~DISC 1 – THE 1980s~
MATCH #1: WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship Match – Pat Patterson© vs. Ted DiBiase, Madison Square Garden, 10.22.79
This is the oldest match I’ve ever reviewed at the time of this writing. Patterson officially became the champion on 9.15.79. It’s interesting to see DiBiase before he became the Million Dollar Man. This match is the main event of the show. Patterson does a large amount of stalling before the match. DiBiase is on fire in the early going, whipping Patterson around and not letting him take his ring jacket off. Patterson takes a powder, and when he comes back in DiBiase goes to work on the arm. DiBiase is the man Patterson won the North American Title from, and he won the South American Title in a tournament in Rio de Janeiro, thus unifying the two titles to the Intercontinental Championship we know and love today. Patterson makes a brief comeback and then misses a charge in the corner, ramming his own shoulder into the ring post. DiBiase puts on an abdominal stretch. Patterson escapes, but the challenger is able to put it on again. The champion rakes the eyes to escape the hold, and then goes to work with punches and chokes on the challenger. DiBiase comes back with a dropkick attempt, but Patterson moves out of the way. Patterson tries to use brass knuckles but DiBiase takes them away and goes to use them himself. He charges and Patterson picks up the legs and uses the ropes for leverage to pin DiBiase and retain the title at 7:54. DiBiase plays the plucky babyface really well, as every time I watch him I seem to get new respect for his greatness. The match was a solid back and forth but didn’t get much time to develop beyond that.
MATCH #2: WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship Match – Ken Patera© vs. Pedro Morales, Madison Square Garden, 10.20.80
Patera beat Pat Patterson for the title back on 4.21.80. Morales charges to the ring and attacks Patera right away, and the crowd goes BALLISTIC. That man is over. Patera bails and takes this time getting back to the ring. When he does Morales is all over him and I can’t believe how crazy this crowd is. You never really hear that much about Morales anymore, but damn. Patera fights back with some dirty tricks, and slams Morales on the concrete floor. He throws Morales’s shoulder into the ring post, and then chokes him just to be a jerk. Patera then settles in with a front face lock. Morales suplexes his way out of it and gets a near fall. He fires up and the crowd comes unglued every time he does something. Patera fights back with some knee lifts and reassumes control of the match. He uses a bear hug but Morales won’t quit. He even gets a cover by falling on Patera and almost wins the title. Patera doesn’t let go of the hold though, and now he’s got him on the mat with a bear hug. I don’t think many moves could look gayer than that one does. The challenger is finally able to escape the hold, but Patera stays aggressive and hits an elbow drop for two. They slug it out and the referee tries to break them up out of the corner but they both keep shoving him aside so he has no choice but to call for the bell at 16:19. Some guys from the back come out to split them up. The official decision is a double-disqualification. The match was a ton of fun because the crowd was so into Morales, but they could have shortened it and not had the bear hug go on forever. Even so, good stuff.
MATCH #3: WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship Match – Pedro Morales© vs. The Magnificent Muraco, Madison Square Garden, 12.28.82
Morales has been champion since 11.23.81. This is the second match from this show to be featured on a DVD, after Ray Stevens versus Jimmy Snuka from The Best of Confidential Volume 1. We’re still waiting for Volume Two! They stall for a bit to start. Morales gains the first advantage with the side headlock. The challenger fires up and Muraco takes a powder to halt his momentum. Muraco comes back with a low blow out of the view of the referee. The champion goes to work now, getting several near falls. He throws Morales outside the ring and goes out after him. He slams his back into the steel guardrail and puts the boots to him. Morales works his way back towards the ring and Muraco suplexes him back in for a two-count. A dropkick sends Morales back to the floor. Muraco follows him out and just unloads right hands on him. Morales recovers on the floor and comes back in with his fists flying. This time he sends Muraco to the floor and rams him into the guardrail. Back in the ring Morales continues to be on offense. He slugs at Muraco in the corner and the referee tries to break them up. Morales accidentally shoves him down, but then Muraco deliberately boots him in the gut to get disqualified at 14:25. That’s a pretty lousy finish, but the match got pretty good once it got going. The fight continues as both competitors ignore the bell. The official decision is a double-disqualification, though I don’t really get that. Gorilla doesn’t either, so I know I’m not crazy.
MATCH #4: Steel Cage Match for the WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship – The Magnificent Muraco© vs. Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka, Madison Square Garden, 10.17.83
The best part of this match is that on a recent episode of WWE Legends on 24/7, Ric Flair killed a piece of Mick Foley’s innocence by telling him that Snuka splashed him off the cage about 300 times way before he did it to Muraco that night. They may say they’re friends, but I like to think that Flair still does hate Foley, and if anyone saw that on 24/7 I think they’ll see what I mean.
Muraco has been the champion since 1.22.83. Man, Muraco was so cool, such a great heel. He cuts an awesome backstage promo before the match. It’s all Snuka in the early going and the crowd is solidly behind him. Muraco comes back and slingshots Snuka into the cage, busting him wide open. They fight up on the ropes, and nothing really happens up there. Muraco continues to control the match, but Snuka is able to stop him from going out the door. Snuka fights back and busts Muraco’s head open and now they’re both bleeding! Snuka hits a headbutt, and then a second one. However, before Snuka could hit it Muraco asks for the door to be open, and the momentum of Snuka hitting his head against Muraco’s, the champion falls through the door and wins the match at 6:46.
