Is The WWE Intercontinental Championship Cursed? Examining Every Reign For The Past 3 Years

WWE announced on the June 30, 2014 episode of Monday Night Raw that Bad News Barrett had to vacate the Intercontinental Championship due to a shoulder injury suffered the week prior. As a result of the injury, Barrett required surgery and was listed as to being out "a number of months."

The company is promoting a battle royal at this month's Battleground pay-per-view to crown a new champion. With Sheamus, the current United States Champion, being an announced entrant, rumors are once again rampant about WWE possibly unifying their undercard belts. One reader mentioned they believe the Intercontinental Championship belt is cursed. Credited for helping to launch the successful careers of stars such as Razor Ramon, Mr. Perfect and The Rock, it's of no secret the prestige and usage of the belt has changed over the years.

In order to examine the so-called "curse" of the Intercontinental Championship, we went back and collected data over the course of the past three years. Workers to hold the title since June 2011 include Ezekiel Jackson, Cody Rhodes, Big Show, Christian, The Miz, Kofi Kingston, Wade Barrett, Curtis Axel and Big E.

Is the WWE Intercontinental Championship cursed?

Below is a look at every reign since June 19, 2011, listing the champion, how they won it and how many days they held it:

Ezekiel Jackson

How he won the title: Ezekiel Jackson beat Wade Barrett at Capitol Punishment in Washington, D.C. on June 19, 2011.

Days held: 51

Cody Rhodes:

How he won the title: Cody Rhodes hit Cross Rhodes on Ezekiel Jackson in a match taped for the August 12, 2011 episode of Smackdown in Sacramento, CA.

Days held: 236

Big Show:

How he won the title: Big Show beat Cody Rhodes in 5:18 at WrestleMania XXVIII on Sunday, April 1, 2012.

Days held: 28

Cody Rhodes:

How he won the title: Cody Rhodes beat Big Show in a Tables match at Extreme Rules 2012 in a tables match at 4:37 on Sunday, April 29, 2012.

Days held: 21


How he won the title: Christian beat Cody Rhodes in 7:25 in a singles match at WWE Over the Limit 2012 on Sunday, May 20, 2012.

Days held: 64

The Miz:

How he won the title: The Miz beat Christian on Raw 1000 in 7:49 on Monday, July 23, 2012.

Days held: 85

Kofi Kingston:

How he won the title: Kofi Kingston beat The Miz in a match taped for WWE Main Event on Tuesday, October 16, 2012.

Days held: 74

Wade Barrett:

How he won the title: Wade Barrett beat Kofi Kingston in a match taped for the December 31, 2012 episode of Monday Night Raw on December 29, 2012 in Washington, D.C.

Days held: 99

The Miz:

How he won the title: The Miz beat Wade Barrett on the Wrestlemania 29 pre-show on Sunday, April 7, 2013.

Days held: 1

Wade Barrett:

How he won the title: Wade Barrett beat The Miz on the Monday, April 8, 2013 episode of Monday Night Raw.

Days held: 69

Curtis Axel:

How he won the title: Curtis Axel beat Wade Barrett and The Miz in 10:36 in a triple threat match at WWE Payback 2013 on Sunday, June 16, 2013.

Days held: 155

Big E:

How he won the title: Big E (as Big E Langston) beat Curtis Axel on the November 18, 2013 episode of Monday Night Raw in Nashville, TN.

Days held: 167

Bad News Barrett:

How he won the title: Bad News Barrett beat Big E in 7:55 at Extreme Rules 2014 on Sunday, May 4, 2014.

Days held: 57

Where does WWE go from here? Is it time to unify the Intercontinental Championship with the United States championship, as suggested by Sheamus?

Or is it time for something else? Is it the belt or the booking of the belt? Is it the fault of the champion?

Feel free to share your comments below...

  • Patrick

    Both the IC and US belts do not mean as much as they used to………as for the IC belt one somone is champion then they go on a loseing streak in non title matches… not something a champion should do no matter what belt he holds. and the belt is not defended as much as the top belt is. you can go months before the IC or US belt is defended on PPV , Raw or SD. WWE cares more about the Heavyweight belt then the IC or US belts.

  • Splat

    I’m not sure if the IC title is cursed but it is with out a doubt the best looking title in WWE right now.

  • Chris B

    I have been thinking about this a lot since bnb injury and all I could think of for great ic champions in the last few years is Cody Rhodes. He was in the middle of his masked persona, paper bag carriers and all, he held the attention of the fans and they loved it even as they booed him. You can watch his unveiling of the classic belt on YouTube, see the importance he holds in that championship, he was elevated by being the intercontinental champion, and the championship was elevated because he held it. That might sound ridiculous but it was true, he held the belt, kept it, went into wrestlemania as the favourite to win against the big show no less.

    It’s true that he floundered after losing it as the guys in back tried to think what to do next with him and while I don’t remember his matches I do remember him as a great champion.

