25 best WWE Intercontinental Champions of all time

Photo credit: WWE.com
Photo credit: WWE.com /
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Photo credit: WWE.com
Photo credit: WWE.com /

17. Pat Patterson

There’s something to be said about being the first. While known to many fans as one of The Stooges along with Gerald Brisco during the Attitude Era or Vince McMahon’s right-hand man backstage, it simply can’t be forgotten that Pat Patterson was once one hell of a wrestler.

Hailing from Montreal, Patterson, who actually didn’t speak any English when he came to the United States, spent more than 15 years in territorial promotions, winning numerous singles and tag team titles before finally debuting in WWE in 1979, feuding with the likes of WWE Champion Bob Backlund and Ted Dibiase in his first year. And it was from Dibiase that Patterson won his first title in the company, taking the North American Heavyweight Championship from the future Million Dollar Man in June.

And here’s where things get fun, depending on who you ask anyway.

In September, Patterson’s title was to be unified in a tournament in Rio de Janeiro with the South American Championship, which actually doesn’t even exist. The new title would be called the Intercontinental Championship and Patterson was said to have won the event by defeating Johnny Rodz in the finals but the reality is that the tournament never actually took place. Patterson was handpicked to be the first Intercontinental Championship and he really was a good champ in his one and only reign, defending the title successfully for 233 days before dropping it to Ken Patera on April 21, 1980. Patterson would go on to have a nice program with Sgt. Slaughter the following year and would wrestle sporadically over the next few years while also doing some broadcasting and helping out backstage, which he obviously took to quite nicely.

Patterson was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1996 and will always have the distinction of being the first Intercontinental Champion in history.