits the powerslam but Bret kicks out at two. Bret makes the apron, Bulldog tries to suplex him in, but Bret goes up and over and German suplexes Bret for two. Bulldog with a superplex gets two, and double clothesline knocks both guys out. Bret, on the mat, hooks in the Sharpshooter, and turns Bulldog over for the move proper. Bulldog makes the ropes. Bret is sent to the ropes and sunset flips Bulldog, but Bulldog hooks the legs, sits on Bret and covers for the pin and the win at 24:20. Bulldog gets the IC title, Bret teases leaving a few times, but they share the manly brotherly hug to the delight of the crowd. Definitely a great match, but two really obvious blown spots lowers this half a star. ****1/2.
We skip ahead a few more years, and miss a few more title changes. Bulldog would lose to Shawn Michaels on October 27th, 1992 at one of the last Saturday Night’s Main Events. Shawn would lose to his former tag partner Marty Jannetty on the 5/17/93 episode of Monday Night Raw, a moment I fondly remember watching live. Michaels would regain the title on June 6th, 1993 at a house show. Michaels would keep the title until vacating it on September 27th, 1993, thanks to an injuring that caused him not to defend the title for 30 days. A battle royale was held that day and Razor Ramon won that (and pinned runner-up, Rick Martel) to secure the title. Shawn Michaels returned later on the in the year with an IC belt and claimed to be the true IC champ. This led to their monumental title match at Wrestlemania to determine whom the real champ was. Of course, this was all glossed over, too.
–Razor Ramon(c) vs. Shawn Michaels for the Intercontinental Title in a Ladder Match–
This was at one of my personal favorite PPV’s ever, Wrestlemania X, held at MSG on 03/20/94. Shawn has Diesel with him. Razor blocks a hiptoss to start and chokeslams Michaels. Shawn responds with a swinging neckbreaker. Shawn sends Razor to the outside, where Diesel is lurking. Diesel clotheslines Ramon down (there are no DQ’s here) but Earl Hebner is suspicious and tosses Diesel out of the match. Razor makes his way back to the ring and tosses Michaels outside. He follows and lifts up the mat outside the ring but before he can use it, Michael eye rakes him and they return to the ring. Razor tries for the Razor’s Edge but Michaels backdrops him out, onto the exposed concrete, and heads to the aisle to get the ladder stationed there. Razor takes control of the ladder while still at ringside and brings it the apron, where Shawn, slid into the ring by Razor, baseball slides the ladder into the gut of Razor. Shawn continues to drive the ladder into the gut and back of Razor, before tossing the damned thing onto his back. Shawn props up the ladder and starts the climb to the top but Razor pulls his tights, exposing the rear of the Heartbreak Kid. HBK kicks Razor down and elbow drops him from the top of the ladder. HBK follows that with a splash from the top of the ladder onto Ramon.
HBK tries for the belt again but Razor shakes the ladder and Shawn hurtles off the top to the mat. They two men collide and both are KO’ed. Shawn is up first and props the ladder up against the corner, but an Irish whip is reversed and Shawn smashes into the ladder and falls to the outside. Razor brings the ladder out with him and charges it into Shawn’s back a few times. Razor makes his way back to the ring and tries for the belts but Michaels is able to dive at the ladder, knocking Razor off of it and having the ladder fall on his back. Both men get up at the same time and both head up opposite sides of the ladder for the belt. The two hammer at each other from the top of the ladder and Razor actually bodyslams Michaels off the ladder. Razor falls over as a result as well but he’s up quickly and makes his way to the top.
Michaels dropkicks the ladder, causing Ramon to fall. Michaels mimics Razor and piledrives him down. Michaels folds up the ladder and heads to the top rope, where he falls onto the ladder which falls onto Ramon, in a sort of ladder splash. Michaels sets the ladder up over Ramon and climbs to the top. Razor starts shaking the ladder and eventually shoulberblocks it, causing Michaels to crotch himself on the ropes and get his leg wrapped up in between the top two ropes. Ramon climbs to the top as Michaels tries to free himself, but it’s too late. By the time Michaels frees himself, Ramon has reached the top and grabbed the belts, ending the match at 18:51. This is still an awesome ladder match, even 14 years later. It has some great spots, which were incredibly innovative for the time, and had an actual match that worked with the spots, instead of building around spots. *****.
Razor would defend his title until losing it to Diesel on April 13th, 1994 on a taping of SuperStars. Big Daddy Cool would lose it back to Razor on August 29th, 1994 at Summerslam. Razor would go on to defend it against Jeff Jarrett at the 1995 Royal Rumble.
