The Most Underrated Intercontinental Champion in WWE History
The Intercontinental Championship is a very prestigious title in World Wrestling Entertainment. A championship that has been active since 1979 when it was first held by Pat Patterson. Over the last 40 years, many well-known wrestlers have held the belt.
Who comes to mind when we think of a list of Intercontinental champions? The list of holders ranges from "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Bret "The Hitman" Hart, Owen Hart, Rick Rude, The Ultimate Warrior, Mr. Perfect, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon, Chris Jericho, The Miz, and the list goes on.
However, there's one name that doesn't get enough credit. That would be The Honky Tonk Man. Let's not forget, to this day, he still holds the record as the longest-reigning Intercontinental champion. To be precise, the reign last 454 days.
The Honky Tonk Man has to go down as one of the biggest heels in the business. It a gimmick of an Elvis Presley impersonation and being managed by "Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart. The Honky Tonk Man would defeat Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat to win the title under controversial circumstances.
Being a heel, The Honky Tonk Man often retained his title by getting himself intentionally disqualified or by being counted out. He would often smash his guitar on the heads of his rivals. His skills on the microphone were those of a unique villain. The idea of him often losing by disqualification was to further solidify himself as a top villain. The Honky Tonk Man truly had a skill of making the fans strongly dislike him. Overall, the Honky Tonk Man truly wasn't a typical heel. His character, mic skills, and the way he could drive himself put him on a much higher level.
According to Sportskeeda, The Honky Tonk Man was originally meant to hold the belt for a short time. The plan was for him to drop the belt to Jake "The Snake" Roberts, but Roberts would fail several drug tests following Wrestlemania III, forcing Vince McMahon to make a change of plans.
During his 64-week reign, The Honky Tonk Man would feud with the likes of George "The Animal" Steele, "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, and Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake. At the 1988 Summerslam, The Honky Tonk Man lost the title to The Ultimate Warrior in 31 seconds. After several unsuccessful attempts to regain the belt, the Honky Tonk Man's singles run began to fade away.
After a feud with "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes, The Honky Tonk Man would form a tag team with Greg "The Hammer" Valentine known as Rythym and Blues. They would feud with The Hart Foundation and The Legion of Doom and were part of Ted DiBiase's Million Dream Team at the 1990 Survivor Series. Soon after, The Honky Tonk Man would leave WWE(WWF at the time).
On April 7, 2019, the Honky Tonk Man was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. He was inducted by his former manager, "Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart.