On January 31st 2020, Braun Strowman became the new Intercontinental Champion by defeating Shinsuke Nakamura. As I began to think Nakamura’s 199 day title reign, I asked myself what was special about it? I honestly couldn’t come up with anything. This is nothing against Shinsuke Nakamura because the WWE didn’t give him any challengers to have epic matches with. For myself and many other fans, the Intercontinental Championship has always had matches that were technical masterpieces and epic encounters with great storytelling in the ring. Ask yourself this: Is Braun Strowman going to give the fans those epic encounters and technical masterpieces? As much I respect Strowman’s work ethic I don’t think that’s going to happen. Strowman should have been WWE World or Universal Champion and I think this was WWE’s way of trying to keep the fans happy.
Growing up the Intercontinental Championship had great champions like Mr. Perfect, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, and Razor Ramon. As I got older Chris Jericho, Edge, Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes and The Miz made the Intercontinental Championship relevant and mean something. They all took on every challenger that came their way. My favorite Intercontinental Title matches as a kid were Mr. Perfect versus Bret Hart at Summerslam 1991, and Shawn Michaels verses Marty Jannetty on an episode on Raw in 1993. In more recent years, my favorite Intercontinental Championship match was at Extreme Rules 2016. The Miz defended the title against Cesaro, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Ironically, the two of the three challengers should have had Intercontinental Title reigns. My least favorite Intercontinental Champions have been Ryback, Ezekiel Jackson, and the Ultimate Warrior. None of them were known for the technical abilities and that’s why I could never get behind their title reigns.
Who should be Intercontinental Champion? Well that depends on how you view the championship. If I had to pick five guys to hold championship right now, they would be Cesaro, Drew Gulak, Samoa Joe, Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles. All of these competitors rarely ever have a bad match and they could elevate the title higher than it’s been in a long time. We can even dig deeper and look at the stars of NXT. The five guys who would the Intercontinental Championship proudly are Roderick Strong, Tyler Bate, The Velveteen Dream, Kushida and Pete Dunne. I’ll even go as far by suggesting that Shinsuke Nakamura should be champion again. Only this time, keep feeding him opponents and give him meaningful matches. All of these competitors could add to the rich history of title. The Intercontinental Championship has a rich history, but the last couple of years it’s richness has been severely lacking.
As we head into Wrestlemania Season, this would be a perfect time to elevate the Intercontinental Championship. In the last 10 years, we have only seen one great Intercontinental Championship Match at Wrestlemania and it was at Wrestlemania 34. It was a triple threat match between The Miz, Seth Rollins and Finn Balor. Outside of that match, the title has only been defended in a Ladder Match, on the pre-show or hasn’t been defended at all. At one point in time, the Intercontinental Championship was featured in the main events of Wrestlemania 6 and Summerslam 1992 The people in charge at WWE need to find a way to make the Intercontinental Championship as equally as important as the WWE Championship like they use to, because right now the title is worthless. It’s time to take what is worthless and give it back to the technical masters, the epic storytellers and the workhorses of the company. Only then will the Intercontinental Championship be restored to it’s former prestige and glory.