–Razor Ramon(c) vs. Jeff Jarrett for the Intercontinental Title–
JJ is accompanied by the Roadie, who would later become Road Dogg Jesse Jammes. Razor wins a slugfest, hits a fallaway slam, then chokeslams JJ, who bails to the outside. JJ comes back with an armdrag and saunters around. JJ reverses a wristlock, takes him down and then smacks him in the back of the head. JJ doesn’t stay on top for long, knocking JJ down and clotheslining him out of the ring. JJ comes back and Razor works the arm, then smack JJ around like JJ did to him earlier. JJ comes back with a series of dropkicks, then blows a spot where he sits on Razor on the ropes, and what looks like a blown cross body press. He sends Ramon to the posts but misses an enzuigiri. Razor misses and elbow drop and JJ covers for two, then goes to a reverse chinlock. Razor gets out of it and gets a backslide for two. JJ is back up and clotheslines Razor down for two. JJ tries for a sunset flip but Razor sits on him tow, reversed by JJ for two. Dropkick for JJ gets two. JJ with a sleeper, then JJ with a weird looking swinging neckbreaker gets two. JJ covers (with his feet on the ropes) for a series of two counts, before the ref realizes his feet are on the ropes. Razor comes back and crotches Jarrett on the ringpost then hits an axe-handle from the second rope for two. Razor charges but JJ side steps him and sends him outside, where Razor sells a hurt knee. JJ distracts the ref and Roadie takes out Razor’s knee. The ref starts the count and Razor is counted out at 11:24. Of course, the title doesn’t change hands due to a count-out, so Razor is still champ. Too many blown spots and the cheap ending didn’t help. **. JJ calls Razor a coward and demands he come back to restart the match, and he does.
-Jeff Jarrett vs. Razor Ramon(c) for the Intercontinental Title-
So Razor, with his bad knee, comes back in and they start a second match. Razor goes for a quick school boy for two until JJ goes right after the knee of Razor. Razor with a small package gets two but it doesn’t stop the onslaught of JJ on Razor’s knee. Razor sends JJ outside using leverage but JJ comes right back in and slaps the figure four on Razor. Razor tries to reverse it many times, and finally breaks the hold by sitting up and punching JJ. Razor knocks down JJ with rights, then props JJ on the top rope. Razor goes to the second and goes for a belly to back suplex, which JJ reverses to a splash which is then rolled through by Razor for two. Razor goes for the Razor’s Edge, but the knee gives out and Jarrett rolls him up for a small package for the pin and the title at 6:20. This was actually better than the first match, with no stalling, and good action. **1/2.
JJ would hold onto the title until it was held up on an April 26th, 1995 house show against Bob Holly. So JJ won the rematch and got title reign #2. JJ would drop the title to Razor on May 19th in a house show in Canada but JJ would win it back 3 days later at another house show in Canada. Shawn Michaels would notch his third title reign by beating JJ on July 23rd at In Your House 2. Shawn would forfeit the title to Dean Douglas on October 22nd, at IYH 4, after Shawn was jumped in Syracuse. Dean would immediately be pinned that same day by Razor Ramon.
Razor would bring it into 1996 where he lost to the odd Goldust on January 21st at Royal Rumble. The title would be held up a second time on March 25th, at a Raw taping when Goldust battled Savio Vega, which lead to Goldust winning it back on April 1st at another Raw taping. Goldust would then drop it to Ahmed Johnson on June 23rd at King of the Ring. Ahmed had to vacate the title two months later, on August 12th thanks to injury. A tournament would be held over a month later which culminated in Marc Mero beating Faarooq on September 23rd for the belt. Triple H (then known as Hunter Hearst Helmsly) would end Mero’s only reign on October 21st on Raw and he would hold the title into 1997.
HHH dropped the belt to Rocky Maivia on February 13th, the semi-famous Thursday Night Raw. Rocky would hold the belt until dropping it to Owen Hart on April 28th on Raw. Owen would then lose to Steve Austin at Summerslam (08/03) where Steve suffered a major neck injury. That neck injury would force Austin to vacate the title on September 8th and Owen Hart would pick up his second IC title on October 5th after beating (who else?) Faarooq at Badd Blood. Austin would again defeat Hart for the title when he pinned him on November 9th, at the very controversial Survivor Series. Not a good night for that Harts that night, eh? A month later, Austin would be challenged by the Rock for the title at the D-Generation X Pay-Per-View, held on December 7th.
–Steve Austin (c) vs. Rocky Maivia for the Intercontinental Title–
Grisham notes that this won the online voting, and it’s amazing how both guys would be main eventing Wrestlemania less than 16 months later. Rocky is getting huge heel heat now, and he has the Nation with him. Rocky has the title on him, but he’s not the champ. Austin drives down in his pick-up and immediately jumps Rocky, only to have the Nation jump him. D’Lo gets the worst of things as he’s back-dropped onto the truck and stunned. Austin re-enters the ring and the match has officially started. There’s a huge brawl to start, and Austin has to fend off the Nation at ringside. He basically tosses them all into his jeep but Rocky’s in control here after the punishment Austin has taken. Rock slams Austin and drops an elbow for two. Austin still hasn’t taken his vest off yet, as Rock puts on a reverse chinlock. Rock misses the People’s Elbow, before it was called as such, allowing Austin to stomp a mudhole in Rock. Austin tries for the Stunner but gets distracted by Kama and stuns the referee by mistake when he turns around. Rock puts on some brass knuckles, takes a swing and misses, and Austin stuns Rock. Unfortunately, the ref is down. Fortunately, another ref runs in to count the pin and the win at 5:32. That was a really short match and Austin seemed to be moving in slow-motion throughout. This was probably on here more as a historical curiosity and due to the names rather than the match quality. *1/2. JR states that Rocky will never be the IC champ after that devastating defeat.