Of course we know the action doesn’t end there, as Snuka drags Muraco back into the cage and climbs all the way to the top and hits a devastating Superfly Splash. The moment is definitely an iconic one (thanks in large part to Mick Foley), but the actual match isn’t all that special. It was really short and never really developed, but it’s definitely required viewing.
MATCH #5: Lumberjack Match for the WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship – Greg Valentine© vs. Tito Santana, Madison Square Garden, 3.17.85
This is just a couple of weeks before WrestleMania in the same building. Valentine took the title from Santana back on 10.13.84. Valentine attacks right away and goes to work on Santana with elbows. Santana comes back and Valentine tries to powder but the babyface lumberjacks throw him right back in. The challenger continues to go after the champion while dealing with shenanigans from the lumberjacks. Santana stays in control as Valentine tries to escape but the lumberjacks of course prevent it. For some reason the bell rings and neither Gorilla Monsoon nor Mean Gene on commentary acknowledges it. Valentine takes control and tries working on the leg. Santana gets a small package for two and tries to fire up, but Valentine forearms him down. The challenger finally does make the comeback and hits a suplex. I love how the 1985 crowd pops for a vertical suplex. Santana tries the figure-four but Valentine avoids it and tries to escape once again. The lumberjacks toss him right back in. Santana tries the figure-four again and this time he gets it. Jimmy Hart distracts the referee and the lumberjacks help Valentine reach the ropes. Santana is angry and goes after Big John Studd and pays for it. They slug away at each other and Santana throws Valentine into the ropes. He comes back and they knock heads. Valentine happens to fall on Santana and he gets the pin at 14:59. It was the usual good match between these two.
MATCH #6: WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship Match – Tito Santana© vs. Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage, Boston Garden, 2.8.86
Santana won the title back from Greg Valentine on 7.23.85. They fight over a lockup to start, with both guys looking intense. Santana tries to be the aggressor early on, so Savage avoids him until he can gain an advantage. He gets several near falls but Santana is tough. He throws the champion to the floor and hits another double axe handle off the top rope. Back in the ring Santana is able to come back and ram Savage’s head into the turnbuckle and delivers a couple of forearms to the chest. He follows up with a flying elbow off the second rope for two. Santana whips Savage into the corner but his face runs into Savage’s knee, and that gets a two-count. Savage actually lands on Davis on the kick-out, which makes him slow to get to the count on Santana’s inside cradle and Savage kicks out. The challenger tries a knee drop and misses, and Santana is like a shark with blood in the water. He locks on the figure-four leglock and Savage is writhing in pain. Savage takes a powder on the ring apron and appears to take a foreign object out of his tights. Santana suplexes him back in the ring and tries another figure-four but Savage kicks him off. Savage once again goes to the apron and this time procures an object. He swings wildly and misses, and Santana tries to back suplex him into the ring, but this time Savage hits him with the object and falls on top for the pin at 10:29. The crowd pops pretty big for a heel in 1986. Savage was amazing at this point, and Tito was so underrated. They had good chemistry together and I’m sure could have had an even better match if given more time.
MATCH #7: WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship Match – Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage© vs. Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat, WrestleMania III, 3.29.87
Savage has been the champion since 2.8.86. I’ve seen this match about a million times but I’ve never reviewed it. Steamboat cuts the best promo of his life before the match. Savage tries to stall early on, but Steamboat is undeterred, hitting a series of armdrags. He lifts Savage up by the throat and tosses the champion down. Savage gets Steamboat to chase him outside the ring and then hits an elbow when they get back in the ring. They trade control back and forth, both being aggressive with each other. Savage continually throws Steamboat to the floor, and the champion has finally gained a firm advantage. Back in the ring Savage hits an axe handle off the top rope and an elbow to the face for a two-count. Savage stays in control for a bit, until he charges at Steamboat up against the ropes, and Steamboat back drops him all the way to the floor. Ventura calls for a DQ, but that’s never bee against the rules in WWE as far as I’ve ever heard. Back in the ring Steamboat hits a chop to the head off the top rope and that gets two and the crowd is buying Steamboat right now. Steamboat throws some chops, which Ventura says are illegal since they’re in the eyes. How many rules is he going to make up tonight? Savage tries to bail but Steamboat is able to catch him with a series of pinning combinations for a bunch of near falls. The referee inadvertently gets bumped and Savage looks to take advantage. He hits the Macho Elbow but with no referee there is no count. He goes outside and grabs the ring bell, and that’s how this whole thing got started. George ‘The Animal’ Steele stops him from using it though. Savage tries a bodyslam but Steamboat rolls through to get the pin at 14:35. Like there’s any mystery what rating this match gets.
