WWE Intercontinental Championship Pt 7 – The Era of the Longest Reigning Champion

The current era of the WWE Intercontinental Championship has brought forth a new design and the longest-reigning WWE Intercontinental Champion of all time. The reign is arguably the most dominant reign by any champion ever in GUNTHER.

But let’s see how we got to the “Ring General.”

WWE Intercontinental Championship Pt 7

Time To Shine fo Miz and Ziggler

WWE Night of Champions 2014 match card preview: The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler - Cageside Seats
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With the Intercontinental Championship vacated due to an injury to Bad News Barrett, a 19-man battle royal was to be held at Battle Ground 2014.

On that night, The Miz would become Intercontinental Champion for the third time. His victory came at the expense of Dolph Ziggler, who was the final person eliminated in the match. 

The third reign for the Miz lasted 27 days before he and Ziggler damn near stole the show at SummerSlam that August. 

Ziggler would begin his second reign as Intercontinental Champion after defeating Miz at the biggest party of the summer. 

Thirty-six days later, Miz would win the championship back at Night of Champions, but once again, his reign would only last one day.

The following night on Raw, Ziggler won the title right back. This time, Ziggler would hold the championship for 57 days. 

WWE Intercontinental Championship Pt 7 –
Harper Leaves His Mark

Every Version Of Luke Harper/Brodie Lee, Ranked
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The late Luke Harper got his one and only Intercontinental Championship win on the November 17, 2014 episode of Monday Night Raw. 

It was a redeeming moment for a guy who was always looked at like a tag team specialist in WWE. 

The victory and his subsequent reign proved how good he was as a singles competitor. His one reign with the title lasted 27 days. 

WWE Intercontinental Championship Pt 7
Ziggler Ascends The Ladder

WWE 'TLC…and Stairs': Ziggler and Ambrose Steal the Show
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At TLC 2014 Luke Harper and Dolph Ziggler went one on one in a ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship and the two stole the show. 

Ziggler’s fourth reign with the Intercontinental Championship lasted 22 days and would’ve probably lasted longer had he not been on the wrong end of a feud with the Authority. 

WWE Intercontinental Championship Pt 7 –
Bad News Again

Dolph Ziggler vs. Bad News Barrett - Intercontinental Championship Match: Raw, January 5, 2015 - YouTube
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Dolph Ziggler was forced into a two out of three falls match on the January 5, 2015 episode of Monday Night Raw by the Director of Operations Kane. 

His opponent on that night, Bad News Barrett. 

With the odds stacked against him, Ziggler was unable to defend the championship, giving Barrett his fifth and final reign as Intercontinental Champion. 

Barrett’s last reign with the Intercontinental Championship lasted 82 days before he lost it at the “Granddaddy of them All.”

WrestleMania Moment For Bryan

Daniel Bryan Needs to Forfeit the WWE Intercontinental Championship | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors | Bleacher Report
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A year removed from winning the WWE Championship at WrestleMania XXX, Daniel Bryan entered WrestleMania 31 looking for another shot at history. Bryan was competing in a seven-man ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship. 

The opening match of WWE’s biggest show of the year also featured Champion Bad News Barrett, Stardust, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Luke Harper, and R-Truth. 

This match was exactly what the Intercontinental Championship needed for its WrestleMania legacy. Each man threw precaution to the wind in a show-stealing performance. 

Unfortunately for Bryan, his only Intercontinental Championship reign ended without him losing the championship. Concussion-related issues forced Daniel Bryan to vacate the championship in May of 2015. 

WWE Intercontinental Championship Pt 7
Feed Him The Title

Ryback: The forgotten Intercontinental Champion
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Without an Intercontinental Champion, the WWE decided to put the vacant title on the line inside the Elimination Chamber. 

This was the first time the title would be determined inside the sadistic structure. Competing in the match was Ryback, Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler, Mark Henry, R-Truth and Wade Barrett. 

That night belonged to Ryback as he walked out of the chamber with the Intercontinental Championship in tow. 

His reign lasted an impressive 112 days and began a trend of the three out of the next four Intercontinental Champions winning the title for the first time. 