So after Austin defeated Rocky he knew he was headed for bigger and better things. That’s why the next night on Raw, Austin handed the title to a newly christened The Rock. Rock would hold the title for 230 days when he met Triple at Fully Loaded. HHH and Rock actually had a great feud as IC title contenders. Again, after their match at Fully Loaded, a year later they were contending for the WWE title.
–Rocky Maivia(c) vs. Triple H for the Intercontinental Title in a 2/3 Falls Match–
Rock has Nation with him while HHH has DX. Slaughter comes down to ringside and makes all the wrestlers leave ringside, except Chyna, who is the only one with a manager’s license. Rocky starts quickly with a clothesline for one. HHH is whipped into the corner but kicks a charging Rocky to take over, and allow Chyna to get in some cheapshots. They brawl on the outside, and HHH is sent hard into the steps. Rock brings HHH back into the ring and chokes him in the corner. HHH comes back with a suplex and a knee-drop for two. HHH and Rock pound it out in the corner, exchanging chops leading to Rock whipping HHH to the corner and to the outside. Rock suplexes HHH on the outside and heads back in. The ref gets distracted, allowing for Mark Henry to make his way to ringside and get a big splash on HHH. Billy Gunn comes out and both men are escorted to the back. Rock rolls HHH back into the ring, Chyna distracts the ref, and Rock nails HHH with the IC belt. He covers but only gets a two. I thought that was gonna be the first fall, there.
Rock continues getting a series of near-falls and when that doesn’t work he tries to wear down HHH with a reverse chinlock. HHH fights out but Rock responds with a clothesline gets two. The match is 15-minutes old and I should point out that this was announced as a 30-minute time limit match. They brawl outside for a few moments until Rocky hits a DDT in the ring for two. Another reverse chinlock, and again HHH is able to fight out. HHH gets his high-knee, only to get hotshotted into the ropes. Both men are down and Godfather makes his way to ringside, only to be chased off by the New Age Outlaws. Rock distracts the ref, allowing D’Lo Brown to come out with his European title. HHH knocks him off the top rope and disposes of him, but walks right into a Rock Bottom, which earns Rocky the first fall at 20:17.
There’s a one-minute rest period now and once that’s done, the second fall begins. Rock brings HHH outside and tosses him around, and whips him into the steel barricade. HHH rebounds off of it with a running clothesline. HHH can’t take advantage of that as Rock comes right back with a slingshot onto the Spanish Announce Table. We head back in and Rock hits the People’s Elbow. HHH manages to kick out of that and a double clothesline spot knocks both men out. Chyna and D’Lo start brawling at ringside as both men revive in the ring. While distracted, X-Pac hits the X-Factor on Rock and HHH covers but Rock kicks out. HHH brings a chair into the ring while the ref is distracted but Rock ends up using it and whacks the back of the referee by mistake. This allows Chyna to come in with a low-blow and a DDT onto the chair. HHH covers as the ref revives and picks up the second fall at 25:18.
We’re tied at two falls apiece, and after the minute-rest, HHH covers Rock. Of course, the ref who got hit in the back had left to the back and when a new ref finally comes down, Rock kicks out at two. They announce two minutes remaining, though it looks more like 4 minutes by my count. The duo brawl on the outside until returning back in. HHH uses the knee but can’t capitalize. Rock hits the Samoan drop for two. Rock battles HHH in the corner but HHH fights his way back out. Slugfest ensues, won by Rock. Rock tries for the Rock Bottom but HHH breaks free and hits the Pedigree. The referee doesn’t count since the time-limit has drawn to a close and that’s our match at 27:45. Either it was a slow clock, or they counted the three-minute rest periods and let the match run a little long. The first fall was actually quite boring, but was redeemed partly by the last two falls. ***.
Rock would retain at Fully Loaded, but HHH would get revenge a month later at Summerslam, held at MSG on 08/30/98 in a ladder match. HHH ended up really hurting his knee that night and thus the title was vacated yet again, on October 9th. Three days later Ken Shamrock would defeat X-Pac on Raw to win his first title. He would bring the title into 1999 and lose it on Valentine’s Day to Val Venis at St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Venis would lose that title on a March 15th edition of Raw to Road Dogg. Road Dogg would drop the belt 14 days later to Goldust, also on Raw, who would then lose it on April 12th to Godfather on Raw, and Jeff Jarrett would pick up his fourth title reign at, you guessed it, Raw, this time on May 31st.
Edge would pick up his first solo title on July 24th, at a house show, where Jeff Jarrett would win it back the next night. The European title-holder D’Lo Brown defeated Jeff Jarrett for the IC title on July 26th at Raw so Jarrett won both titles on August 22nd at Summerslam. Jarrett would then start a really odd feud with Chyna, the so-called ninth wonder of the world, leading up to the Good Housekeeping Match at No Mercy on 10/17/99.