MATCH #8: WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship Match – Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat© vs. Honky Tonk Man, Superstars, 6.13.87
The DVD lists the match as June 2, 1987, which was the day it was taped, but I prefer to list matches by their airdate. Steamboat has been the champion since 3.29.87. This is my first time ever seeing this match, I think. Honky wastes no time attacking the champion, trying to throw him out to the floor. Steamboat skins the cat, fends off the attempted interference of Jimmy Hart, and tosses Honky to the floor. He suplexes him back in the ring and it’s all Steamboat now. Honky briefly gains control but Steamboat fights right back. Honky tries the Shake Rattle N’ Roll but Steamboat is able to counter it. The champion appears to have this match well in hand. He hits a chop to the head off the top rope but Hart is distracting the referee. Steamboat goes after Hart, and somehow in all the confusion Honky is able to hold Steamboat down for a shocking three-count at 3:53. That was a good four-minute match and kicked off the longest reign in the history of the Intercontinental Title, one I’m sure we’ll never see duplicated.
MATCH #9: WWE Intercontinental Championship Match – Honky Tonk Man© vs. Ultimate Warrior, SummerSlam, 8.29.88
Honky’s opponent was supposed to be Brutus Beefcake, but Outlaw Ron Bass carved up his forehead, so it’s mystery opponent time. The Ultimate Warrior comes running out from Parts Unknown, slams Honky, and delivers a shoulder block, a clothesline, and a big splash. He gets the pin and ends the longest Intercontinental Title reign of all-time in just 0:31. It obviously wasn’t much of a match but is a prime example of ending a title reign in the perfect way and a very iconic moment in WWE history.
MATCH #10: WWE Intercontinental Championship Match – Ravishing Rick Rude© vs. Ultimate Warrior, SummerSlam, 8.28.89
Rude starts off cautiously, and with good reason because Warrior quickly unloads on him and clotheslines him to the apron. The champ tries to come back in with a sunset flip but Warrior blocks it with a punch. Warrior then picks Rude up in a Gorilla Slam and dumps him to the floor! He follows him out and slams Rude into the apron and then the timekeeper’s table. Warrior hits Rude with the title belt, which should be a disqualification. In one of Jesse Ventura’s finest moments, he calls this out and Schiavone defends it by saying it’s okay because they’re outside the ring. Ventura retorts: “What are you gonna tell me Schiavone, you can shoot somebody outside the ring as long as it’s outside the ring? You know, you’re even dumber than Monsoon!” He continues the outrage as Warrior throws Rude back in the ring and then hurls him right back outside. Back in the ring Warrior goes up top and hits a double axe handle for two. Warrior continues to work on Rude, whipping him into the buckles and slamming him down to the mat. He hits a vertical suplex for another two-count. He follows up with an inverted atomic drop and then mocks Rude’s hip gyration. He then picks Rude up and simply drops him on his ass, like a Bubba Bomb but without the Full Nelson. The challenger goes up top again and this time Rude crotches him. Now Rude takes control of the Warrior, landing a vertical suplex for two. Rude goes to work on Warrior’s back, which is a smart move. He goes for the Rude Awakening but Warrior powers out! Unfortunately for Warrior, he misses a clothesline and Rude hops on his back with a sleeper. Warrior powers up and hits a chinbreaker to break the hold, and then runs the ropes and both men collide, taking the referee down with them. Rude is first to his feet and unloads with roundhouse right hands but Warrior shrugs them off and hits him with a back drop. Warrior hits a series of clotheslines and a powerslam but there’s no referee to count. He picks Rude up and drills him with a piledriver. Referee Joey Marella recovers and crawls over to make the count but Rude gets his foot on the bottom rope! Warrior hits a running powerslam and goes for the big splash but Rude gets his knees up. Now Rude hits a modified piledriver that honestly looked pretty dangerous but it only gets two. Rude goes up top and hits a fist drop as the fans go nuts. Warrior kicks out at two, as we learn that the fans’ reaction is for “Rowdy” Roddy Piper making his way to ringside. Rude hits a traditional piledriver but it only gets two! He then argues with Piper and gets mooned for his trouble. He climbs up to the second rope and Warrior pulls him down with a belly-to-back suplex. Warrior then hits a running shoulderblock. He follows up with the Gorilla Press Slam and Splash to the Back for the pin and his second Intercontinental Championship at 16:02. That was easily Warrior’s best match to that point, and the only thing I would have changed about it was Piper coming out; Warrior didn’t need any help. But as far as the match, Warrior was on top of his game and Rude was the perfect opponent for him.