    I would love to see wnw do a more in depth look at his championship run, an analysis of what I consider to be the last true IC champion.

    • Venom

      Cody is the only one on the list who seems to have the most potential going forward. Miz and Barett are far behind but on top of the rest. Once he lost it though he went on a serious losing streak then teamed with Sandow and later on Goldust. I mean Cody had his match pulled at WM after that losing IC.

      While I think Stardust is entertaining it’s only because Cody is talented and can make things work. If it was someone else I thi I it would fail.

  • Sandeep Agarwal

    I didn’t get the “cursed” part.

    • Venom

      the cursed part is what happened to them after losing it. No direction, losing streak, off tv for long period of time or injury. Someone like Cody had a great run although kept losing non title matches to Orton, after he lost it he didn’t go up a level and ended up teaming with Sandow and stuck in tag team midcard level.

      Ezekial, enough said about him. Kofi Kingston’s last big run. Sure he’s won the last few weeks but by fluke and is getting his ass handed to him after. Curtis Axel is a joke, Miz sucks now, Big E. is lost.

      • GODSENT68

        Well glad you’re here to explain the “curse” cause, as opposed to the title of the article, the curse wasn’t really explained why/how it’s cursed though

        • Venom

          Thanks. Richard was referring to me as the reader as I had commented about it in today’s askWNW and said there should be an article about it. I just hoped it actually talked about what happened to the former champions of the past 3 years.

          If you notice Bryan and Ziggler never held IC title. Only US title and later won WHC. Sure their career can’t be great at the moment but attest they went up a level… For a bit.

          • Venom

            CORRECTION: before anybody calls me out on it, I went on wikipedia, Ziggler did hold the IC title at one point in 2011. However, the curse happened in June 2011 when Ezekial beat Barett only to lose it a month and a half later to Cody. That’s when the curse really took off.

  • Avalanchian

    Less belts just means less storyline for the writers to have to worry about and more filler matches that are just so random and mean nothing.

  • Roger

    I don’t see how it’s cursed. All you posted was stats and how they won and how long. Don’t explain how or why. Like everything else it’s because of creative booking.

  • Chris

    I was looking for something on each guy to show some kind of curse. Bit of a pointless article

  • Mysterion

    I do agree with what’s new said. At what point was the so called curse explored here man?

  • Karlo

    In the year 1999 didn’t the ic title change hands 8 or 9 times ??? And that year was one of the greatest of not the greatest year in wwe history

    • Bob’s Diner

      1999 the best? I actually thought it was one of the worst; Vince McMahon main-evented 3 PPV’s and became WWF champion… Vince Russo went to super crash mode for about 6 months before leaving… The legendary Big Show vs Big Bossman feud over the title (and Big Show’s dead father)… Owen Hart’s tragic death…Billy Gunn – King of the Ring… THE HIGHER POWER… need I continue?

      • Venom

        I think 1999 was just near the end of an amazing era. Year 2000 was the start of the downhill monopoly where WCW losing money and lead to WWE buying them. 1996-2000 for WWEs greatest times. Really wrestling altogether.

        • Bob’s Diner

          2000 was great. Calrification: 2000 WWF was great. 2000 WCW was entertainingly bad.
          I’d rate 1997 in general as the best year to be a fan during that time – both WCW and WWE were at the top of their games.

          1999 was so bad I didn’t watch WWF for near 6 months. It was just that darn stupid and ridiculous. Vince Russo must have been having the time of his life writing those terrible storylines and Vince McMahon got to live out his dream of being the top wrestler in his company. Hurrah!

          • Venom

            But wasn’t 1999 in WCW had the nWo split and the wolfpac was created? It gave it a little extra juice until the end of the year until we had the great finger poke of doom.

            Also 1996 is when HBK won the title at WM and Hall & Nash went to WCW and started nWo. That’s why I think 1996-2000 maybe 2001 was great to be a wrestling fan. After WCW was bought and WWE moved to Spike (the new TNN) it’s when creative stopped being creative.

            Since this article is about curses, maybe having your show on TNN/Spike is a curse…. ECW, WWE(creative that is) and now TNA!

          • Bob’s Diner

            January 1999 was the fingerpoke of doom – that ended the NWO split (they split in April 1998). My opinion; 1996-1997 were awesome, 1998 was crazy but really fun (how could you not enjoy the Undertaker and his brother coming back from the dead to use their magical powers against one another?), 1999 was downright awful and 2000 was fun again. I totally agree 2001 and the Invasion was the start of a downward trend for WWE.

            Maybe TNN/Spike are cursed!!!

          • Venom

            you’re right. First time someone stomped me on a wrestling history!

            But yes TNN/Spike might be a curse for wrestling promotions. WWE may still be alive but it’s never been the same since moving to Spike.

            Btw, I just did a google search on wwe intercontinental title curse and a yahoo article was written last month about how since 2011 every wrestler who held it never won a world title. It seems amateurish in terms of writing as it doesn’t go in depth. But I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought of this as people called me crazy last year when I first mentioned it.

