Top 15 WWE Intercontinental Champions from the Attitude and Golden Eras

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - AUGUST 15: Actor/former pro wrestler Steve Austin attends WWE & E! Entertainment's "SuperStars For Hope" at the Beverly Hills Hotel on August 15, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for WWE)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - AUGUST 15: Actor/former pro wrestler Steve Austin attends WWE & E! Entertainment's "SuperStars For Hope" at the Beverly Hills Hotel on August 15, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for WWE) /

Let’s take a look at some of the greatest WWE Intercontinental Champions of all time, specifically from the Attitude Era and the Golden Era before it, for this list.

The Intercontinental Title is one of WWE’s most prestigious championships and is currently held by Shinsuke Nakamura. Introduced in 1979 (more on the first-ever Intercontinental Champion below), it is often viewed as a belt awarded to whoever is considered to be the best worker on the roster at a given time. Of course, that isn’t an official definition, but it has always been understood by fans, pro wrestling journalists, and of course, the wrestlers themselves.

The championship, which is considered the second most major title in WWE, has been held by 86 different men and one woman.

So without wasting any more time, here are the top 15 Intercontinental Champions from the Golden and Attitude Eras.


To date, Chyna is the only woman to win the title. In fact, she won the belt twice! “The Ninth Wonder of the World” made a name for herself with her superhuman strength and, of course, aligning herself with D-Generation X. So much can be written about this woman, but the fact that she broke boundaries speaks volumes about her. She passed away in 2016.

Eddie Guerrero

This list seems like more of an undertaking with every name I think to put on it. What can be said about Eddie Guerrero other than he is probably in the top 5 wrestlers to ever compete in the industry. The fact that he held this title not only makes sense, but would have been a criminal offence if he never held it.

Chris Benoit

And can we really talk about Eddie without speaking of one of his closest friends. We lost both these men in a span of 2 years (2005-2007) and their loss is felt to this day. WWE has decided to strike this man from their history books because of controversies surrounding his passing (which are still a mystery to this day), but his accolades in the ring should never be forgotten.

Triple H

“The Game” had quite the start in WWE and he’s now been there for over 25 years, having come over from WCW. His accolades have been well documented for sure, and he now pretty much runs the place, but bouts like the one against The Rock at SummerSlam 1998 for this very title—a ladder match of all things—make his holding of this prestigious belt pretty special.


“The Ultimate Opportunist” has had one heck of a career. A top heel in the business, he’s now enjoying a run as a face. He’s held the Intercontinental Championship 5 times, and the WWE Championship 4 times, with a whopping 7 World Title reigns. I think you can more than understand why he places on this list, dear readers.

Chris Jericho

I always personally considered him the Ric Flair of the Attitude Era, but perhaps he’s quite a bit more than even that comparison. A chameleon, Jericho has reinvented himself over and over again to be a top draw in this business and for 3 decades log. Now I consider him the Metallica of professional wrestling, reinventing himself over and over again to stay on top…even now in AEW.

Shawn Michaels

“Mr. WrestleMania” himself. He had to place on the list, as he’s had quite the career undoubtedly (man, that sounds like such an understatement). But his Intercontinental title reigns and how he dealt with the issues he had while having his run with this belt are what led to his WWE/WWF Championship reigns that would come later in his career. Perhaps that’s a story for another time.

Owen Hart

At AEW Dynamite: Grand Slam, we were gifted an opportunity to see Bryan Danielson battle Kenny Omega in a match that reached its 30-minute time limit, and what a match it was. As I watched, I thought of Owen Hart and The British Bulldog and the caliber of matches they were capable of having. The other match that came to mind was Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart at WrestleMania 13.

Owen Hart was an ace in that ring, and whenever I see a physical match like the one on Dynamite this week with Omega and Danielson, I think about his blond head flying from rope to rope. RIP Owen; we still miss you.

Randy Savage

With his high energy and amazing athletic ability, Savage was another ace in the ring. Savage and Ricky Steamboat took it to the limit (YEAH!) at WrestleMania III for the Intercontinental Title. Apparently, according to Ricky Steamboat, Randy wrote the stages of that match on paper like a novelist or screenwriter would write a particular scene. The word genius comes to mind when hearing that.

The Rock

Here’s yet another face that deserves to be on that Mount Rushmore of professional wrestling. No, he didn’t spend that much time in WWE, as his charisma gave him other opportunities in Hollywood, but what a torchbearer for sure, and his reigns with this title helped morph the business into what it would eventually become.

Roddy Piper

"“I may not look like I can fight…but I can…”“You do not throw rocks at a man who’s got a machine gun…”“Just when they think they got the answers, I change the questions.”“I think the most controversial thing I did was stir up controversy.”-Roddy Piper"

I figured I’d let Roddy speak for himself. He always did better when allowed to be himself, anyways. RIP, legend. For more classic Roddy Piper quotes, check out 

Pat Patterson

The first-ever Intercontinental Champion. This man belonged on this list, and not just because he was the very first to hold the title. He had the greatest mind in professional wrestling and the success of the Attitude Era and what came later can most definitely be credited in major part to this legend and genius of the sport.

Stone Cold Steve Austin

The G.O.A.T, in my opinion, and in Vince McMahon’s opinion. After a mediocre run in WCW (not his fault), he catapulted onto the scene in ECW and got the attention of WWE/WWF at the time. The rest is history and he’d become the greatest to hold the WWE Title. But on his way to that summit, he had an incredible run with this belt.

The belt served almost as a stepping stone to greater things for most in these eras, but unfortunately not for everyone, especially as of late.

Bret Hart

And speaking of a stepping stone, just look how the title served “The best there is, the best there was, the best there ever will be.”

He won the illustrious title from Roddy Piper in an unforgettable match in Indianapolis, and he lost the title to this next legend on this list in an equally unforgettable match…

The British Bulldog

It was at Wembley Stadium in England at SummerSlam that these two men — brothers-in-law — would face each other for that title. The Bulldog came out on top in a picture-perfect match and Bret would go on to greater things.

The only tragedy is that Davey Boy Smith never won the WWE/WWF Championship, and now that is a criminal offense, to say the least. He passed away in 2002, yet another epic talent that is missed every day. For me, he’s the measuring stick, may he rest in peace.

Next. Impact: Why Ace Austin just might be the future of the business. dark

There were so many more who didn’t make the list, but every reign was impressive in its own way for sure. Other names that stand out for me are definitely D’Lo Brown, Billy Gunn, Booker T, Ricky Steamboat, William Regal, and really there’s not enough time to showcase them all, but I did want to highlight the above 15 names and do their reigns justice.