KO Wins The Gold

Ryback vs. Kevin Owens: Winner, Reaction from 2015 WWE Night of Champions | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors | Bleacher Report
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At Night of Champions 2015, Kevin Owens added another accolade to his ever-growing WWE resume. He won the Intercontinental Championship from Ryback. 

His first reign with the title gave him the honor of having held both the United States and Intercontinental Championship. The debut reign for Owens lasted 85 days. 

WWE Intercontinental Championship Pt 7 –
Ambrose Intercontinental Glory

WWE TLC 2015: Dean Ambrose vs Kevin Owens - Intercontinental Championship Match | Dean ambrose, Kevin owens, Wwe dean ambrose
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When it comes to the three members of the Shield, Dean Ambrose was the first to win the United States and Intercontinental Championships. 

Ambrose’s first reign with the Intercontinental Championship began at TLC 2015 when he defeated Kevin Owens. His debut reign lasted 64 days 

Second Time For Owens

Kevin Owens' IC Title Win Gets WWE WrestleMania 32 Direction Back on Track | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors | Bleacher Report
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On the February 16, 2016, episode of Raw, a five-way match was held for the Dean Ambrose Intercontinental Championship.

In the match were Ambrose, the man who he won the title from Kevin Owens, along with Tyler Breeze, Stardust and Dolph Ziggler. 

As most WWE multi-man matches, this one delivered the goods, but in the end, Owens reigned supreme, winning the Intercontinental Championship for the second time.

This reign lasted only about half the time of his first reign, totaling just 48 days. 

WWE Intercontinental Championship Pt 7
Ryder’s Dream Come True

Zack Ryder Wins WWE Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania 32 | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors | Bleacher Report
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At WrestleMania 32, the Intercontinental Championship was once again on the line in a multi-man ladder match. Seven men were ready to climb the ladder to achieve glory. 

In the match were the current champion, Kevin Owens, along with former champions Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, and Stardust (AKA Cody Rhodes).

The guys looking to win the title for the first time were Sin Cara, Sami Zayn, and Zack Ryder.

The latter, even though many considered the longest shot of winning, came away with the gold. 

It truly was a WrestleMania moment for a guy who had created his own popularity within the WWE. However, the moment wouldn’t last long, as 24 hours later, he would lose the gold.

Miz Collects His Fifth Reign

The Miz Defeats Zack Ryder to Become New WWE Intercontinental Champion on Raw | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors | Bleacher Report
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The Miz was more than happy to end Zack Ryder’s dreams the night after WrestleMania. In front of a raucous post-WrestleMania crowd, he did just that to win the Intercontinental Championship for the fifth time. 

Making the win even sweeter for the Miz was that his wife Maryse helped aid him in the victory. 

The Miz, who made the championship exclusive to Smackdown, brought some much-needed legitimacy to the championship during this reign. In total, he held the title for 188 days before an old rival returned to his life. 

WWE Intercontinental Championship Pt 7
Ziggler Saves His Career

WWE Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler: 'I always wanted to do this for the rest of my life' - Mirror Online
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Dolph Ziggler versus The Miz is an underrated rivalry over the Intercontinental Championship. 

The two always put on great matches together, and none were bigger than their showdown at No Mercy 2016. 

Miz’s Intercontinental Championship wasn’t the only thing on the line in this contest, as Ziggler vowed that if he couldn’t beat Miz his career was over. 

In a show-stealing performance, Ziggler defeated one of his greatest foes to win the championship for the fifth time. The Show Off would hold the gold this time around for 37 days. 

WWE Intercontinental Championship Pt 7
Miz One Ups The Show Off

Christian vs. The Miz – Intercontinental Championship Rematch: photos | WWE
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Not one to let the Intercontinental Championship stay out of his hands for long, Miz won the championship back from Ziggler on the November 15, 2016 episode of Smackdown Live. 

This would be the Miz’s sixth reign with the championship and it lasted 48 days. 

Ambrose Takes The Title To Raw

WWE Smackdown Results - 1/3/17 (Live from Jacksonville, Royal Rumble contract signing, Miz vs. Dean Ambrose) - WWE News, WWE Results, AEW News, AEW Results
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Dean Ambrose won his second Intercontinental Championship during the first Smackdown Live episode of 2017 when he defeated the Miz. 

