A long, long time ago, in a galaxy not all that far away, the Intercontinental Championship meant something. Like really meant something. Bret Hart, Mr. Perfect, Shawn Michaels, Ricky Steamboat, Randy Savage, Tito Santana, Don Muraco and Pat Patterson waged wars over the title, sacrificing themselves for the allure of the gold. They bled, sweated and cried for the right to hoist the belt overhead, to have their names etched in the history books. It was a great honor to be selected to hold the belt because it meant that you were considered to be one of the best workers in the industry. For some, the strap was a stepping stone to bigger and better things further up the card. For others, it was the culmination of years of hard work and a sign of respect from management. Over time, the title has been greatly devalued. It has become a prop, an afterthought given to a guy in the midcard simply to necessitate a series of matches. Like an outdated edition of the iPhone, it is useful to WWE Creative for a moment but the minute something shinier and newer comes along, they lose interest and focus their attention elsewhere. Numerous young stars, seemingly destined for greatness, have been awarded a run with the title, only to become lost in the shuffle and used as tackling dummies for guys further up the card than they. Yes, the Intercontinental Championship that we once knew and loved is gone and in its place is a poor excuse for a midcard championship. There is hope, however, that the importance of the title will one day be reemphasized. You can see it ever-so-slightly in today's product. The Miz is a strong heel character that fans absolutely despise while his to contender, Dolph Ziggler, has the fans' love and admiration thanks to his hard work and dedication in the face of an uneven push and punishment due to backstage politics. The feud between them has brought eyes back to the title and has some remembering some of the greatest Intercontinental champions in the company's 50-year history. What did they do to enhance the legacy of the title? Take a look for yourself.
Erik Beaston is a freelance pro wrestling writer who likes long walks in the park, dandelions and has not quite figured out that this introduction is not for Match.com. He resides in Parts Unknown, where he hosts weekly cookouts with Kane, The Ultimate Warrior, Papa Shango and The Boogeyman. Be jealous.