~DISC 2 – THE 1990s~
MATCH #11: WWE Intercontinental Championship Match – Mr. Perfect© vs. Bret ‘Hit Man’ Hart, SummerSlam, 8.26.91
I believe this is Bret’s first singles match on pay-per-view. Bret’s parents Stu and Helen are in the audience tonight. Perfect is accompanied by Coach, the third manager of his WWE career. Bret gets an early takedown and he looks confident. He gets a crucifix for two and then goes to the side headlock. Perfect tries to use the hair to escape, so Bret gives it right back to him. He gets a cross body block for two, and Perfect’s kick-out sends Bret to the floor. He gets right back in with a sunset flip for two and goes right back to the side headlock. Perfect escapes but Bret has a counter for everything he tries. He takes a powder and heads to the back but Bret goes out and grabs him, ripping his gear in the process. Perfect takes a cheap shot and finally goes on offense. He knocks Bret off the apron and he takes out a camera man on his way down. Back in the ring the champion stays in control. Perfect tries a sleeper and Bret fights out and tries a crucifix, but Perfect slams him down for two. He then hits the Perfect-Plex and Bret kicks out, and he’s the second person to do that after Hulk Hogan, but Heenan, Piper, and Monsoon try to sell it on commentary like he was the first. Bret unloads with a flurry of offense and several near falls but can’t put the champ away. He gets frustrated with the referee after one particularly close near fall, which gives Perfect the chance to score an O’Connor roll for two. They go to the floor and Bret whips Perfect off the ring post. Back in the ring Bret goes for the Sharpshooter and Coach gets up on the apron, and the distraction allows Perfect to kick Bret in the groin. He then drops a leg on the groin region. He tries a second one, but Bret grabs his leg and rolls him into the Sharpshooter and Perfect immediately submits to win his first singles title at 18:02. That match really holds up over time and was a passing of the torch kind of match. Bret would then go on to be even more successful in WWE than Mr. Perfect was.
MATCH #12: WWE Intercontinental Championship Match – Bret ‘Hit Man’ Hart© vs. British Bulldog, SummerSlam, 8.31.92
This match was taped on August 29, 1992, but didn’t air on American pay-per-view until two days later, so that’s the date I recognize. Hart has been the champion since 4.5.92, when he beat Roddy Piper at WrestleMania VIII. I don’t think many people often mention that this is the second largest live crowd in WWE history, after WrestleMania III of course. They try to psyche each other out in the early going. Bulldog shows his power advantage early, and Hart comes back with some scientific wrestling. The challenger comes back by going after Hart’s arm. The champion weathers the storm and starts systematically wearing the challenger down. Bulldog gets a few hope spots in there but Hart is able to thwart his comeback attempts. He even abuses Bulldog outside the ring. Bret continues to dominate, and really wears Bulldog down with a sleeper. Bulldog fights his way out of it and press slams Hart into the ropes, which I’m surprised to say I don’t think I’ve seen anyone do since then. Although if you believe Bret Hart, Bulldog probably just dropped him accidentally because he was sucking so much wind the entire match. Bulldog gets some offense in now and Hart withstands his attacks. He even kicks out of the Running Powerslam, and winds up with a German Suplex for two. Bulldog comes back with a huge superplex but it only gets two. Hart comes back and locks on the Sharpshooter and Bulldog reaches the ropes. Moments later Hart tries a sunset flip and Bulldog kneels down and hooks the legs to get the pin at 25:11. Bret claims he held Bulldog’s hand through that match (which is a feasible story), but however they did it this match still holds up as awesome.
MATCH #13: Ladder Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship – Razor Ramon© vs. Shawn Michaels, WrestleMania X, 3.20.94
Ramon has been the champion since 10.11.93. Ric Flair basically describes this match as “Shawn Michaels wrestling a ladder while Scott Hall was there.” They start with some pretty basic wrestling and Michaels throws Ramon to the floor, where Diesel levels him with a clothesline. Unfortunately for the challenger, the referee saw him do it and throws him out! Ramon is invigorated by his good fortune but it doesn’t last. He tries the Razor’s Edge but he’s too close to the ropes and Michaels back drops him to the floor. Michaels goes after the ladder, and winds up kicking it into Ramon’s midsection. It’s all Michaels now, as he creatively uses the ladder as a weapon. Michaels tries to climb the ladder, and we wind up seeing his ass instead. He gets a few more moves before Ramon can make a comeback. Now it’s all Ramon, and he too finds creative ways to use the ladder as a weapon. They go back and forth with the crowd getting louder with each new and awesome move. Michaels gets knocked off the ladder and gets tied up in the ropes, and Ramon takes the opportunity to climb up and grab the belts at 18:49. That’s another match that holds up remarkably well, as the psychology remain sound and Ramon’s selling for his smaller opponent was perfect. And what else can be said about Shawn Michaels? I also disagree with Flair; I think Ramon did his part, and there’s really no shame in being outshone by Shawn Michaels.
MATCH #14: WWE Intercontinental Championship Match – Razor Ramon© vs. Jeff Jarrett, Royal Rumble, 1.22.95
I’m not really sure why WWE fans voted this match in, I don’t remember it being particularly good or memorable. Ramon has been the champion since 8.29.94. Ramon easily controls his challenger in the early going, even busting out a chokeslam. Jarrett powders and comes back in with a little bit of offense and can’t help but gloat. Ramon soon regains control and Jarrett powders again. His stalling is almost at Zbyszko level. He finally gets back in the ring and they go back and forth, with the Florida crowd fully in support of the champion. Jarrett takes control and wears Ramon down, eventually going to the sleeper. Ramon escapes it but Jarrett gets a neckbreaker and tries using the ropes for leverage on the pin cover but Ramon kicks out anyway. Jarrett stays one step ahead of Ramon, and dumps him to the floor. Ramon appears to have injured his knee, and the Roadie makes it worse when he clips it from behind. Ramon can’t make it back to the ring and gets counted out at 11:45.
