#WF036 – The History Of The Intercontinental Belt

Arnold Furious: The IC title always had a terrific reputation until around the late 90s, where the belt became a tool to get over new talent. Wrestlers that weren’t on the same level as Tito Santana, Randy Savage, Ricky Steamboat, Bret Hart, Mr Perfect, Shawn Michaels, etc. Of course, this tape release comes just after WrestleMania III so many of those names are not even featured. Host is Craig DeGeorge. Rather confusingly we start with…

 

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Macho Man Randy Savage (c) vs. Ricky Steamboat
From WrestleMania III. It’s just the finish, with the near falls coming thick and fast. I’m really not sure why this goes first and not LAST on the tape as it’s the logical conclusion point for an IC title tape released in 1987. Full match is ***** and the best of the decade in the WWF.

 

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Pat Patterson (c) vs. Dominic DeNucci
DeGeorge ribs the audience by pointing out “no footage exists” of Patterson’s IC title win in Rio. That’s because it never happened! I really didn’t understand the fictitious tournament. Surely a new title and a tournament would have drawn in MSG. This is just clips. Patterson wins with a roll up.

 

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Pat Patterson (c) vs. Ken Patera
So, Pat turned face with the belt and his manager, The Grand Wizard, switched over to Olympian Kenny Patera. Patterson works the arm with enormous theatrics. It looks a bit ridiculous on TV but Patterson is from an era where you had to express everything to the cheap seats as well as ringside. It’s the difference between stage actors and movie actors. This must be a lengthy contest as it’s heavily clipped in the early going. It centres largely on Patterson working the arm, and Patera using his power. Patera isn’t the greatest of wrestlers but his power moves are still impressive. They are a bit low impact though, which somewhat spoils the power aspect. Patera is also a touch overly reliant on holds like the bearhug, BUT it does draw an immense amount of heat. Patterson slips out of the full nelson, which shows his wrestling pedigree even if he is a pantomime competitor. Patera accompanies him with some overblown selling of the knee. It’s like watching clowns do ballet. Controversy rages in this one as Patterson has the pin but Patera gets his foot on the bottom rope. Moments later, Patera knees Pat in the head and pins him, but Patterson’s foot was on the ropes. The ref didn’t see it, having being winged by a wrestler collision in between the two pins. One of the goofiest contests you’re ever likely to see, unless you watched a lot of wrestling prior to 1984, but the effort was there.
Final Rating: **½

 

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Ken Patera (c) vs. Pedro Morales
This isn’t Pedro’s title win but rather a match from October 1980. Pedro would go on to win the strap two months later. Despite that taking place in MSG I’m guessing it wasn’t taped or was taped over, because it’s not on here. They won’t break in a corner and the ref gets shoved over by both guys thus drawing a double DQ.

 

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Pedro Morales (c) vs. Don Muraco
Pedro won his re-match and became the first Grand Slam champion, having previously been the WWF champion. He held the belt for 7 months before running into the Magnificent one in the Spectrum. This was back in the day when Muraco was mobile and actually gave enough of a shit to use his talents. He did find a tidy niche later in his career as a punching bag, but at this juncture he’s an all-rounder. We do only get his enthusiasm in fits and starts, with Muraco resorting to extensive chinlocking. I’ve said elsewhere that Morales was easy on the eyes given an opponent with suitable motivation. Muraco is that man. Sometimes. He’s one of the most frustrating wrestlers to watch, ever. All that talent and half the time he just doesn’t use it. He does take a tremendous beating, but the ref gets clobbered in the process and misses Muraco quitting to the Boston crab. The International Object lays Pedro out and Muraco steals the IC title. Muraco took his whuppin’ like a man.
Final Rating: **

 

Don Muraco Speaks
Craig straight up LIES by telling us that only two men have held the IC title two times. This being recorded in 1987, with Morales, Muraco and Santana having had two title runs. Muraco congratulates us on our purchase as now we can watch him winning whenever we like.

 

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Don Muraco (c) vs. Pedro Morales
This would be Morales’ re-match for the belt in October. Muraco blades on the floor and the crowd get their jollies from Morales punching him around the ring. The cut isn’t what you’d call excessive, but Muraco treats it as such. His punches have no effect and he staggers into the ropes like a drunk at kicking out time. The ref has seen enough and stops it for blood loss. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a match that got stopped for blood loss that was legitimate. When someone bleeds an absolute gusher, it never seems to stop the match!
Final Rating: *½.

 

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Don Muraco (c) vs. Pedro Morales
Another re-match, this time from November, and a Texas Death Match. Which is a fancy way of saying there are no DQ’s. Muraco takes his time and works over the leg. It’s a calm and controlled performance from the champ. They don’t play up the stipulations much, unless you’d normally DQ Muraco for having a beard. Muraco blades again and the MSG crowd feel the potential screwy ending coming. That’s what happens when you have a lame blood loss stoppage. This cut is about the same as the blood loss one. Muraco gets beaten from pillar to post and Morales punches him into a pinfall. They really didn’t use the no DQ stipulation at all and Muraco’s blood loss was the same as the last match. The punch that finishes is awesome though. Pedro just socks Muraco in the cheek.
Final Rating: **

 

