Saturday, February 7, 2009

Review: The History of the Intercontinental Championship DVD

Avis Rent-a-Car once had a slogan "We're number two-we try harder". The same slogan could apply to the WWE's Intercontinental Championship. The belt was often seen as a spotlight on good workers who could carry an undercard or even main event a "B" show when called upon. Looking at the WWE's new DVD, there's nothing second place about this belt nor the DVD showcasing it.

The I-C strap always seemed like more than just a secondary title. Unlike other regional promotions' secondary titles, this belt seemed special. It was far bigger than belts like the Georgia Championship, the United States championship, or even the North American championship. No, this was a merger of the North American Championship (supposedly brought into the WWWF by Ted DiBiase but actually created for his WWWF debut) and the fictitious South American Championship. In case you haven't heard the story, the I-C belt was created after a phantom tournament supposedly held in Rio De Janeiro. Pat Patterson (then North American champion) unified the belt, creating the belt we all know and love as the Intercontinental Championship.

While the I-C strap fell on hard times during the new millennium (and fortunately it looks like the WWE is working hard to restore some luster to this title), it was once an impressive title, second to only the WWE Championship. It was seen by fans as a stepping stone to the World Championship with the holder being ranked as the number one contender. You could bet that anyone holding the belt would be competing for the world championship (as long as the two champs weren't babyfaces and even this would change when the Intercontinental Champion Ultimate Warrior challenged Hulk Hogan for the World Championship).

Back in the 1980's the WWF did a VHS release of the Intercontinental Champions. Given that the belt didn't change hands that often, it wasn't difficult to squeeze the belt's history into a two hour cassette. Not so easy now but WWE Home Video has done an impressive job here. The three disc set is broken down into the championship's three decades with one disc devoted to the 1980's, another the 1990's, and the third with this decade. Host Todd Grisham does an excellent job bookending each match and discussing the champions and their role in the WWE.

Although the three disc set doesn't include every title change for the I-C belt, it's a remarkably good survey of the last three decades. As with any collection, there will be debate about the inclusion of one match over another but looking at this list, you can't help but feel you're getting a very good feel for the best of the best. The only gripe I had was that they didn't show clips of every title change as was done in The History of the WWE Championship. Other than that, this one's a keeper.

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