Jarrett appears upset about the countout since that means he doesn’t win the title, but then why didn’t he even try to get Ramon back into the ring? He challenges Ramon to come back to the ring and re-defend the title. He calls him yellow, so Ramon comes back to the ring and we restart the match at 14:34. Jarrett wisely goes right to work on the leg. He eventually puts on the figure-four but Ramon punches his way out of it. Ramon valiantly fights back with right hands. He goes for the super back suplex and Jarrett falls back on him, but Ramon reverses his reversal and gets a two-count. He motions for the Razor’s Edge but his leg gives out and Jarrett capitalizes with a small package to get the pin and win the title for the first time at 20:54. The match was pretty bland most of the way through, and the stop and restart didn’t really catch on with the live crowd.
MATCH #15: WWE Intercontinental Championship Match – Rocky Maivia vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin©, In Your House: D-Generation X, 12.7.97
Austin has been the champion since 11.9.97. I’ve actually never seen this match, and Grisham says that this match was the runaway favorite in the fan voting, so there must be a lot more like me out there. Austin drives his truck down to ringside, and before the match can even start the Nation administer a beat down on the champion. D-Lo Brown charges and gets back body dropped onto the truck, and then takes a Stone Cold Stunner. Austin gets back in the ring and the bell finally rings. It’s all brawling, and Maivia sends Austin to the floor so that the Nation can interfere some more. Austin takes them out, but back in the ring Maivia assumes control of this fight. His move set was pretty limited here. Austin somehow Stuns the referee but the camera misses it. Maivia takes the opportunity to pull out his brass knuckles, and Austin ducks a punch and hits the Stunner to get the pin at 5:31. Well now I can say I’ve seen it. The match was not technically very good but this is the kind of stuff people were salivating to watch Austin do at this time so the overbooking worked as was the right thing to do in this case.
MATCH #16: 2 out of 3 Falls for the WWE Intercontinental Championship – Triple H vs. The Rock©, In Your House: Fully Loaded, 7.26.98
Rock has been champion since 12.8.97. There will be a one-minute rest period in between falls, and the time limit is 30 minutes. They’re Even Stevens in the early going, with both men trying to assert their dominance. Chyna interferes early on to give Triple H an advantage. They fight outside the ring for a bit. Back inside Rock takes the advantage on the challenger. He beats Triple H down for quite a while, and then Mark Henry comes out and splashes Triple H on the floor. Billy Gunn comes down and runs him off. We’re about 15 minutes in according to JR, and a whole lot of not much has happened. They continue to do not much, and The Godfather comes out to watch. The New Age Outlaws run out and send him to the back. Rock distracts the referee, and D-Lo Brown comes out and tries to interfere. Triple H takes care of him, but then turns around right into a Rock Bottom to end the first fall at 20:17. They take a one-minute rest period, and when they resume Rock stays totally in control. Rock hits the People’s Elbow, which was just starting to get a good following. Chyna distracts the referee, allowing X-Pac to sneak in and deliver the X-Factor to the Intercontinental Champion, but Rock kicks out at two. A chair gets introduced, and the referee gets drilled with it. With no ref, Chyna gets in the ring and punches Rock in the sack, and then delivers a DDT onto said chair. The ref recovers and Triple H makes the cover and evens the score at one fall apiece at 26:29. The referee recovered way to quickly from that chair shot to the back. They take a minute rest period and Triple H covers Rock right away but the referees are all attending to the injured ref so no one is there to count. Hebner finally runs down to make the count but Rock kicks out. They fight back and forth and Triple H hits the Pedigree but the referee won’t count. He tells Triple H it’s over, and then the bell rings at 30:00. That looked very awkward and botched. The match was slow, overbooked, and painfully dull, and those two guys shouldn’t have been given more than 15 minutes at this time.
MATCH #17: Good Housekeeping Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship – Jeff Jarrett© vs. Chyna, No Mercy, 10.17.99
Jarrett has been the champion since 8.22.99, which began his sixth reign. Chyna controls the early going and brings the weapons into it within the first two minutes. She also throws food at Jarrett, and generally abuses him around ringside. She tries to elbow Jarrett off the apron through a table but he moves and Chyna crashes through the table to the floor. Everyone plays with food some more, and Chyna dumps some concoction over Miss Kitty’s head. Jarrett recovers and puts on the figure-four leglock, and Chyna reaches the ropes. The champion comes off the ropes and gets punched in the groin, and then Chyna pinches them with tongs. She hits Jarrett with the kitchen sink and Jarrett kicks out. Chyna tries a Pedigree, but referee Teddy Long gets bumped. Jarrett blasts Chyna in the face with the title belt and gets the pin? Then for some reason Teddy Long decides that since the championship belt is not a household item, he cannot win the match that way. Jarrett goes to put the figure-four on Long, which gives Chyna the opportunity to blast the guitar over Jarrett’s head to get the pin and win the title at 8:37. The brawling was pretty weak and the re-start for the finish didn’t do the match any favors either. It was fun at the time but it hasn’t aged well.
