On Sept. 1, 1979, Pat Patterson made history when he won a tournament in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to become WWE’s first-ever Intercontinental Champion. Now, 40 years later, WWE honour the incredible legacy of this prestigious title, held by some of the most captivating Superstars in all of sports-entertainment.
There have been 83 different Intercontinental champions and 172 reigns. Chris Jericho has the most reigns with nine. Pedro Morales held the championship for a record total of 619 days and The Honky Tonk Man had the longest uninterrupted reign at 454 days, from June 2, 1987, until August 29, 1988. Dean Douglas had the shortest reign at just 13 minutes 52 seconds.
Chyna is the only woman in WWE history to win the title. The youngest champion was Jeff Hardy, who won the Championship at 23 years old, while the oldest champion was Ric Flair, who won the championship at Unforgiven in 2005 at the age of 56. Shinsuke Nakamura is the current champion, in his first reign.
Beginning Sunday, WWE’s digital platforms will kick off a weeklong celebration of WWE’s iconic workhorse title, carried proudly by the likes of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Bret “Hit Man” Hart, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, The Rock and The Ultimate Warrior.
Check out the full Intercontinental Championship 40th Anniversary Week schedule below.
Sunday, Sept. 1
WWE Playback with Shawn Michaels, Jeff Jarrett & Road Dogg
Join WWE Hall of Famers Shawn Michaels, Jeff Jarrett and Road Dogg as they relive Double J’s Intercontinental Championship defence against The Heartbreak Kid at WWE In Your House 2, a bout that kick-started Michaels’ third reign with the coveted title and signalled the end of the partnership between Jarrett and his then-Roadie.
20 matches that define the Intercontinental Title marathon event on WWE Network
Former Intercontinental Champion Zack Ryder hosts a look back at 20 matches that define what the Intercontinental Title stands for, and the title bouts feature such memorable champions as Seth Rollins, The Rock and Randy Orton. The marathon begins streaming exclusively on WWE Network at 1 p.m. ET.
Monday, Sept. 2
WWE Top 10: Emotional Intercontinental Title victories
From Ricky Steamboat’s landmark victory over “Macho Man” Randy Savage at WrestleMania III to Zack Ryder’s dream-come-true Show of Shows win 29 years later, capturing the Intercontinental Championship has a habit of bringing emotions to the surface for any Superstar. WWE Top 10 ranks the most heart-wrenching wins in the title’s history.
Tuesday, Sept. 3
The Intercontinental Championship: By the Numbers
Go inside the unique history of the Intercontinental Title like never before with this video highlighting the stats that make this championship one of the most sought-after prizes in sports-entertainment.
Wednesday, Sept. 4
WWE Pop Question: Intercontinental Title edition
WWE Pop Question asks the Superstars of today who they feel is the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time … and some of their answers will surprise you.
The 8 most underrated Intercontinental Champions
Which bearers of the Intercontinental Title never got their rightful place in the spotlight? Which workhorses rarely come up in discussions about the greatest Intercontinental Champions of all time? WWE.com gives eight unsung Intercontinental Champions the recognition they deserve.
Thursday, Sept. 5
Intercontinental Championship 40th anniversary roundtable with Randy Orton, Christian and The Miz
Cathy Kelley sits down with The Viper, Captain Charisma and The A-Lister to recap their own personal history with the Intercontinental Championship, their most memorable rivalries and matches involving the coveted prize and the title’s place in the annals of sports-entertainment. The roundtable begins streaming on WWE’s official Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels at noon ET.
Friday, Sept. 6
20 matches that define the Intercontinental Title marathon event digital replay
If you missed WWE Network’s marathon of the 20 matches that defined the Intercontinental Title, catch the replay on WWE’s digital and social media platforms. The stream begins on WWE’s official Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels at noon ET.
Saturday, Sept. 7
Editors’ Choice: 10 Superstars who will be Intercontinental Champion
Intercontinental Championship 40th Anniversary Week concludes with a look ahead to the future, as the WWE.com editorial staff predicts which competitors from WWE, NXT, NXT UK and 205 Live are destined to join the legendary Superstars to hold the prestigious title.
All pics and videos courtesy of WWE.com