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Every WWE Intercontinental Championship Belt Design Ranked

In recent years, the Intercontinental Championship has fallen in value, with some even arguing for the WWE to unify it with the United States Championship. Newer fans may forget that the Intercontinental Championship was a huge rite of passage for many stars that dominated the mid-card. It also was an indicator of who the next big star of the WWE could be as holding the strap usually led to a brief stint in the main event scene.



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The Best & Worst Intercontinental Champion From Each WWE Era

There have been plenty of fantastic and lackluster Intercontinental Champions in every WWE era!

Many great IC feuds like “Razor Ramon vs Shawn Michaels” and “The British Bulldog vs Bret Hart” could’ve main evented any pay-per-view. Like all the other championship belts, the WWE Intercontinental Championship has gone through various changes over the years. It’s existed in the wrestling world since 1979 so evolution is inevitable, for better and for worse. This list ranks every WWE Intercontinental Championship design from worst to best.

UPDATE: 2024/05/16 22:00 EST BY TEVON KING

The Intercontinental Championship is traditionally the workhorse title and it has been seen as the stepping stone to becoming the WWE Champion. The likes of “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, and The Rock among others had outstanding Intercontinental Championship reigns before they went on to win multiple WWE Championships. As expected, the Intercontinental Championship has gone through a plethora of variations of the Intercontinental Championship. The value of the title is still the name, but some designs looked aesthetically pleasing more than others.


8 The Original World Wide Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Title Wasn’t The Best Design

Years: Active: 1979-1984


Belt Introduction

August 25, 1979

First Titleholder

Pat Patterson

Notable Wrestlers Who Held The Belt

Pat Patterson, Pedro Morales, Don Muraco, Tito Santana

Although the original Intercontinental title is the most important belt in its lineage, it’s also one of the worst-looking designs. Legends like Pat Patterson and Pedro Morales held this belt, but it is clearly a product of its time. The tiny strap looks better suited to be a watch than a belt and looks more delicate than eye-catching. This version of the belt lasted five short years before Tito Santana replaced it in 1984.

7 Several Wrestlers Changed The Color Of The Intercontinental Championship Strap

Years Active: 1989, 1993-1996


Belt Introduction

1990

First Titleholder

The Ultimate Warrior

Notable Wrestlers Who Held The Belt

The Ultimate Warrior, Shawn Michaels, Jeff Jarrett, Goldust

This version of the belt with a black strap is one of the more iconic championships. In the 90s, a few superstars changed the color of the strap and the personalization actually downgraded the look of the belt. The Ultimate Warrior also used a yellow-strapped version of this title. The different colors were interesting but made the belt look a little too toyish.

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Every WWE Championship Design From The 1990s, Ranked Worst To Best

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The different colored straps appear more “entertaining” in the balance between “sports and entertainment.” This does appeal to a younger audience, but overall doesn’t match the main plate, which presents as a true sports title.


6 The Green Strap Was An Upgrade On The Original Intercontinental Championship

Years Active: 1984-1986

Belt Introduction

1984

First Titleholder

Tito Santana

Notable Wrestlers Who Held The Belt

Tito Santana, Greg Valentine

Although this version of the IC title existed for two years in the WWE, only Tito Santana and Greg Valentine ever held this belt. The bigger front plate makes this belt a huge upgrade from the original version of the title. This second iteration of the title has a strap that is a little too slim (like many from this era), but the green color works well with this title.


5 The Current Intercontinental Championship Design Has Mixed Reviews

Years Active: 2019-Present

Belt Introduction

November 22, 2019

First Titleholder

Shinsuke Nakamura

Notable Wrestlers Who Held The Belt

Shinsuke Nakamura, Sami Zayn, AJ Styles, Jeff Hardy, Big E, Gunther

The new Intercontinental title design is not “bad,” but it also didn’t elevate the title to new heights. A part of the issue with this belt might be the fact that it has become a background belt on WWE programming. Also, the aspect of the IC belt that always made it stand out was the blue earth that most of the other belts forced to the front of the plate.

The last ten wrestlers to hold this title are also hit or miss as champions. The bigger plate is a plus, but the “earth” has been pushed to the back, which also does a disservice to the design.


4 The Oval Intercontinental Design Was Introduced In The Attitude Era

Years Active: 1998-2011

Belt Introduction

1998

First Titleholder

The Rock

Notable Wrestlers Who Held The Belt

The Rock, Triple H, Chris Jericho, Rob Van Dam, Jeff Hardy, Randy Orton, Shelton Benjamin, Edge, Christian

Many legends of the Attitude and Ruthless Aggression Era rocked this title. It was a complete redesign and overall worked as a secondary belt. The idea of something being “Intercontinental” never had a ton of meaning in terms of adding value to the holder of the title, but the representation of the other continents served this belt well.


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10 Best WWE Intercontinental Champions Of The 2000s, Ranked

The WWE Intercontinental Championship is a workhorse title, and some legends got their hands on the prestigious championship during the 2000s.

This design existed through the WWE’s transition from “WWF” to “WWE” so there are a few variations of this belt, but the changes don’t warrant a new addition to the overall list of “best designs.”

3 The Red Intercontinental Championship Logo Looked Crisp

Years Active: 1986-1988

Belt Introduction

1986

First Titleholder

Randy Savage

Notable Wrestlers Who Held The Belt

Randy Savage, Ricky Steamboat, The Honky Tonk Man

This title looks almost identical to the version that followed except for the red “WWF” logo at the top of the title. The red allowed the company name to pop but does give it a more classical feel.


Randy Savage is most remembered for his run with this belt. Savage also notoriously ruined this belt with Brasso polish. He physically tarnished the belt so much the company was forced to change the look of the title entirely.

2 Cody Rhodes Re-Introduced The Iconic Intercontinental Title Strap

Years Active: 2011-2019

Belt Introduction

October 2, 2011

First Titleholder

Cody Rhodes

Notable Wrestlers Who Held The Belt

Cody Rhodes, The Miz, Kofi Kingston, Dolph Ziggler, Wade Barrett, Kevin Owens, Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, Bobby Lashley, Finn Balor

Cody Rhodes wanted the Intercontinental title to call back to the belt he grew up watching. It was one of the better changes to any belt in the modern era. Shawn Michaels once used a white strapped belt that was almost identical to this design. The company would end up adopting a very similar version of this belt for almost a decade.


It was one of the few times an old version of a belt was resurrected and frequently used thanks to the positive reception from fans and wrestlers. It’s a bit of a mystery as to why WWE felt the need to move away from this design which was so positively received.

1 The Iconic Intercontinental Title Is One Of The Best Title Designs In WWE History

Years Active: 1988-1998

Belt Introduction

February 5, 1988

First Titleholder

The Honky Tonk Man

Notable Wrestlers Who Held The Belt

The Honky Tonk Man, The Ultimate Warrior Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon, Diesel, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Rocky Maivia, Steve Austin, Owen Hart


Bret Hart, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Mr. Perfect, the list of legends who held this version of the Intercontinental Title is endless. This design lasted a decade because it looked so good around the waste of all the legends it helped make. This was also the title used in one of the greatest Intercontinental Championship matches of all time, the ladder match between Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels.

The huge main plate shows simplicity is the key to an iconic title. Cody bringing back an updated version of this belt to universally positive acclaim proves this belt stands the test of time. Newer straps will always be interesting, but every fan knows this design will pop back up from generation to generation thanks to its sleek design and storybook history. One can only hope WWE will eventually treat the belt with more prestige.

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