The WWE Intercontinental Championship is a professional wrestling championship created and promoted by the American professional wrestling promotion WWE on the Raw brand. It is one of two secondary championships for WWE's main roster, along with the WWE United States Championship on the SmackDown brand. The current champion is Kenny Omega, who is in his first reign.
The championship was established by the then-World Wrestling Federation (WWF) on September 1, 1979, after inaugural champion Pat Patterson unified (kayfabe) the WWF North American Heavyweight and South American Heavyweight championships. It is the third oldest championship currently active in WWE, behind the WWE Championship (1963) and United States Championship (1975), but the second oldest tenured championship, as the WWE has only owned the U.S. title since 2001. Although generally contested in the midcard at WWE shows, the Intercontinental Championship was defended in the main events of presentations such as WrestleMania VI, SummerSlam in 1992, the third and eighth In Your House shows, and Backlash in 2001. It has been called the "stepping stone" to a WWE world championship.
In November 2001, the then-WCW United States Championship was unified into the Intercontinental Championship. In 2002 after the first brand split, it became exclusive to Raw and the WWF was renamed WWE. Later that year, the European and Hardcore championships were unified into the Intercontinental Championship, which itself was unified into the World Heavyweight Championship. The next year, it was reactivated for Raw, followed by the United States Championship's reactivation as a counterpart on SmackDown.
Brand designation history
|Championship moved to the Raw brand.|
|Championship moved to the SmackDown brand.|
|Date of transition||Notes|
|March 25, 2002||Rob Van Dam was drafted to Raw following the brand extension, making the title exclusive to Raw.|
|July 30, 2002||Chris Benoit defects to SmackDown as Intercontinental Champion.|
|August 25, 2002||Rob Van Dam regains the championship, returning it back to Raw.|
|April 13, 2009||Following the 2009 draft, Intercontinental Champion Rey Mysterio was drafted to SmackDown.|
The championship remained exclusive to SmackDown until the end of the first brand extension.
|August 29, 2011||End of first brand extension.|
The Intercontinental Champion could appear on both Raw and SmackDown.
|July 19, 2016||AJ Styles was drafted to SmackDown making the title exclusive to SmackDown.|
|August 22, 2016||Neville won the title from AJ Styles transferring the title to Raw.|
- Main article: List of WWE Intercontinental Champions