–Jeff Jarrett(c) vs. Chyna for the Intercontinental Title in a Good Housekeeping Match–
The Good Housekeeping Match was really just a no DQ match using household appliances. JJ has Miss Kitty with him. They start on the outside but eventually end up in the ring with Chyna hitting an atomic drop and a sloppy looking suplex. She goes for the plunder right away, using a garbage can to send JJ reeling. They head outside and do a really bad version of a bad hardcore match, using things from toilet seats to salami to bananas. Chyna tries to elbow JJ through the table but JJ moves out of the way and Chyna goes through the table JJ covers on the outside (I guess it’s Falls Count Anywhere as well) but only gets a two. Flour ends up getting used, Miss Kitty has some batter poured over her. JJ takes out the knee and locks on the figure-four, which Chyna sells terribly. Chyna makes the ropes so JJ grabs the tongs and goes to the second rope. He jumps right into a low-blow and we go low-brow as Chyna uses the tongs on the lower region of JJ. Chyna throws pie in the face of JJ then knocks him down with a kitchen sink. That only gets two. JJ counters a pedigree by slingshotting her right into Teddy Long. JJ nails Chyna with the IC title and that’s enough to pick up the victory at 8:24. Teddy Long runs down and tells JJ he can’t use the belt, it’s not a house-hold item so the match must continue. So JJ comes in and puts the figure-four on Teddy but gets a guitar-shot instead, which is enough for Chyna to pick up the pin at 8:37 and become the first (and to this time only) woman to win the IC title. Unfortunately, there was really no redeeming quality to this so far. DUD.
The second disc ended with Chyna as champ, a title she would lose to Chris Jericho on December 12th at Armageddon. Now the craziness happens. Chyna and Chris Jericho were both awarded the title on January 3rd, 2000, at Smackdown thanks to reasons too complicated to explain here. Jericho would later defeat Chyna and Bob Holly on January 23rd at Royal Rumble to become the undisputed champ. He would hold onto that title until the Olympic Hero (and at the time European champ) challenged him at No Way Out held on February 27th.
–Chris Jericho(c) vs. Kurt Angle for the Intercontinental Title–
Kurt is the European title at this time, which wasn’t at stake. Kurt makes fun of the audience and the Whalers a bit and its amazing how much heel heat this guy had only 4 months into his WWE career. He was definitely my favorite wrestler in the year 2000. Jericho has Chyna in his corner. Jericho starts things off with a hiptoss, to which Angle responds with a slap to the face. Jericho comes back with a clothesline and chops. Angle drop toe holds Jericho onto the bottom rope. He charges when Jericho gets up and is back dropped to the outside. A springboard dropkick follows once Angle makes the apron. Jericho misses a baseball slide and tosses Jericho into the stairs. They brawl on the outside and Jericho hits a nice asai moonsault off the steps. They head back to the ring and Jericho goes to the top, only to get crotched. Angle hits a belly to belly suplex off the top for two. A suplex also gets two. Angle locks on a reverse chinlock but Jericho reverses to a backbreaker for one. Angle fights back and starts working the arm of Jericho.
Jericho fights back with his running bulldog and a flying forearm for two. Angle tries for a hurricanrana and Jericho counters with a powerslam. He covers but only gets a two and Angle reverses that into an armbar submission. Jericho works his way out and walks right into an Olympic Slam. This only gets two and Angle is pissed. He gets the IC title from the outside but the referee stops him from using it. This distraction allows Jericho to lock in the Walls of Jericho and Angle makes the ropes. The two brawl on the outside which leads to Angle grabbing the European title, Chyna taking a bump into the stairs and Jericho suplexing Angle into the ring. Jericho tries for the lion-sault but Angle, still with the belt in his hands, lifts it up to block and Jericho hits the belt. Angle covers and gets the pin at 10:14 to become Euro-continental champion. This was a short match, but still entertaining. They would definitely have better. **1/2.
Angle would hold the title until Wrestlemania 2000 (April 2nd), where he lost the IC title to Chris Benoit and the European title to Chris Jericho. Jericho would win the IC title back a month later on a May 2nd taping of Smackdown only to lose it 6 days later on Raw to Chris Benoit. Benoit would actually be defeated by Rikishi on a June 20th taping of Smackdown only to lose it two weeks later at another taping held on July 4th to Val Venis. Venis would drop the title to Chyna on August 27th in a crazy stipulation laden match at Summerslam. Eddie Guerrero would pick up the title by defeating Chyna and Angle in a triple-threat match on the September 4th edition of Raw. A month later, on the 10/12/00 edition of Smackdown we had our next match.
–Eddie Guerrero(c) vs. Chris Jericho vs. X-Pac for the Intercontinental Title–
X-Pac and Jericho had a feud running at the time so Guerrero lets Jericho and X-Pac go at it for a while, until Jericho goes for a pin and Guerrero breaks the count. Jericho clears the ring by back droppings Guerrero to the apron and then hitting a springboard dropkick and tossing X-Pac to the outside. Jericho baseball slides into Guerrero then walks into an X-Pac spinning heel kick. X-Pac and Guerrero double-team Jericho with X-Pac even working in the bronco buster. The three men continue clotheslining each other, leading to Jericho hitting the flying forearm on X-Pac and a bulldog on Guerrero. X-Pac is clotheslined to the outside by Y2J then powerbombs Guerrero. Lionsault for Jericho but X-Pac comes in with a low-blow and hits the X-Factor. Guerrero tosses X-Pac to the outside then covers to retain at 3:47. Of all of Guerrero’s title defenses, this is the one that was picked? Way too short to be worth anything, but it was very fast-paced for what we saw. *.
Billy Gunn would defeat Eddie on November 21st at a Smackdown taping only to lose the belt to Chris Benoit on December 10th at Armageddon. Benoit would hold the belt until the 2001 Royal Rumble (held on January 21st) where he dropped it to Chris Jericho. Jericho would lose the title to HHH on April 3rd, at a Smackdown taping. Just a week later at the next Smackdown, HHH would put the title on the line against Jeff Hardy.