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Pedro Morales (c) vs. Don Muraco
Yet another match in this never-ending series. They feuded for about 2 years. This is the last one, as Muraco is about to remove the IC title from Pedro’s waist permanently. This also appears on Best of the WWF Vol. 2. Muraco tries to jump ahead of the bell but Morales beats the crap out of him, tearing his shirt and leaving him lying at ringside. Muraco has taken such a pounding during this series. He really could take the abuse. Muraco briefly mounts a comeback by trying to choke Morales with what’s left of his shirt, only for Pedro to kick him in the balls. Morales picks up a knee injury by missing in the corner and that gives Muraco a bulls eye. Morales attempts a comeback but gives Muraco a backbreaker on his screwed up knee. Not the smartest. He hooks the Boston crab but can’t hold it because his knee is bad. It’s good psychology and really puts over that injury. Morales attempts a slam but his knee gives out and Muraco falls on top for the pin. Love the psychology with the knee. You just don’t see that often enough. Frequently when a body part is worked its just to eat up time and never figures into the end of the match.
Final Rating: ***

 

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Don Muraco (c) vs. Tito Santana
This is from Boston Garden in February 1984, and for whatever reason the full match is gone. Presumably someone taped over it. But what remains is shown here. Muraco struggles to keep up with Santana’s offence and we clip ahead to Tito celebrating with the belt.

 

Tito Santana Speaks
Tito claims he’d scouted Muraco ahead of the bout. He goes on to explain the finish where Muraco charged him and he leapfrogged into a sunset flip. That sounds pretty cool. He stays in character and claims Lou Albano destroyed the footage. That’s actually quite clever. Always blame the heels when something goes wrong!

 

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Tito Santana (c) vs. Greg Valentine
This is from August 1984 in MSG. Both these guys were really good at the time. Only the finish is shown, with Tito hitting a crossbody to retain but Hammer attacks him and straps on the Figure Four afterwards. Santana’s post-match promo is great but not as good as Valentine’s, who claims Tito works at Taco Bell and used to drive garbage trucks. Gotta love the race card.

 

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Tito Santana (c) vs. Greg Valentine
This feud rumbled on for some considerable time. This one coming from London, Ontario the following month. It looks like Stampede’s ring. Santana comes in hurt, still selling the knee from MSG. Tito gets a three count but Hammer is in the ropes, so while Santana celebrates, Valentine jumps him from behind and scores the pin. It’s an important belt change but there’s not much of this match on the tape. Valentine ruthlessly tries to put Santana out of action with the Figure Four afterwards.

 

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Greg Valentine (c) vs. Tito Santana
This is from November 1984 and MSG. Hammer hasn’t been able to put Santana on the shelf despite the assaults on his leg. This is an energetic battle, with Hammer bleeding. Santana drives his face into the mat for an epic nearfall in a pool of Greg’s own blood. Hammer’s delayed selling rather ruins the Flying Forearm, but he kicks out of that too. The impact leaves him even more bloodied. Tito really hates Hammer by this point so he works the cut with CHOPS. That naturally serves to piss Hammer off, and you can feel the hatred. It’s tangible. Valentine insists on punching at Tito’s knee. So now you’ve got Tito on one leg and Valentine bleeding all over the place and the CURFEW kicks in. It’s a draw. Man, that curfew thing was bullshit. Fantastic hatred in this one. They were really out to hurt each other. Had this gone through to its logical conclusion it could have been one of the best matches of the decade.
Final Rating: ***¼

 

Steel Cage Match
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Greg Valentine (c) vs. Tito Santana
They need to blow this one off so it’s a cage match, with Hammer having taken a few cheap count-out losses. There’s a massive jump between the last match and this one. Some eight months. The feud had continued with Santana taking a breather to heal his injured knee in the middle. This is JIP and near the finish. Santana goes out over the top while Valentine opts for the door. Santana is so close he kicks the door into Hammer’s face and drops down to win the belt for a second time.

 

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Tito Santana (c) vs. Randy Savage
This is from Boston Garden in January 1986. It’s not Savage’s title win. Randy is a total jerk here, moving at a million miles an hour and hiding behind Liz. He gets a bit fierce and knocks Liz over, Tito helps her up and Savage knocks him into the front row before winning on count out. They had great chemistry and Savage was sensational at the time. Shame this is only clips.

 

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Tito Santana (c) vs. Randy Savage
This is from the following month and the title switch. It’s exactly the same clip that appears on Savage’s tape. Randy wins the belt by punching Tito with a foreign object. Speculation that Savage removed his dick and punched Santana with it, is unfounded.

 

Summary: Sadly some of the historical matches no longer exist in full form, but this is a solid tape if you wanted to check out the Muraco-Morales and Santana-Valentine feuds. They’re covered in remarkable depth for a 1987 tape release. As for the rest; it’s a clipshow. Given the sheer volume of matches on the release, it’s understandable. Nowadays, the whole thing could have slipped through unedited a single Blu-Ray disc. Considering the expense of videotape at the time, there probably wasn’t a market for a double-tape set. It remains a tidy piece of history about one of wrestling’s most beloved title belts. The IC championship has been considered a big honour for workers since the early days, but this tape demonstrates how it went from a secondary title to a worker’s belt during the course of the 80s. Interesting history.
Verdict: 64

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