After the victory, Ambrose shuffled over to Raw during the 2017 Superstar Shake-Up. 

Ambrose had an impressive reign with the title, holding it for 152 days. 

WWE Intercontinental Championship Pt 7
Lucky Number Seven

The 3 longest combined reigning Intercontinental Champions in WWE history | WWE
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Extreme Rules 2017 saw Dean Ambrose putting the title on the line against the Miz. 

The stipulation in this match was that if Ambrose got disqualified, he would lose the Intercontinental Championship. 

After various shenanigans between Miz and Maryse in an attempt to get Ambrose disqualified, a timely distraction from Maryse allowed Miz to hit a Skull Crushing Finale.

The move gave Miz his seventh Intercontinental Championship for his mantle. This reign would be another impressive one for the Miz’s Intercontinental legacy, lasting 169 days. 

Reigns One And Only

Roman Reigns wins the Intercontinental championship on Raw - Cageside Seats
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The Miz found himself in the crosshairs of a second Shield member in November 2017 when Roman Reigns came after the Intercontinental Championship. 

The two did battle on the November 20 episode of Raw, and Reigns picked up his only Intercontinental Championship victory. Reigns would hold the championship for 63 days. 

WWE Intercontinental Championship Pt 7
Another Milestone Show Victory

The Miz wins Intercontinental Championship on WWE Raw 25 - WON/F4W - WWE news, Pro Wrestling News, WWE Results, AEW News, AEW results
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Raw 25 celebrated 25 years of Monday Night Raw, and much like the 1,000 episode, the Miz made it a night to remember for himself. 

Continuous outside interference from Miz cohorts Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas proved too much for the Big Dog as Miz finished him off with a Skull Crushing Finale. This reign for the Miz, his eighth, lasted 75 days. 

Mania Show Stealer

Seth Rollins Achieves Amazing Feat As Intercontinental Champion
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By the time WrestleMania 34 came around, the Intercontinental Championship felt like a big deal once again.

A lot of that credit goes to the Miz, who made it feel like it was an important championship within the WWE. 

With momentum on the side of the title, a triple threat match between the Miz, Seth Rollins, and Finn Balor was scheduled to start the show.

There was no way these three, as super talented as they are, weren’t going to deliver a classic. They did just that. 

The action was nonstop from the opening bell, with each man shining in their own way. This night belonged to Rollins as he completed the Shield Intercontinental triangle. Rollins’ reign with the gold would last 71 days. 

WWE Intercontinental Championship Pt 7
Ziggler Moving Up The Ranks

WWE Raw: Dolph Ziggler beats Seth Rollins to take Intercontinental title | Sky Sports
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When you look at the history books, there aren’t many men who have held the Intercontinental Championship more times than Dolph ZigglerThe Show Off put together quite the resume when it comes to holding the IC strap. 

His final reign (so far) came during the June 18, 2018, Monday Night Raw when he defeated Seth Rollins. This would be his sixth reign, and it lasted 61 days. 

Rollins Second Go Round

WWE News: Seth Rollins achieves enormous feat as Intercontinental Champion
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Seth Rollins’ second and so far final reign with the Intercontinental Championship began when he defeated Dolph Ziggler at SummerSlam 2018. 

The victory gave Seth an Intercontinental win at WWE’s two biggest shows, WrestleMania and SummerSlam. 

This time, Rollins would hold the title for an impressive 119 days. His pedigree was another step in bringing back validity to the Intercontinental Championship. 

WWE Intercontinental Championship Pt 7
Third Time’s The Charm For Ambrose

WWE Rumours: Officials concerned over Dean Ambrose as the Intercontinental Champion
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TLC 2018 saw yet another version of Seth Rollins versus Dean Ambrose, only this time around the Intercontinental Championship was on the line. 

The two Shield brethren, as always, delivered an entertaining match, with Ambrose securing the victory. Ambrose’s final reign with the championship before jumping to AEW lasted just 28 days. 