~DISC 3 – THE 2000s~
MATCH #18: WWE Intercontinental Championship Match – Chris Jericho© vs. Kurt Angle, No Way Out, 2.27.00
Jericho has been the champion since 1.3.00, and this is Angle’s first shot at it. Angle is already the European Champion. Chyna accompanies Jericho to ringside, and for some reason she gets her own entrance. They start out quickly, with Jericho just a step ahead of Angle, so he gets slapped in the face. Jericho doesn’t take too kindly to that and continues to beat on his challenger. Angle gets a drop toehold but then gets back body dropped to the floor. Jericho follows up with his springboard dropkick. They battle outside the ring and Angle whips Jericho into the ring steps but Jericho counters with an Asai moonsault. I daresay these two would have a much different match if they wrestled today. Back in the ring Angle is able to hit a super belly-to-belly suplex. Jericho kicks out at two but Angle stays in control. He gets a couple of near falls and neutralizes Jericho’s offense and works on the arm. Jericho makes his signature (at the time) comeback and the crowd is into it. The flying forearm gets two. Angle tries a rana (which I don’t think he’s ever done), and Jericho counters to the double powerbomb for a near fall, which Angle reverses to a cross-armbreaker. Jericho reaches the ropes. Angle then hits the Angle Slam but Jericho kicks out at two! Angle brings the belt in, but Jericho stops him before he can use it and locks on the Walls of Jericho, and Angle reaches the ropes. They go back outside the ring and Angle takes a swing at Chyna with the European Title. Chyna takes a bump into the steps and while the referee is checking on her Jericho suplexes Angle back into the ring, right near the Intercontinental belt. Jericho goes for the Lionsault but Angle gets the belt up into Jericho’s face and wins the title at 10:14. Both guys looked eager to impress and did some cool stuff. The finish was creative and they pulled it off so that it didn’t look contrived.
MATCH #19: Triple Threat Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship – Eddie Guerrero© vs. Chris Jericho vs. X-Pac, Smackdown, 10.12.00
Guerrero has been the champion since 9.4.00. Jericho and X-Pac were feuding at this point, she they go right after each other. Guerrero tries to get involved but Jericho is deciding who is and isn’t controlling the offensive flow of the match. All three men go to the floor and X-Pac levels Jericho with a spin kick. Back in the ring X-Pac hits the Bronco Buster on Jericho. Guerrero gets back involved and he and X-Pac double team Jericho for a bit before Guerrero turns on him. Jericho takes control and throws X-Pac to the floor, and then hits a Lionsault on Guerrero. X-Pac pulls Jericho off and hits the X-Factor, and Guerrero kicks X-Pac to the floor and steals a cover and the win at 3:50. That was fine for the time given, but it’s not like you can do much in less than four minutes.
MATCH #20: WWE Intercontinental Championship Match – Triple H© vs. Jeff Hardy, Smackdown, 4.12.01
Triple H had just beaten Jericho for the title one week ago. Hardy attacked HHH, Stone Cold, and even hit Stephanie with a Twist of Fate earlier tonight, so HHH comes down to the ring pissed off. Hardy gets some offense in and a couple of near falls, but HHH continually overpowers him. HHH tosses Hardy to the floor, and when he tries to run the guardrail on him HHH catches him and slams him. Hardy tries to jump off the apron and gets the exact same treatment. Back in the ring HHH hits the Harley Race knee and instead of going for a cover he punches him in the face a few times. HHH goes to the sleeper and Hardy breaks it up with a chinbreaker. Hardy hits a side Russian Legsweep, and Cole and Tazz think HHH executed it. In their defense it was awkward looking. Hardy goes up to the top rope and HHH shoves the referee into the ropes. Tim White gets in HHH’s face about it so HHH shoves him down. HHH goes up to superplex Hardy, but Matt Hardy comes out and nails HHH with a chair and Jeff hits the Swanton for the major upset at 8:07. Matt was supposedly at home with injuries so it was a surprise to see him there. The match was a pretty good underdog babyface overcoming the odds display, and a big win for Jeff. He would lose it back to HHH on Raw four days later, but it was still a big moment.
MATCH #21: WWE Intercontinental VS. European Championship Ladder Match – Rob Van Dam© vs. Jeff Hardy, Raw, 7.22.02
I was at this show live. Hardy has been the European Champion since 7.8.02, and RVD has been the Intercontinental Champion since 5.27.02 (and he won it in a ladder match). This is the first match of the Eric Bischoff regime on Raw. As one would expect both guys are offensive minded in the early going. The ladder gets involved pretty quickly, and RVD is the first to climb it. Hardy pulls him down and dumps the ladder on its side. They both bring a ladder into the ring and try to use them as weapons. RVD is able to try climbing once again, but Hardy executes a Russian legsweep off the ladder. He sets a ladder on RVD and hits a Swanton Bomb. Hardy takes forever to climb the ladder, so RVD joins him up there and hits a sweet looking sunset bomb. RVD then hits Rolling Thunder. He climbs one ladder, so Hardy gets up and hits him in the kidneys with another ladder. Hardy then climbs that ladder and RVD kicks the ladder out from under him for a very scary looking bump. RVD then hits the Five-Star Frog Splash off the top of the ladder. That’s enough for RVD to climb up the ladder and unify the Intercontinental and European Titles at 6:56. That was all spot-spot-spot, but they did a good job with the seven minutes they got.
