WWE Intercontinental Championship

wrestling championship at WWE

The WWE Intercontinental Championship is a professional wrestling championship in WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). It is the first secondary title of WWE. It has been the exclusive secondary championship of WWE's weekly TV show Raw since May 2023 when the champion at the time, Gunther, was moved to the show from SmackDown in the 2023 WWE draft.

WWE Intercontinental Championship
Longest-reigning champion Gunther with the 2019-present belt design. He held the title for 666 days.
Date establishedSeptember 1, 1979
Current champion(s)Sami Zayn
Date wonJune 10, 2022
Other name(s)
  • WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship
  • WWF Intercontinental Championship
  • WWE Intercontinental Championship
    (2002, 2003–present)



The WWE Intercontinental Championship was first known as the WWF (World Wrestling Federation) Intercontinental Championship, until the WWE/WWF 2002 lawsuit. Following the title's introduction in 1979, Pat Patterson became the inaugural champion on September 15. The title's creation came as a result of Patterson defeating Ted DiBiase to win the WWF North American Championship and defending the title in a fictional tournament held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to be unified with a South American Championship.[1]

In March 2001, the World Wrestling Federation bought World Championship Wrestling.[2] Soon after, "The Invasion" took place in which the WCW/ECW Alliance was beaten in the end. At Survivor Series 2001, the title was made into one with the WCW United States Championship. The United States Champion, Edge, won against the Intercontinental Champion, Test, and became the new Intercontinental Champion while the United States Championship became inactive until 2003.[3]

Six-time champion Dolph Ziggler, shown with the 2014-2019 design of the belt

After the WWF/WWE name change in 2002, the championship became known as the WWE Intercontinental Championship. It was then unified with the European Championship in a ladder match on July 22, and later the Hardcore Championship on August 26. The Intercontinental Champion, Rob Van Dam, won against the European Champion, Jeff Hardy, and the Hardcore Champion, Tommy Dreamer.[4][5] As a result, Rob Van Dam was named the last European and Hardcore Champion.[6][7] Then at No Mercy 2002, it was unified with the World Heavyweight Championship. The World Heavyweight Champion, Triple H, won against the Intercontinental Champion, Kane, and continued to be the World Heavyweight Champion while the Intercontinental Championship became inactive.[8] In May 2003, after fan protests of the retirement of the Intercontinental Title, the title was reactivated by Raw Co-General Manager, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and was recommissioned to be the secondary championship for the Raw brand. Shortly after, the WCW United States Championship was reactivated as the WWE United States Championship by the SmackDown! brand, making the Intercontinental Championship its equal counterpart for the Raw brand. During the 2009 WWE Draft the two title swapped brands, making the Intercontinental Championship SmackDown property and the US Title Raw property. On August 29, 2011, all WWE programming became "Supershows" that feature wrestlers from both brands, ending the brand extension. All WWE titles can now be defended at any WWE event.

At WrestleMania 32, the title was won by Zack Ryder in a seven-man ladder match, losing it the next night to The Miz on Raw. The brand split was brought back in July of 2016, with the Miz being drafted to SmackDown Live, bringing the Intercontinental title to that show. After a long feud with Dolph Ziggler over the title, the Miz lost the belt to Dean Ambrose on an episode of SmackDown Live on January 3, 2017. Ambrose was drafted to Raw in the 2017 Superstar Shake-Up, bringing the Intercontinental title to that show.

Current champion

Carlito with the 2002-2011 belt design

The current champion is Sami Zayn, who is in his fourth reign. He won the title by defeating the longest reigning champion Gunther during night one of WrestleMania XL on April 6, 2024.



  1. "Pat Patterson's first reign". Archived from the original on 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2008-04-06.
  2. "WWE Entertainment, Inc. Acquires WCW from Turner Broadcasting". WWE Corporate. 2001-03-23. Archived from the original on 2014-03-13. Retrieved 2007-12-07.
  3. "Survivor Series 2001 results". WWE. Archived from the original on 2006-11-08. Retrieved 2007-12-07.
  4. "WWE Raw - June 22, 2002 results". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2007-12-07.
  5. "WWE Raw - August 26, 2002 results". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2007-12-07.
  6. "WWE European Championship history". WWE. Retrieved 2007-12-07.
  7. "WWE Hardcore Championship history". WWE.com. Retrieved 2007-12-07.
  8. "No Mercy 2002 results". WWE. Archived from the original on 2007-11-26. Retrieved 2007-12-07.

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