–Triple H(c) vs. Jeff Hardy for the Intercontinental Title–
This would definitely be considered a David vs. Goliath type match. This match was set up because Jeff used the Twist of Fate on Stephanie in retaliation for an attack on Lita. HHH goes right after Hardy but Hardy comes back with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors. Hardy actually reverses out of the pedigree and grabs a quick pinfall attempt. HHH casually shoves Hardy off but Hardy comes back with the Whisper in the Wind for two. The two end up outside the ring with Hardy flying into a powerslam after coming off the apron. HHH pounds on the much smaller and underdog Hardy. In fact, to show his dominance, he locks in a sleeper! Hardy turns that into a jawbreaker but HHH comes back with a side Russian legsweep. Hardy’s actually up first but HHH throws the ref into the ropes to crotch Hardy. This leads to referee Tim White shoving HHH and HHH shoving White down. HHH tries for a superplex but Matt Hardy comes down and hits HHH with a chairshot allowing Jeff Hardy to hit the Swanton Bomb for the pin and the huge upset at 8:03. This was a formula that worked very well, the huge underdog getting the unlikely pin. This was highly entertaining and one I enjoyed a lot. ***.
Jeff Hardy wouldn’t hold the title long, giving it back up to HHH on the April 16th edition of Raw. Kane would win the title at Judgment Day on May 20th, only to lose it to Albert on June 26th at a Smackdown taping. Albert held the title for a little under a month when he lost it to Lance Storm on a July 23rd episode of Raw. The title would go back and forth on a monthly basis from there, jumping to Edge on August 19th at Summerslam, then to Christian on September 23rd at Unforgiven, then back to Edge on October 21st at No Mercy. Test would pick up the title next at a November 5th episode of Raw at Nassau Coliseum. Edge would win that title back and unify it with the WCW United States Championship at Survivor Series on November 18th and keep the belt the rest of the year.
On January 20th, 2002, at Royal Rumble, William Regal would defeat Edge for the title only to lose it to Rob Van Dam on March 17th at Wrestlemania X8. Eddie Guerrero would win the title for a second time on April 21st at Backlash and on May 6th the title was officially renamed the WWE title, after the World Wildlife Fund forced the then-WWF to change their name. Eddie would hold the belt until May 27th, when Rob Van Dam won the title in a Ladder Match seen on Raw.
–Rob Van Dam(c) vs. Jeff Hardy(c) for the Intercontinental Title and European Title in a Unification Ladder Match–
Jeff is the European title holder at the time and is a lot weirder now than he was the match before. They actually wrestle a bit, with some lock-ups and all. RVD gets an early dropkick as Hardy responds with a tilt-a-whirl. Hardy dumps RVD and Hardy goes for the ladder. RVD baseball slides into Hardy and follows with an Asai moonsault. RVD quickly sets up the ladder and goes for the belts only to have Hardy knock him off of it. Hardy tries for the belts but he’s knocked off, too. RVD picks up the ladder to charge but Hardy dropkicks it out of his hands. So both men go outside and grab ladders and its dueling ladders! RVD wins that joust and tries for the belts again. Hardy climbs up and legsweeps him off the ladder. Hardy drapes the ladders over RVD and hits the Swanton off the top rope. Both men are up quickly and climb to the top, culminating in RVD powerbombing Hardy off the top of the ladder. RVD follows with a rolling thunder and starts his climb. Hardy sets up his ladder and there’s a sick bump by Hardy when RVD kicks his ladder and Hardy falls to the mat. RVD follows with a frog-splash from the top of the ladder and that’s enough to put Hardy out and allow him to climb to the top and grab the belt at 6:57. This was a really enjoyable spot-fest, with really no psychology here. ***.
After RVD unified the titles, he dropped it a week later to Chris Benoit on July 29th, at Raw. RVD won the title back at Summerslam on August 25th, only to lose it a month later to Chris Jericho on the September 16th edition of Raw. Jericho would later lose them to Kane on September 30th on Raw. Kane would lose the title to HHH on October 22nd at No Mercy, and that unified the World Heavyweight (the WCW Big Belt) and the IC title.
The IC title would remain dormant for half a year until Christian won the title at a battle royal on May 18th, 2003 at Judgment Day. Christian would lose the title to Booker T on a July 7th episode of Raw but win it back a month later on August 10th at a house show. Rob Van Dam would start his 4th reign of the IC title by beating Christian in a Ladder Math on the September 29th episode of Raw, then lose it on the October 27th Raw to Jericho. Rob Van Dam would win it back that same day in a steel cage match. Randy Orton would win the title on December 14th at Armageddon and hold the title for an impressive 210 days until July 11th, when he battled Edge for the title at Vengeance.