Almighty Champion

Bobby Lashley Intercontinental Champion GIF - Bobby Lashley Intercontinental Champion Flex - Discover & Share GIFs
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Bobby Lashley joined the ranks of Intercontinental Champions during the second Monday Night Raw of 2019 when he defeated both Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose in a triple-threat match. 

An impressive way to win your first Intercontinental Championship for sure. His reign with the title would be far less impressive, lasting only 33 days. 

WWE Intercontinental Championship Pt 7
First Time For Balor

WWE News: Finn Balor Wins and Becomes The New Intercontinental Champion 2/18/19 - YouTube
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Finn Balor found himself in a feud with Bobby Lashley and Lashley’s sidekick Lio Rush at the start of 2019. 

Their feud was over the Intercontinental Championship and eventually led to a two on one handicap match at Elimination Chamber. 

Unfortunately for Champion Lashley, his lackey was pinned in the match, giving Finn Balor his first Intercontinental Championship. Balor would hold the title for just 21 days.

WWE Intercontinental Championship Pt 7
Lashley Takes It Back

Lio Rush Reveals WWE's Championship Plans for Him at WrestleMania 35
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It wasn’t long before Bobby Lashley won the title back from Finn Balor. Three weeks after losing it, Lashley defeated Balor on the March 11 episode of Raw. 

This time, Lashley would hold it for just 27 days before a demon arrived. 

Demon Finn Mania Splash

Demon' Finn Balor Captures The Intercontinental Championship - WrestleTalk
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With their rivalry over the Intercontinental Championship rising in intensity, Finn Balor knew he needed a little extra if he was going to defeat Bobby Lashley at the Grandest Stage of them All, WrestleMania 35. 

So he went to his dark side and brought out the demon. Talk about a spectacle seeing the demon enter at WrestleMania. 

The strategy worked as he defeated Lashley in just over four minutes. This time with the belt, Balor held it for 98 days as part of Smackdown. 

WWE Intercontinental Championship Pt 7 –
Shinsuke Era

Shinsuke Nakamura Wins WWE Intercontinental Title - SE Scoops | Wrestling News, Results & Interviews
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When Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Finn Balor at Extreme Rules 2019, no one realized they were about to witness one of the longest reigns since Cody Rhodes. 

Nakamura, with a new design for the belt, held the title for an impressive 201 days. His reign places him in the top 20 longest reigns of all time. 

Monster Among Champions

WWE Smackdown Results: Braun Strowman Crowned New Intercontinental Champion, Corbin Gets Covered in Dog Food | India.com
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The man who ended Nakamura’s reign with the title was none other than Braun Strowman. 

Even though he was a monster champion, his reign wasn’t all that impressive. 

In total, Strowman’s only reign with the championship lasted just 36 days. 

WWE Intercontinental Championship Pt 7
Zayn Reigns

Sami Zayn Reacts After Winning WWE Intercontinental Title
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Braun Strowman found himself in a tough spot during the 2020 Elimination Chamber when he defended the Intercontinental Championship in a three-on-one match. 

His opponents were Sami Zayn, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Cesaro. 

The numbers game was too much even for the Monster Among Men, as Sami Zayn ended the match as the new Intercontinental Champion. 

Zayn’s first reign ended in dubious fashion after 65 days when he was forced to vacate it due to not competing during the COVID pandemic. 

Tournament Champion AJ Styles

AJ Styles is still your Intercontinental champion - Cageside Seats
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With the title once again vacated, a tournament was held to crown a new champion, and you couldn’t end with a better pairing than they did. 

In the finals on the June 8, 2020, episode of Smackdown, it was AJ Styles versus Daniel Bryan for the Intercontinental Championship. 

As always, these two delivered the goods, with Styles getting the victory, earning his first and only Intercontinental Championship. Styles’ time with the belt lasted 71 days. 

WWE Intercontinental Championship Pt 7
Hardy’s Back

Jeff Hardy Wins WWE IC Title In ThunderDome On SmackDown
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Jeff Hardy went 14 years in between his Intercontinental Championship reigns. He became IC Champion for the fifth time during the August 21, 2020, episode of Smackdown when he defeated AJ Styles. His reign this time lasted 36 days before the “real” Intercontinental Champion came back. 

