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The World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Intercontinental Championship is a professional wrestling championship in World Wrestling Entertainment. It is the original secondary title of WWE. Currently, it is the secondary championship exclusive to the SmackDown brand. WWE Intercontinental Championship reigns are determined by professional wrestling matches, in which competitors are involved in scripted rivalries. These narratives create feud between the various competitors, which cast them as villains and heroes.


The WWE Intercontinental Championship was originally known as the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship. 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 Heavyweight Championship and defending the title in a tournament to be unified with a South American Heavyweight Championship in Rio de Janeiromarker, Brazilmarker. The title later became known as the WWF Intercontinental Championship.

In March 2001, the World Wrestling Federation purchased World Championship Wrestling. Soon after, "The Invasion" took place in which the WCW/ECW Alliance was ultimately dismantled. At Survivor Series 2001, the title was unified with the WCW United States Championship. The United States Champion, Edge, defeated the Intercontinental Champion, Test, causing the United States Championship to become inactive while becoming the new Intercontinental Champion.

After the WWF/WWE name change in 2002, the championship was subsequently referred to as the WWE Intercontinental Championship. It was then unified with the European Championship in a ladder match on July 22, and the Hardcore Championship on August 26. The Intercontinental Champion, Rob Van Dam, defeated the European Champion, Jeff Hardy, and the Hardcore Champion, Tommy Dreamer respectively. As a result, Rob Van Dam was named the last European and Hardcore Champion. Then at No Mercy 2002, it was unified with the World Heavyweight Championship. The World Heavyweight Champion, Triple H, defeated the Intercontinental Champion, Kane, causing the Intercontinental Championship to become inactive. However, in May 2003, the title was reactivated by Raw co-General Manager, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and was recommissioned to be a secondary championship to the Raw brand. Shortly after, the WCW United States Championship was reactivated as the WWE United States Championship by the SmackDown brand, making the title its equal counterpart. During the 2009 WWE Draft on April 13, 2009, reigning champion Rey Mysterio was drafted to SmackDown, making the Intercontinental Championship exclusive to that brand.


The inaugural champion was Pat Patterson, by defending the title in a tournament to be unified with a "South American Heavyweight Championship" in Rio de Janeiromarker, Brazilmarker in September 1979. Chris Jericho holds the most reigns with nine. The Honky Tonk Man is the longest reigning champion at 454 days while Triple H is the shortest reigning champion by unifying the title with the World Heavyweight Championship immediately after winning. Chyna is the only woman in history to win the title. As of September 2009, John Morrison is the current champion in his third reign, having defeated Rey Mysterio at the September 1 taping of SmackDown that aired on September 4.


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