            Too bad as I aways said if I was gonna spend $400 on a replica belt it would be the current IC title.

          • Bob’s Diner

            That is insane to think about. You’ve been talking about this for a while and you absolutely are on to something… I hadn’t even thought about that.

            BTW I checked out the network last night (put a geo-blocker on one of my computers and signed up for the free week) and watching SumemrSlam 2008 made me appreciate the current product a lot more.

  • rschell21

    I would like to see wwe steal a tna idea (it isn’t like the two company steal each others ideas anyway) if they do unify the mid belts have them have the IC belt like the x division belt with destination x but use idk like night of champions and have whoever is IC champion get the opportunity to give up the belt for a shot at the world title at night of champions. I think it would help elevate the belt and create more upper card superstars

  • Venom

    It was my idea for the article as I posted it on the askWNW segment. My idea of it being cursed is not how they won it or how long they’ve held it. That’s not the point of the “curse”. The point of my idea of the curse is what happened to them once they lost it. Ezekial lost it and then started jobbing to guys like Jindrr Mahal and thendisappeared. Cody Rhodes was losing non title matches and seemed to be heading to main event but after he lost it lost so much steam and rather then being a main eventer started tagging with Sandow. Kofi started jobbing after losing the IC title. Look at Axel and Big E.

    Very disappointed with this article Richard as I thought it would talk about what happened to them after losing it. Having a long reign means nothing if the person isn’t defending it. Dean Ambrose was along reigning US champion but he didn’t defend it for months.

  • Chris B

    Looking at it I think the two belts, along with the extended roster suffered the most for the abandonment of the two brands idea. Before raw and smackdown were separate and had to make better use of the belts they had as they were the unique selling points of the two shows, now everything is one big show their just part of whatever storyline is being pushed for them and it seems feuds with superstars is easier to write then feuds over a belt that has no power with it.

  • K!NG

    It’s not cursed the creative team is told to be focused on the main storylines which make the mid card story’s suffer. from 98 to 2002 wwe had 6 titles that were decently managed through that time. I thought the whole idea of Unifying the world titles was to make there mid card belts more valuable which has not been the case(the string of injury’s dont help)

    • Venom

      It’s not like someone put a voodoo on the title itself. It’s just a coincidence that the last 3 years all former holders had their career go downhill in what was supposed to be a title that takes you to the next level.

      The idea of the curse itself is what happened to the guys after losing the title. Not how long they held it.

  • Tom Mayer

    The WWE hasn’t appropriately used the mid card titles in about 14 years. When they separated the brands and then made two world titles, for the longest time everyone looked at the big gold belt as the 2nd title because it was portrayed as such for most of it’s life. When you focus all of your creative efforts, and have so many title belts, something will get lost in the shuffle.

    It is time to unify the mid card titles and actually FOCUS on creative for it. There are 3 hours of RAW and 2 hours of smackdown plus main event, nxt….the list goes on and on. This is far too many hours of content to push with their current creative team. Hire some more people, a team to focus on the top tier title, and a team to focus on the mid tier titles, including the tag team title.

    You can’t put your entire creative effort behind the WWE Title, there is an entire card to consider, and usually 5-6 other matchs. It’s 2014, there is very little excuse for the lack of effort.

  • Moto212

    Make Sheamus win the championship battle royal, Merge the titles and name it World Champion title. That would make the title way more powerful and have Sheamus first ppv opponent be a main eventer (likely Orton, Wyatt, Reigns, Jericho).

    • Bob’s Diner

      Yes that solves things. Make a third ‘world’ title. Great idea

  • Vic Jose

    Creative direction and perhaps guys who weren’t going anywhere

  • BeastBillMurray

    Booking is the issue not that the belt is cursed. The two titles should be unified tho, both belts are just props right now

  • The Breaker

    I made a comment in the RAW Open Thread last week saying that the IC title is cursed. My reason for saying that had to do with the fact that there have been many instances in which people who have held the title in recent years don’t seem to get booked strongly during their reign and after it ends. In other words, they don’t truly benefit from the rub. And the frustrating part of that is that WWE constantly makes reference to the historic significance and prestige of the belt without actually treating it with the same respect in terms of how current and past champions are booked. I believe that it is the man that makes the title, but creative missteps can certainly stymie someone’s potential to do something great.

    • Venom

      I never saw your comment as I don’t read raw open thread, however, I said the IC title was a curse last year and when Big E won it I joked that once he loses it his career will go down hill and it kinda is.

      In the case of Ezekial, I remember reading Richard said he had a wellness violation but then produced a prescription but there was still heat on him for it. Maybe someone can confirm that.

      I also remember after Cody lost it to Christian in a short match I was scratching my head. Then he tweeted “time off” which made me wonder if he was suspended for a wellness violation but somehow produced a prescription as he ended up still being on tv only to have a losing streak and later teaming with Sandow.

  • Adam

    haha I see you are using the word “examining” very loosely.