MATCH #22: WWE Intercontinental Championship Match – Edge vs. Randy Orton©, Vengeance, 7.11.04
Orton has been the champion since 12.14.03, and this is his tenth defense. Edge has been the champion on four previous occasions. They start off Edge getting Orton in a headlock. He knocks Orton down with a shoulderblock and they lock up again. This time Orton gets control and goes after the arm. Orton also uses the headlock. They do a criss-cross sequence followed by more headlock. Edge gets a couple of knockdowns so Orton powders. He comes back in the ring and gains control, as the crowd feels listless. The fight eventually spills to the floor and Edge takes control out there. Back in the ring he tries to hit a Spear but gets kicked in the face, and Orton hits his back cracker for two. That leads to a long heat segment on Edge, with plenty of rest holds from Orton. Edge fights back and hits a dropkick and a neckbreaker and we get the double count. They get up and Edge is soon able to hit the Edge-O-Matic for two. Edge hits a cross body off the top rope and Orton rolls through and gets a two-count. He thumbs Edge in the eye and then removes one of the turnbuckle pads. The referee goes to put the turnbuckle pad on and Edge gets a small package but the referee doesn’t see it. Edge argues, and that gives Orton the chance to resume control. The challenger comes back and hits the Impaler for two. Lawler and Ross’s commentary in this match is really annoying. Orton tries a Double Cheat, by dropping Edge’s face on the exposed turnbuckle and putting his feet on the ropes during the pin but Edge kicks out. He tries an RKO but Edge avoids it and tries another Spear, this time Orton leap-frogs him. Orton tries the RKO again and Edge gets a backslide for two. Edge whips Orton back first into the exposed turnbuckle and finally hits the Spear to get the win at 26:37. They totally could have cut 10 minutes out of that match and I think it would have been amazing. It’s still pretty good, especially since it definitely finishes strong, but I think they had a classic in them.
MATCH #23: Steel Cage Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship – Ric Flair© vs. Triple H, Taboo Tuesday, 11.1.05
Flair has been the champion since 9.18.05 and this is his second defense. These two had a couple of fun TV matches in 2002 and 2003, but they weren’t really feuding then so this one is instantly more interesting. It’s pinfalls, submissions, or escape from the cage to win. Flair gains the early advantage over his much younger, stronger opponent. He dominates with chops and punches, until HHH comes back with the Harley Race High Knee. He chokes Flair with his boot in the corner. Flair fights out with chops and punches, but HHH counters with a spinebuster. He punches Flair a few times and throws him into the cage, busting the champion open. So he does it again. HHH snap mares Flair down and hits a knee drop right to the bloody head. Flair gets caught between the ropes and the cage and HHH scrapes his face into it and slams his head into it a few times. HHH then delivers a Stinger Splash and Flair is bleeding pretty heavily. HHH continues to attack the injured bloody head. HHH climbs to the top but Flair is right behind him and delivers some chops. HHH comes back with headbutts and punches to the head. They both get knocked down crotch first on the top rope. HHH grabs a steel chain and tries to nail Flair off the ropes with it but Flair gets the boot up and both men are down. Both men are up and Flair delivers chops and tries to lock on the figure-four but HHH punches him with the chain and gets two. HHH continues working on Flair’s open wound. HHH then puts on the figure-four leglock but Flair won’t give in. Flair turns it over and then HHH gets to the ropes. HHH tries for another figure-four, but Flair kicks him into the cage and now he is busted open too! Now Flair is going nuts, biting, punching, and chopping the Game. Flair even lands a delayed vertical suplex. Flair then goes to work on the challenger’s left leg, which is the one he injured back in 2001. Flair puts the figure-four on now. HHH breaks it by throwing the referee at Flair. Flair gets up and goes to the top rope and hits the fist to the head but it gets two. Flair hits a blatant low blow and crawls over to the door. HHH rolls him back into the ring, and he came with a chair. HHH takes it away from him and goes to hit him in the head. Flair comes back with the testicular claw and chops HHH at the same time. He goes for a back body drop but HHH counters with a Pedigree attempt. Flair counters that and back body drops HHH onto the steel chair. HHH gets up and Flair cracks him in the face with the chair. He hits him twice more for good measure. That’s gives Flair enough time to crawl right out of the cage and retain the title at 23:45. That was an awesome match between two guys who would obviously be willing to make each other look good. It’s amazing that Flair could still have four-star matches in 2005, but here’s the proof.
MATCH #24: Money in the Bank & WWE Intercontinental Championship Winner Takes All – Rob Van Dam vs. Shelton Benjamin©, Backlash, 4.30.06
RVD was on the cusp of getting the biggest push of his life at this point. Benjamin has been the Intercontinental Champion since 2.20.06, and this is his fifth defense. RVD of course won the Money in the Bank title shot 28 days ago at WrestleMania 22. The crowd is majorly behind him as they trade athletic maneuvers in the early going. RVD is able to thwart all of Benjamin’s attacks, so the champion takes a powder. The challenger will have none of it and hits a slingshot dive to the floor. RVD throws Benjamin back into the ring but winds up paying for it, as Benjamin hits a sunset bomb to the floor. Back in the ring it’s all Benjamin now. RVD tries to come back and hit Rolling Thunder, which Benjamin awesomely counters to a Samoan Drop. Benjamin hits a pop-up superplex, which is pretty amazing. RVD makes the comeback with a series of kicks, and hits the split-legged moonsault for two. He tries the Five-Star Frog Splash and misses, and then eats a DDT for two. They go back to the floor and Benjamin tries to use the briefcase as a weapon, but settles for a superkick and throws the challenger back into the ring. Benjamin tries a cross body off the top rope but RVD rolls through for a near fall. RVD ducks a kick and hits a rana, which you don’t see him do every day. The referee takes an awkward bump and Benjamin tries once again to use the briefcase. Of course it winds up getting kicked back in his face. That gives RVD the chance to go up and hit the Five-Star Frog Splash to get the pin and win the Intercontinental Title for the sixth time at 18:41. They probably could have cut a few minutes of that, but it was still a pretty good match. It’s too bad they haven’t found a way to elevate Shelton Benjamin, who is in roughly the same position now that he was then.
