Much like the History of the WWE Championship DVD, we have this good but certainly not great collection of some of the most famous and some never before seen WWE Intercontinental Championship encounters. Hosted sadly by Todd Grisham, we go through the '80s, '90's and up until the year of the DVD release 2008. There's a brief history of how Pat Patterson became the first I.C. champion and that brings us to the first match.
-10/22/79, MSG, Pat Patterson (Champion) vs. Ted DiBiase: Its a pre-Million Dollar Man match featuring DiBiase and sadly thats the best part of the match as its kinda slow, there's some stalling in the beginning by Patterson who gets booed heavily. Ted attacks swinging Pat into the corner and stomping on him, then works on the left arm with knee drops and an arm bar. He has the offense going for a while even dodging a dive in the corner by Patterson, then slaps on an abdominal stretch, not once but twice. Patterson counters out of the second one then punches and chokes Ted, who comes back and grabs a foreign object Pat tried introducing but gets rolled up for three and Patterson retains. 4/10, cause of the slow stalling and rest holds.
-10/20/80, MSG, Ken Patera (Champion) vs. Pedro Morales: Right from his entrance Morales attacks Patera before he could even get ready and he retreats up the entrance way for a minute, then stalls and taunts Pedro holding the title in his hand. Pedro hits some hard punches sending him to the outside, but gets hit by Ken and tossed over the top to the floor. Ken works over Pedro for a while with a front face lock and holds it forever seemingly, Morales powers out tossing Ken over his head to the mat. Pedro does comeback with some hard shots, but Patera cuts him off working on the back with a bearhug. Later they both are trading blows, the referee gets shoved out of the ring by both men and he calls for a DQ. 5/10, for the finish and the at times slow pace.
-12/28/82, MSG, Pedro Morales (Champion) vs. The Magnificent Muraco: An okay one here, the fans really hammer on Muraco which angers him, its power for power here. It starts pretty slow with side head locks, but Muraco hits a lowblow behind the referees back then works on Morales with a rib breaker and more wear down moves, even sending Pedro over the top to the floor. Morales fires up and takes it to Muraco hammering him in the ring, sending him out to the floor with a winding punch. Back in the ring Muraco kicks the referee causing a DQ. 5/10.
-10/17/83, MSG, Steel Cage Match, The Magnificant Muraco (Champion) vs. "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka: The pre-match promo is included which was a good one by Muraco that really sets the tone for this contest which featured one of the most famous moments in WWE history, provided by Jimmy Snuka. The match itself isn't too bad just too short to be highly rated, the fans were hot for Snuka to win, he hits some hard shots, but also tastes the steel getting busted open. Jimmy gets slammed from the second rope, but comes back with a fist from the second rope, he looks to have it won however he hits a headbutt sending Muraco out the door to the floor. 4/10 for the match, 10/10 for the aftermath as Snuka throws him back in the ring and hits his trademark splash from the top of the cage much to the fans delight.
-3/17/85, Lumberjack Match, Greg Valentine (Champion) vs. Tito Santana: Not a bad one here as various superstars are around the ring to make sure the guys get back in the ring quickly. Greg hits Tito before the bell but Santana comes back with a flying clothesline and keeps up the offense even when Valentine tries going to the outside for a breather only to be tossed back in. Greg does get his knee up to stop Santana's momentum, then grounds him but Tito won't stay down for three, even when Valentine works on the previously injured leg of Santana. Valentine keeps up his offense, but Tito makes his comeback and really takes it to the champ, slaps on the figure four but Big John Studd helps Greg get to the ropes. Valentine comes off the ropes, they bump heads and Greg falls on Tito for the three, 5/10, as the finish was super weak.
-2/8/86, Boston Garden, Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Tito Santana (Champion): Good match here between two good technicians, both do also get some hard shots in and brawl good as well. Tito was always a good worker and this match showed why as much like the previous Steamboat match, Savage used a foreign object and made the cover as Randy's quest for WWE gold became reality. 7/10.
(Available on Macho Madness: The Randy Savage Ultimate Collection)
-3/29/87, Wrestlemania III, Macho Man Randy Savage (Champion) vs. Ricky Steamboat: Hogan/Andre may have brought the fans into the arena but this match was the best on the card. Both men just went all out and had the crowd on the edge of their seats the whole time. Tons of near falls, high impact moves and a good ending as Steamboat rolls up Savage for the 3 count to win the I.C. title. 10/10.