–Randy Orton(c) vs. Edge for the Intercontinental Title–
Orton grabs a side-headlock to start, broken out of by Edge. The feeling out process is broken by a knee to gut by Orton, and we have a criss-cross? What am I watching, Hogan/Warrior? Edge shoulderblocks Orton down and goes to the side headlock. Edge out-wrestles Orton so Orton bails to the outside and calls it quits. Edge doesn’t like that and chases after him, bringing him back into the ring. Edge charges and Orton sidesteps, sending Edge to the outside. Orton takes control with a head-wringer of some sort and there have been a lot of rest-holds in this match that is 8-minutes old already. Edge responds with clotheslines and clotheslines him to the outside. Orton picks up the IC title and prepares to enter the ring, but Edge baseball slides the belt into Orton. Edge follows with a clothesline from the apron. Edge rolls Orton into the ring and connects with a missile dropkick for two. Edge tries for the spear but Orton sidesteps him and trips him and covers for two. Orton works over Edge’s neck on the outside, then does some token offense inside, hitting a legdrop on the neck for two. Orton goes back to the side headlock and clotheslines Edge down when he escapes. Orton goes for some offensive maneuver from the second rope but lands right into an Edge dropkick.
Edge gets a side-Russian legsweep for two, Orton misses a dropkick and Edge slingshots Orton into the corner. Edge hits a variation of the X-Factor for two. Edge goes to the top but Orton catches him. He tries a superplex but Edge breaks, probably trying to crotch him but he missed completely and it looked really bad. Edge with a crossbody but Orton rolls through for two. Orton gets a poke in the eye and exposed the top turnbuckle. The ref gets rid of the turnbuckle and misses most of the Edge small package. Edge complains so Orton rolls him up for two. Orton with a dropkick gets two. Edge with an Impaler DDT gets two. Now the action is picking up. Edge pounds on Orton in the corner with exposed steel, and Orton drops Edge chest first onto that exposed steel and rolls him up (with his feet on the ropes) for two. Orton tries for the RKO but Edge kicks him to the corner. Edge tries for the spear but Orton leapfrogs over him. Edge with a backslide gets two. Orton tries to whip Edge to the exposed corner but Edge reverses that and hits the spear on the rebound to finish things, and claim the IC title at 26:37. The first twenty minutes were realllly boring, but the last 6 minutes were really hot and if they kept up that pace the whole match and actually built up to the finish, we’d have a higher rating. As it is, it’s about ***.
Edge would have to vacate the title on September 6th due to injury and Jericho took advantage of this, beating Christian in a ladder match at Unforgiven, held on September 12th, for his 7th title. Jericho held the title a little over a month until Shelton Benjamin defeated him on October 19th at Taboo Tuesday. Shelton held the title an even more impressive 244 days before losing it to Carlito on the June 20th Raw. Carlito would drop the title to Ric Flair of all people on September 19th, at Unforgiven. One of Flair’s most memorable defenses was against HHH on November 1st, 2005, at Taboo Tuesday.
–Ric Flair(c) vs. Triple H for the Intercontinental Title in a Steel Cage Match–
Joey Styles calls the action here and he claims the steel cage will grind the flesh like cabbage into bloody coleslaw. That’s a visual I never thought I’d get from a wrestling commentator. Joey also claims that neither men care that the title is on the line, to which Lawler corrects him. Flair knocks HHH down with chops so HHH responds in kind with a high knee. Flair chops out of the corner but HHH catches him with a spinebuster. Flair gets tossed headfirst into the cage and he’s busted open already. HHH works on the open wound, waves bye to the fans and heads out over the top of the cage. Flair catches him and they fight on the top rope, and both men get crotched on that rope. HHH is up first and gets a chain from the top of the cage, wraps it around his first and tries a fistdrop, but Flair puts his leg up. Flair works the leg and goes for the figure-four, but HHH counters with the chain-laced punch for two. HHH continues pounding the head of Flair and his blond hair is completely red now. To add insult to injury, HHH locks on the figure-four.
Flair reverses it so HHH needs to get the ropes to break. Flair’s still down and HHH tries to figure-four but this time Flair kicks him off and HHH is fired head-first into the cell, and now he’s cut open. It’s Flair’s turn to start working the open wound on HHH’s head, going as far as to bite him! A suplex for Flair is followed by kneedrops. Flair wisely starts working the previously torn quadricep of HHH and finally locking on the Figure Four. HHH uses the ref to knock him into Flair and break the hold. Flair drops a knee on the quad then looks like he’s going to leave over the cage. He changes his mind when he’s on the top rope and instead hits a flying clothesline. He lowblows HHH and tries to crawl through the cage but HHH catches him and drags him in. Flair does bring in a chair though, but HHH stomps the chair into Flair’s hand. HHH grabs the chair and tries to use it but Flair counters with the testicular claw. Add chops into the mix and you have a lethal hold. Flair tries a backdrop but HHH looks to turn it into a Pedigree. Flair powers out and backdrops HHH onto the chair then drives the chair into HHH’s head multiple times. HHH is out and Flair exits through the cage to retain at 23:45. This was just an awesome match, with a lot of old-school flavor and it really reminds me of Flair during his glory days. These two worked together really well. ****.
Flair would hold the title until February 20th, 2006, losing it to Shelton Benjamin on Raw. Shelton would be challenged by RVD on April 30th at Backlash, where both the IC title and RVD’s money in the bank contract were put on the line.