Zayn Is The Champion

Sami Zayn reflects on 2020 Intercontinental run, carrying Canada's WWE torch
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Having not actually lost the Intercontinental Championship, Sami Zayn returned to Smackdown in the fall of 2020, proclaiming to be the real Intercontinental Champion. 

His feud with Hardy reignited interest in the title, and at Clash of Champions, Zayn solidified his claim by winning the title outright in a triple threat ladder match with Hardy and Styles.

This time around, Zayn would hold the belt for 89 days. 

WWE Intercontinental Championship Pt 7
Second Time For Big E

WWE SmackDown results and grades: Big E wins IC Title on Christmas Day | Metro News
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Much like Jeff Hardy, Big E went a few years between his Intercontinental Title reigns, seven years to be exact. 

During the December 22, 2020, episode of Smackdown, Big E picked up a huge victory, defeating Jeff Hardy to become Intercontinental Champion for the second time. 

His reign, which lasted 107 days, was another solid step in legitimizing the IC Title once again. 

WrestleMania Spotlight

Apollo Crews WWE Intercontinental Championship challenge tweet answered by an NXT Superstar
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With Big E as Intercontinental Champion, the WWE had a baby face title holder they could really build up. He needed a villainous counterpart to help make his reign even more meaningful. 

Insert Apollo Crews, whose transformation to the militant Nigerian made him a credible threat. 

At WrestleMania 37, Big E and Crews met in a Nigerian Drum Fight, and Crews got the biggest win of his WWE career, becoming Intercontinental Champion. Like Big E, Crews had a stellar reign, lasting 123 days. 

WWE Intercontinental Championship Pt 7
King Nakamura

King Nakamura Celebrates His WWE Intercontinental Title Win
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With a 200-plus-day reign under his belt already, Shinsuke Nakamura became Intercontinental Champion for the second time when he defeated Apollo Crews on the August 13, 2021, episode of Smackdown.

Proving his first reign was no fluke, Nakamura held the title this time around for 189 days. His two reigns lasting close to 400 days total, makes Nakamura one of the top Intercontinental Champions of the last decade. 

A big reason why the prestige of the title was once again beginning to shine. 

Zayn For Three

Sami Zayn Wins Third Intercontinental Championship
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Sami Zayn and Nakamura were once partners, so when Zayn ended the King’s second, it had a little more emotion behind it.

This third reign of Zayn’s was easily his weakest, lasting just 13 days. 

WWE Intercontinental Championship Pt 7
Ricochet Wins Big

Ricochet Reveals What He Needs WWE Officials To Do To Empower Him
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Ricochet is one of the most athletically talented stars in the WWE currently. His high-flying ability is second to none.

In March of 2022, he earned arguably the biggest win of his WWE career, defeating Sami Zayn to become Intercontinental Champion. 

He responded to the pressure of holding WWE’s top mid-card championship with a solid reign that lasted 98 days. Little did he know the man who would take it from him would rewrite all the history books. 


Gunther's Intercontinental Championship reign stays intact with win at WrestleMania 39
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For 666 days (yes, that’s an ominous number), GUNTHER proudly held the Intercontinental Championship. The Ring General brought a new standard to being Intercontinental Champion.

A standard which has placed him at the very top of the list of wrestlers who have held the championship. He set out with a goal of bringing the prestige back to the IC Title and he did just that.

Title defenses came against a who’s who of current starts, including the likes of Jey Uso, Chad Gable, The Miz, Sheamus, Drew McIntyre, and Sami Zayn.

It was the latter that ended Gunther’s historic reign at WrestleMania not even a week ago. Their Intercontinental clash at the Showcase of the Immortals, was the perfect storm of a dominant champion finally being bested by a determined and more than worthy challenger. 

Now that Gunther’s reign has ended, its on Sami Zayn to continue holding the title with the amount of pride his predecessor had.

The Intercontinental Championship, as you can tell from this look back at it’s lineage, is one of the prestigious championships in wrestling.

Now it is back where it belongs as a championship desired by many because of what it means historically and what it can do for the reset of their career.