-6/2/87, Superstars, Ricky Steamboat (Champion) vs. The Honky Tonk Man: After a great win at the WWE's biggest show of the year, we have this very quick contest where Honky attacks Ricky before the bell but gets sent to the outside, then a back suplex into the ring by Steamboat, then he hits some trademark chops. Ricky gets sent into the turnbuckle then Honky works on the throat and neck, Steamboat comes back with more chops, including one off the top rope, but Jimmy Hart distracts him allowing for Honky to reverse a roll-up for three to win the title. 4/10.
-8/29/88, Summerslam, The Ultimate Warrior vs. Honky Tonk Man (Champion): After a 15 month long title reign Honky was looking for a challenger and out came Warrior to a massive pop, he quickly took it to the Honky one, hitting a couple of clotheslines then the splash and covers to win in maybe a minute. 4/10 for the shock factor.
(Available on The Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior and The Summerslam Anthology Volume I)
-8/28/89, Summerslam, The Ultimate Warrior vs. Ravishing Rick Rude (Champion): After Rude won the title at Wrestlemania earlier in the year, we have this rematch where Warrior hit his usual big moves while Rude did his best to wear down and stop the Warrior's unlimited energy. Great spot where Warrior press slams Rude to the outside, later Rude finally gains an edge knocking Warrior off the top rope, then he keeps hammering him but Warrior won't stay down for three and he even slaps on a sleeper hold. The ref gets knocked down, Warrior comes back hitting some clotheslines and a slam, then a piledriver but Rude gets his foot on the rope. Warrior kicks out of a unique piledriver, then another one but Roddy Piper comes down to the ring and distracts Rude, allowing Warrior to hit a big shoulder block, the press slam and the splash for the three. 6/10.
Disc 2-The 1990's
-8/26/91, Summerslam, Mr. Perfect (Champion) vs. Bret 'Hit Man' Hart: Probably one of the greatest matches in both men's careers, Perfect had a back injury coming into this but still put on a great performance. Bret really had a breakout performance here as he just wouldn't quit and was finally able to lock on the Sharpshooter and Perfect tapped out as Bret wins the title. 10/10, its best to be watched and enjoyed.
(Available on Bret Hart: The Best There Is, The Best There Was and The Best There Ever Will Be, The Life & Times of Mr. Perfect and Summerslam Anthology Volume I)
-8/29/92, Summerslam, Bret Hart (Champion) vs. The British Bulldog: The famous contest from London's Wembley Stadium where Davey wrestled in front of his hometown fans and given the backstory of Bulldog having had a staph infection in the weeks prior to this event it was a good match. Bret really made Bulldog a star here and mostly masked any issues he may have been having, it was counter filled and the crowd was heavily cheering on Bulldog. It ends when Davey reverses an attempted sunset flip and covers for three to win the I.C. title. 9/10.
(Available on Bret Hart: The Best There Is, The Best There Was and The Best There Ever Will Be, WWE Confidential Volume 1)
-3/20/94, Wrestlemania X, Ladder Match, Shawn Michaels (Champion) vs. Razor Ramon (Champion): The fake champ vs. the official champ and this was pretty hard hitting match for back then. The first few minutes of the match have some good wrestling holds but then some brawling occurs on the outside before the ladder is brought into play by Shawn. Lots of uses of the ladder by both men, though Michaels uses it first on Razor, even throwing it at him a couple of times. Shawn also hit a splash on Razor from the top of the ladder in a very nice high spot. Razor takes advantage afterwards by tipping the ladder over causing Shawn to hit throat first on the top rope. Razor the reverses an Irish whip and Shawn crashes into the ladder in the corner. Razor also throws the ladder at Shawn while he's against the ring post, then throws it at Michaels again. Lots more back and forth action, then just when Shawn looked like he'd win, Razor pushed the ladder over and Shawn fell into the ropes and got his foot caught in the ropes. Razor then climbed the ladder and retrieved the two belts to become the undisputed I.C. Champion. 11/10.
