In 1979, Pat Patterson "won a tournament" to become the first Intercontinental Champion. Many of the men to wear the title used it as a steppingstone to the WWE Championship. For others, this title represented the peak of their career. The title has been continuous with the exception of a seven month period in 2002 and 2003 when it was discontinued. After the brand split, the title was the exclusive property of RAW from 2002 - 2009. In the 2009 draft, the title moved to SmackDown.
2. Don Muraco - 541 DaysDon Muraco is a two time champion. He beat Pedro Morales for the title twice. Once in 1981 and again in 1983. His second title reign lasted for over a year. His most famous defense of the title was a steel cage match against Jimmy Snuka. After a fluke victory over "The Superfly", Snuka dragged Muraco back into the ring and delivered his superfly leap from the top of the cage. Don Muraco was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004.
The Honky Tonk Man shocked the world when he beat Ricky Steamboat for the title on June 2, 1987. With the help of his manager Jimmy Hart, his girlfriend Peggy Sue and his guitar he went on to have the longest single title reign in the nearly three decade history of the title. He lost the title to the Ultimate Warrior at SummerSlam 88 in a surprise bout that lasted less than a minute.
Randy Savage beat Tito Santana for the title on February 8, 1986. He lost the title to Ricky Steamboat in a classic match at WrestleMania 3. His most famous feuds over the title were with Ricky Steamboat, George Steele, and Tito Santana. At WrestleMania IV, Randy won the WWE Championship. By doing this, he became the first former Intercontinental Champion to go on to win the WWE Championship.
"Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig won the tournament caused by the Ultimate Warrior being forced to vacate the title after WrestleMania VI. He lost and regained the title from Kerry Von Erich. His second and final title reign was ended by Bret Hart at SummerSlam 91. After that match, Curt was forced to leave the sport for a few years due to a severe back injury. Mr. Perfect passed away in 2003.
Shawn Michaels held the belt on three occasions. His first reign started when he beat the British Bulldog on the October 27, 1992, broadcast of Saturday Night's Main Event. His first title reign was ended by his former partner Marty Jannetty. He regained the belt with the help of his new bodyguard Diesel. He would go on to win and vacate the title on two occasions over the next few years.
Shelton is a three-time champion. His first reign began when he beat Chris Jericho at Taboo Tuesday 2004. He lost the title to Carlito a few months later. He won the belt for a second time with the help of his mother when he beat Ric Flair. He lost the title at Backlash 2005 to Rob Van Dam. He regained it two weeks later but lost it a month later to Johnny Nitro in a three-way match that also included Carlito.