–Rob Van Dam(c) vs. Shelton Benjamin for the Intercontinental Title and Money In the Bank Contract–
Shelton is introduced first, which should never happen. It’s always challenger first, champion second. Money in the bank is basically a contract that says whoever holds it can challenge the World Champ at any time, which Edge used at Wrestlemania to win the title. The two battle over a wristlock to start, and exchange armdrags and forearms. RVD takes over with a spinning heel kick and clotheslines. A bodyslams leads to a Rolling Thunder attempt but Shelton rolls out of the ring before it can hit. RVD follows with a springboard cross body onto Benjamin. RVD rolls Shelton into the ring and gets to the apron but Shelton does a sunset flip into a powerbomb onto the outside. Shelton rolls RVD back inside and covers for two. Shelton continues working the back, and puts on the camel clutch. Bodyslams follow and Shelton tries a T-Bone suplex which RVD powers out of. RVD tries for the Rolling Thunder which Shelton counters into a Samoan drop in a neat-looking spot.
RVD comes back when Shelton misses a dropkick and he clotheslines the champ down. Springboard heel kick leads to the spinning heel kick and finally RVD connects with the Rolling Thunder for two. Springboard moonsault gets two. Stepover heel kick sends RVD to the top rope where he proceed to miss the five-star Frog Splash. Shelton comes back with a DDT for two. RVD rolls to the outside and Shelton follows, charging at RVD. RVD drop toe holds him into the barricade and Shelton decides he’s had enough. He takes the briefcase, prompting RVD to head outside right into a superkick. Shelton rolls RVD into the ring and goes to the top rope. He connects with a crossbody but RVD rolls through for two. Shelton tries to use the briefcase, the referee is knocked down and RVD hits the Van Daminator with the briefcase and the Frog Splash is enough to finish things at 18:39, giving RVD the IC title. This was slow at times but it built up to a nice match. ***.
Shelton Benjamin won the title back on May 15th on Raw in a 3 on 2 handicap match when he pinned RVD. What followed was a June 25th triple-threat match at Vengeance between Benjamin, Johnny Nitro and Carlito.
–Shelton Benjamin(c) vs. Johnny Nitro vs. Carlito for the Intercontinental Title–
I’ve never heard of Johnny Nitro. He has a valet with him, Melina, who again I have never heard of. She has an interesting ring entrance to be sure. Actually, the only one I’ve seen work was Benjamin. Carlito quickly dumps Nitro (who was admiring Melina) allowing Benjamin to get a quick roll up for two. Shelton and Carlito work a near-fall sequence in the ring, leading to a side headlock for Carlito. Nitro runs in and Carlito backdrops him (while still holding onto the side headlock). Shelton breaks the hold, knocks Carlito down and now its Nitro vs. Benjamin. Benjamin is dumped by Nitro, Carlito slingshots Nitro to the outside and Carlito tries for a slingshot plancha but Melina moves him out of the way and Carlito stops the attempt. They all brawl on the outside, Carlito is sent to the ringpost, Nitro and Benjamin battle and Carlito hits a top rope somersault splash on both. Carlito rolls Nitro inside and covers for two. Carlito nails Nitro with a hurricanrana but runs right into Benjamin who tosses him into the air and letting him fall face-first on the mat. Shelton T-Bone suplexes Nitro to the outside and suplexes Carlito for two. Samoan drop leads to a cover but Nitro breaks the pinfall.
Nitro is reverse power-bombed into the top turnbuckle and Shelton covers, but Melina puts Nitro’s foot on the ropes. Shelton argues, allowing Carlito to get a victory roll for two. Carlito whips Benjamin to the corner, then Nitro, who monkey flips Benjamin into a Carlito dropkick. Carlito covers but Nitro breaks the pin. Nitro puts Carlito on the top rope but gets hung up in a tree of woe when Benjamin shakes the ropes. Benjamin hops up and there’s a triple suplex, where Shelton suplexed Carlito as he himself was suplexed by Nitro. Nitro covers Carlito for two, then covers Benjamin for two. Carlito recovers and cleans house, and cradles Benjamin. Nitro breaks the fall, Carlito hits a reverse springboard elbow and covers Nitro, then Benjamin for two. Nitro charges but Carlito holds the top rope down and he plummets to the outside. Benjamin kicks Carlito in the back of the head and covers for two. Carlito’s suplex is reversed by Benjamin but right into a back-cracker. Nitro takes advantage and pulls Carlito out of the ring and runs in to pick up the pin at 12:03 for the IC title. This was a fun match, but it didn’t really have any flow to it. It was just spot after spot, with no real connecting story behind anything. **1/2.
Nitro held the title until the October 2nd Raw, losing it to Jeff Hardy. Hardy gave up the title back to Nitro on the November 6th Raw, but Nitro would give it right back a week later on Raw. Hardy would keep the title into 2007, dropping it to Umaga on February 19th at Raw. Umaga held the title until Santino Marella defeated him on the April 16th Raw. Umaga would win the title back on July 2nd, also at Raw, before challenging Jeff Hardy at the Great American Bash on July 22nd, 2007.