(Available on Shawn Michaels: From the Vault and Ladder Match 2: Crash & Burn)
-1/22/95, Royal Rumble, Razor Ramon (Champion) vs. Jeff Jarrett: A good opening match that has the crowd cheering loudly for Razor who faces a good challenge from Jarrett who works on Ramon's leg setting him up for the figure four leg lock and also takes away the Razor's Edge. Ramon has a good showing as he always did when he had his head on straight. There's a countout where Razor could've walked away with the title but he came back, went for the Edge his leg went out and Jarrett rolled him up to win the title. 8/10.
-12/7/97, In Your House: D-Generation X, Stone Cold Steve Austin (Champion) vs. Rocky Maivia: Over a year before the first of many main event clashes between these two, there's this match thats good as the Nation attacks Steve before the match starts, then D'Lo gets Stunned on the roof of Austin's truck. The Nation keeps interfering, Austin keeps turning back the challenge but Rock stays on Steve knocking around the Texas Rattlesnake. Rock tries using brass knucks but Austin hits the Stunner, pins Rock for three to retain the title. 6/10.
(Available on Stone Cold Steve Austin: The Bottom Line....)
-7/26/98, In Your House: Fully Loaded, 2 out of 3 Falls 30 Minute Time Limit Match, The Rock (Champion) vs. Triple H: Good but not great contest here between these two, they do have some good exchanges, even going to the outside a couple of times. There's interference that kept the tension between DX and The Nation going, but it shockingly doesn't take away from the match. After D'Lo distracts Trips, Rock hits the Rock Bottom and covers to take the first fall, then there's a one minute rest period. Rock continues the assault on Trips, even slamming him into the steel steps, hits the People's Elbow but Trips kicks out. X-Pac comes down, hitting the X Factor but Rock kicks out, Rock accidentaly hits the referee with a chair, allowing Chyna to hit a lowblow on Rock then a DDT on the chair, Trips covers to win the second fall. The third fall has some good action, but ends when neither man can put the other down so its a draw. 7/10.
-10/17/99, No Mercy, Good Housekeeping Match, Jeff Jarrett (Champion) vs. Chyna: Another name for a hardcore match and this was pretty much a joke of a bout, there's some weapon use and Jeff taunted Chyna at times. Jeff uses the title belt on Chyna and covers her to win.... however the ruling is made since it wasn't a household item then the match continues (stupid rule in my opinion). Soon after Chyna ends up hitting a guitar shot (which I guess qualifies as a standard househould item) and covers Jarrett to become the first women to win the I.C. title. 4/10.
Disc 3-The 2000's
-2/27/00, No Way Out, vs. Kurt Angle: Not a bad one here though short after they're pre-match promos are done, Jericho does hit some good moves, Kurt displays great mat based wrestling. There are some close nearfalls and Jericho almost has the match won, the title belt is brought into the ring, Chris goes for the Lionsault but Angle puts the belt in the way and covers Jericho to win. 5/10.
(Available on Breaking The Code: Behind the Walls of Chris Jericho)
-10/12/00, Smackdown, Triple Threat Match, Eddie Guerrero (Champion) vs. Chris Jericho vs. X-Pac: This was an odd one as it wasn't that good even with those that were involved, there were some good exchanges but its also quite a quick contest so it doesn't really leave much of an impression. Eddie ends up taking this one after knocking X-Pac to the outside and covering Jericho to retain. 4/10.
-4/12/01, Smackdown, Triple H (Champion) vs. Jeff Hardy: Earlier in the show Jeff attacked Triple H and Stone Cold, then hit a Twist of Fate on Stephanie, so Trips was looking for revenge and he hammered on Jeff, who able to come back and hit some of his trademark moves. While the ref was down Matt Hardy ran to the ring, hit Trips with a chair, then Jeff hit the Swanton and covered the Game to win the I.C. title. 6/10. It was called "The Upset of the Decade" and it was shocking at this time.
(Available on Best of Smackdown: 10th Anniversary, 1999-2009 and WWF Action)
-7/22/02, Raw, Ladder Unification Title Match, RVD (I.C. Champion) vs. Jeff Hardy (European Champion): This was right after Eric Bischoff had become the GM of Raw and he was making his mark by getting rid of some dead weight and titles he didn't want (i.e. the European title), hence this match that would merge the two titles. Both men had faced off in classics before this so they knew each other well and were able to counter the others moves on a few occasions. The ladder is brought out, Jeff is pulled off landing back first, both guys get a ladder and have duel that ends with a spin kick by RVD into Jeff. There's the expected high spots, Swanton, Rolling Thunder and splashes on the ladders, RVD kicks a ladder out from under Jeff turning him inside out, then hits the frog splash, climbs the ladder and wins the I.C. title. 7/10.