MATCH #25: Triple Threat Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship – Carlito vs. Johnny Nitro vs. Shelton Benjamin©, Vengeance, 6.25.06
Benjamin has been the champion since 5.15.06, and this is his third defense. Nitro gets dumped to the floor early on as Carlito and Benjamin trade holds and stuff. After a minute and a half or so Nitro gets back in the ring and Benjamin nails Carlito with a kick to the face. That leaves Benjamin and Nitro battling now, until Carlito clotheslines Benjamin to the floor, and then slingshots Nitro to the floor. All three get bits of offense in on each other, and while Nitro and Benjamin are trading shots Carlito hits an amazing double springboard somersault onto both opponents. Man, what a waste that guy has turned into. All three battle in the ring some more, until Benjamin dumps Nitro to the floor and goes to work on Carlito. He hits a Samoan Drop and Nitro breaks up the cover. Carlito winds up with a cover on Benjamin and Nitro once again breaks it up. Nitro tries a superplex on Carlito but Benjamin thwarts that. They manage to work in a Tower of Doom spot without looking totally contrived. Eventually we get back to Carlito and Benjamin in the ring, and Carlito hits the Backstabber. Nitro takes that opportunity to pull Carlito to the floor and take the cover himself to get the pin at 12:03. That was a much better match than I remember it being, and it’s really unfortunate that Nitro is the only one who has made any growth, while Benjamin has remained stagnant and Carlito has severely regressed.
MATCH #26: WWE Intercontinental Championship Match – Jeff Hardy vs. Umaga©, The Great American Bash, 7.22.07
Umaga has been the champion since 7.2.07 (his second reign), and this is his second defense. The champion of course dominates, beating on Hardy both in and out of the ring. He hits the Samoan Drop early on and jus stomps on Hardy. Umaga uses the old Yokozuna nerve hold for a while. Hardy fights out and tries a bodyslam but Umaga falls back on him for a two-count. Umaga continues to abuse Hardy, who does a great job selling as usual. Hardy once again tries to counter but Umaga catches him in an awesome sidewalk slam and Hardy kicks out again much to the delight of the crowd. Umaga goes up to the second rope and misses a headbutt. Hardy finally hits some of his signature offense, in and out of the ring. Back in Hardy hits a dropkick to the face for two. Umaga comes back and tries the running butt splash in the corner, but Hardy moves and hits the Whisper in the Wind (which JR calls the Twist of Fate). The champion kicks out at two. He comes charging into the corner but Hardy moves and Umaga cracks his head again. Hardy goes up and hits the Swanton Bomb for a close near-fall. He tries the Twist of Fate but Umaga hits a superkick, the running butt splash, and the Samoan Spike (which Hardy sells awesomely) to retain the title at 11:20. I’m beginning to feel a little repetitive with my star ratings, but this was another excellent match.
MATCH #27: WWE Intercontinental Championship Match – Jeff Hardy© vs. Chris Jericho, Raw, 3.10.08
This is Hardy’s fourth reign. It started on 9.3.07, and this is his fifth defense. Jericho had accomplished a whole lot of nothing since his return up to this point. He is a former seven-time Intercontinental Champion though, so he’s always a threat. They slap each other and quickly start throwing punches. Jericho gains control and throws Hardy to the floor, and we take a commercial break.
We’re back with Jericho still in control. He charges the corner and misses, taking a nasty bump to the floor. Hardy hits a dropkick through the ropes, and then joins his opponent on the floor. He tries running the rail but winds up getting his head cracked against the announce table. Back in the ring Jericho hits a slingshot splash for two. Hardy starts to fire up and counters several of Jericho’s attacks. He hits a Whisper in the Wind for two. Jericho hits a Northern Lights Suplex for two, and then they trade pinning combos. He tries a cross body block off the top but Hardy reverses it for two. Jericho comes back with the Lionsault for two. He tries the Walls of Jericho but Hardy counters to a cradle for two. Jericho misses the running enziguiri and Hardy hits a Twist of Fate. He goes up for the Swanton and misses, which allows Jericho to hit the Codebreaker. That’s enough for Jericho to break his own record and become an eight-time Intercontinental Champion at 11:03 (including commercial). That was another terrific match, and I think we didn’t learn until the next day that Hardy dropped the belt because he was getting suspended and was out of WrestleMania. It’d be fun to see these guys wrestle in a main event today.