–Umaga(c) vs. Jeff Hardy for the Intercontinental Title–
Umaga is another guy on this disc I’ve never seen wrestle. I’ve never even heard of him, either. He looks like Rikishi. I don’t think it’s him but probably a brother or cousin or something. Slugfest to start, easily won by Umaga. Jeff gets a quick jawbreaker but walks right into a Samoan drop. Hardy is sent hard to the corner and Umaga just pummels Hardy on the mat and locks on the nerve pinch. Hardy breaks and for some reason tries a bodyslam. Umaga falls on top of him for two. Umaga hits two Samoan drops but a third lands on Jeff’s knees. Jeff goes to the second rope and jumps into a sidewalk slam for two. Umaga goes for a second rope headbutt but Jeff manages to get out of the way drawing a double KO count. Jeff is up first and mule kicks Umaga, then sends Umaga to the outside when he ducks out of a charge. A springboard plancha follows. Umaga comes in and tries for the sunset flip but Umaga is too fat. He tries to sit down but Hardy moves out of the way and hits a seated dropkick for two. Umaga misses the butt-splash in the corner and Jeff hits a corkscrew splash form the second rope for two. JR calls this the twist of fate. Umaga charges and misses, hitting his head on the ringpost and Jeff hits the swanton bomb for a very dramatic two-count. Jeff goes for the twist of fate but Umaga kicks him off, superkicks him, butt splashes him and gives him a Samoan clothesline and that’s enough to finish Jeff at 11:20. There was a nerve pinch that went on way too long, but it got the point across of how unbeatable Umaga was. **3/4.
Hardy would win the title back on September 2nd on Raw and keep it for 190 days and into 2008 before being challenged by Chris Jericho on March 10th on Monday Night Raw.
–Jeff Hardy(c) vs. Chris Jericho for the Intercontinental Title–
The two men brawl to start, leading to Jericho dropkicking Hardy to the outside. The Raw took a commercial break and when it returned Jericho had Hardy in a headlock. I guess it was the commercial rest hold of choice tonight. Jericho misses a blind charge and goes up and over to the outside leading to a Hardy baseball slide. Hardy follows and tries his walk the barrier thing, but Jericho evades and sends Hardy headfirst into the announce table. Jericho rolls him into the ring and covers for two. Jericho misses the bulldog and Hardy comes back with the whisper in the wind for two. Jericho comes back with a Northern Lights suplex for two. Hardy bridges out of it and rolls up Jericho for two. Mule kick sends Jericho to the corner but Hardy misses a seated dropkick. Jericho goes to the top now, hits a crossbody, but Hardy rolls through for two. Jeff tries the twist of fate but Jericho pushes him off and hits the Lionsault for two. Jericho tries the Wall of Jericho but Jeff rolls him up for two. Hardy hits the Twist of Fate when Jericho misses an enzuigiri but Hardy goes for the swanton instead of covering. Jericho moves and one Codebreaker later becomes an 8-time Intercontinental Champion at 8:10. This was a spot after spot match with no connecting storyline. Still, the spots hit so it makes it an automatic **.
Jericho was now an 8-time champ, and he held the title for 111 days before losing it to Kofi Kingston on June 29th at Night of the Champions. Kofi dropped the title to Santino on August 17th, at Summerslam, in a match which also saw the Women’s title competed for. William Regal would win the title on Raw on November 21st, and that’s where we are at right now.
None, at least the WWE Title DVD had a snippet of all the title changes.
Audio and video range, of course, since the older stuff is not as well maintained as newer stuff. Still, this is all from the WWE archives so even the 1979 footage looks better than some of the old sports footage from the same time.
C) Packaging / Liner Notes
This is in a nice fold-open DVD case where each case is on top of each other. You fold it over to get the next disc and opposite the disc (when open) is the match listing for the disc associated with it. I am surprised they didn’t have liner notes with the title changes and all like they did with the WWE title. Also, there is a little error on the liner notes. They show past IC champs and instead of showing Pat Patterson, like they wanted to, instead we have Buddy Roberts wearing the Texas Heavyweight Championship. Oops. This has been corrected on all subsequent releases, so will this become a rare collector’s item? I won’t hold my breath.
D) Easter Eggs
The usual WWE promos start off this collection (WWE 24/7, Behind Enemy Lines, WWE Home Video, the new Eddie Guerrero DVD, the Hell In A Cell DVD, and the don’t try this at home PSA). I have to say, I really liked this collection. I had seen everything on Disc Two and almost everything on Disc One. Disc Three was brand new material and I have to say it was a great collection of matches. There are two ***** matches on here, loads of ***+ matches, and there’s hardly a bad match on here. Could they have had different matches on here? Sure, but this was fan voting and for the most part, the fans picked some great matches. Sure one may complain of duplication, but the great matches need to be here, even if they are on other collections. Some of the shorter matches were on probably for name-value alone, but looking at this collection you can see how people who won the title later went on to prominence in the WWE. As our host muses at the end of the collection, was it the title that made the wrestlers great, or the wrestlers that made the title great? I tend to think it was the latter but you be the judge. This is a high-quality collection and a must-own for WWE fans of any age.
9.0-9.5 Near Perfect, Highly Recommended
8.0-8.5 Really good disc, Recommended
7.0-7.5 Good DVD, Mildly recommended
6.0-6.5 Above Average DVD. Mildest of mild recommendations
5.0-5.5 Decent all around disc, but catch it on TV
4.0-4.5 Great Movie but horrible DVD
3.0-3.5 Horrible movie but great DVD
2.0-2.5 There’s at least some merit to this DVD, but not much.
1.0-1.5 Horrible DVD, don’t even bother
0.0-0.5 Worst DVD ever