(Also Available on Ladder Match 2: Crash & Burn)
-7/11/04, Vengeance, Edge vs. Randy Orton (Champion): For weeks Edge had gone after members of Evolution in an effort to get to Randy to take his title and he got his chance in this match. Its a good match though it has been praised a tad too much in my opinion, however these two worked very well together. The momentum swing back and forth and the long 20+ minute running time does offer the chance for them both to tell a good story with Edge overcoming the odds and the final few minutes were great as the trade finishers with Edge hitting the spear and covering to win the I.C. title. 8/10.
(Available on Edge: Decade of Decadence and Randy Orton: Evolution of a Predator)
-11/1/05, Taboo Tuesday, Steel Cage Match, Ric Flair (Champion) vs. Triple H: Quite a good and bloody cage match here as Flair was out to prove he still had it and could be a main event performer. He did take some brutal punishment and was bleeding badly as was Trips, who did hammer on Ric slamming him into the steel wall at times. It does end after Ric smashes a chair into Trips head a few times, then leaves through the door to win and retain. 10/10.
(Available on Ric Flair: The Definitive Collection)
-4/30/06, Backlash, Winner Takes All Match, Rob Van Dam vs. Shelton Benjamin (Champion): The winner here would become both the I.C. champ and the holder of the MITB briefcase, which adds some spice to this match. Its a good, athletic contest as both men were very gifted in the ring especially at this time in their careers, there's some one upping by both men as they have some good exchanges. Near the end Shelton attempts to use the briefcase but gets kicked in the face while holding it, then the Five Star Frog Splash by RVD and he covers to win the title. 7/10.
-6/25/06, Vengeance, Triple Threat Match, Shelton Benjamin (Champion) vs. Carlito vs. Johnny Nitro w/Melina: The match of the PPV here and quite a surprise, their styles mix well, plenty of good counter wrestling along with some good high spots. Carlito hits a dive springboard dive off the top to the outside, then a great head scissors out of nowhere onto Nitro, but Carlito gets launched into the air by Shelton who later hits a big samoan drop for two. Loved the spot where Nitro was in the tree of woe, Shelton jumped to the top to nail Carlito but Nitro throws Shelton off the top and Carlito gets launched to the ring. Carlito hits the backstabber, Nitro pulls him out of the ring, covers Shelton and wins the I.C. title. 9/10.
-7/22/07, Great American Bash, Umaga (Champion) vs. Jeff Hardy: These two had a good rivalry but something about this one seemed a little off, Jeff employed a hit and run offense while Umaga just overpowered Hardy and hammered him down, locking on a nerve hold to keep Jeff grounded. Umaga hits a huge swinging sidewalk slam but just for two, Hardy does make his comeback hitting some quick moves, including a crossbody to the outside. Jeff does hit the Twiste of Fate, then the Swanton both for only two, Umaga ends up hitting the Samoan Spike and covers to win the match. 6/10.
-3/10/08, Raw, Jeff Hardy (Champion) vs. Chris Jericho: Not a bad TV match here as Jeff had tremendous momentum heading into the bout, both guys did do well here and countered the others moves at times. There was also some aggression by both men stemming off a confrontation the week before on Raw, Jericho does send Jeff headfirst into the announce table. There were some great reversals near the end, Jericho hits the Lionsault but only two, Jeff misses the Swanton, Jericho hits the Codebreaker and covers to win. 6/10. Strangely after this Jeff would leave WWE TV for a couple of months, for a drug policy violation (gasp, I'm shocked).
This was an overall good collection of matches and is certainly better than the History of the WWE Championship set and while this isn't the greatest set of matches in my opinion there are enough to make it worth getting for a good price. However I do concede that the earlier matches are a bit slow and aren't really worth watching again, outside of the Snuka/Muraco cage match, just for Jimmy's dive mainly. There's also a fair amount of repeats and those that are on dvd for the first time are a mixed bag.