WWE // 2008 // 540 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Franck Tabouring (Retired) // December 20th, 2008
30 years of in-you-face smackdowns. Think you can handle it?
Including tons of matches from the past three decades, WWE: The History of the Intercontinental Championship looks back at the history of a title many enthusiastic athletes held before moving on to a higher weight class.
Are you ready to wrestle? Here's what this collection has to offer:
Disc 1 -- The 1980s
* Pat Patterson vs. Ted DiBiase
* Ken Patera vs. Pedro Morales
* Pedro Morales vs. The Magnificent Muraco
* Greg Valentine vs. Tito Santana
* Tito Santana vs. Randy "Macho Man" Savage
* Randy "Macho Man" Savage vs. Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat
* Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat vs. Honky Tonk Man
* Honky Tonk Man vs. Ultimate Warrior
* Ravishing Rick Rude vs. Ultimate Warrior
Disc 2 -- The 1990s
* Mr. Perfect vs. Bret "Hit Man" Hart
* Bret "Hit Man" Hart vs. British Bulldog
* Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels
* Razor Ramon vs. Jeff Jarrett
* Rocky Maivia vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin
* Triple H vs. The Rock
* Jeff Jarrett vs. Chyna
Disc 3 -- The 2000s
* Chris Jericho vs. Kurt Angle
* Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Jericho vs. X-Pac
* Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy
* Rob Van Dam vs. Jeff Hardy
* Edge vs. Randy Orton
* Ric Flair vs. Triple H
* Rob Van Dam vs. Shelton Benjamin
* Carlito vs. Johnny Nitro vs. Shelton Benjamin
* Jeff Hardy vs. Umaga
* Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Jericho
As Todd Grisham explains in his introduction, this collection was assembled by asking WWE fans about their favorite Intercontinental Championship matches. In the end, twenty-six title matches made it onto these three discs. Here they are:
* Pat Patterson vs. Ted DiBiase at Madison Square Garden in 1979
Clocking in at only 8 minutes, this opening match from 1979 is not necessarily the most entertaining one. It's a little slow-paced for my taste, and although DiBiase delivers a few interesting moves, he never really gets a chance to make this a memorable battle.
* Ken Patera vs. Pedro Morales at Madison Square Garden in 1980
This one is definitely an improvement on its predecessor, as both wrestlers kick it up a notch. Although their 16 minutes in the ring is mostly kicks, punches, and long submission holds, the show they deliver is not boring. We do get to see a couple of bold moves, and a little surprise at the end serves as an amusing finish.
* Pedro Morales vs. The Magnificent Muraco at Madison Square Garden in
Morales and Muraco put all their energy into this 14-minute battle, which is not as fast-paced as the previous title match. Still, the determination of both wrestlers to give the crowd a decent show works.
* The Magnificent Muraco vs. Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka at Madison
Square Garden in 1983
Even though the first steel cage match on this disc lasts for only 7 minutes, it delivers plenty of solid wrestling entertainment. Watch out for an awesome bonus stunt toward the end of the match!
* Greg Valentine vs. Tito Santana at Madison Square Garden in 1985
This one is a Lumberjack Match, which means a bunch of fellow wrestlers surround the ring to make sure none of the two competitors inside will attempt to leave the fighting ground to back out or take a little break. Much like the previous battles, this one features mostly kicks, punches, and long submission maneuvers. While this fighting style may be considered a little boring in pro wrestling today, it certainly got the crowds cheering back in the '80s. That said, this 15-minute matchup is certainly not a disaster; on the contrary, both wrestlers know what they're doing, and that's what ultimately matters.
* Tito Santana vs. Randy "Macho Man" Savage at Boston Garden in
Clocking in at 10 minutes, this championship match is rather amusing, with Randy Savage making use of all kinds of dirty tricks to weaken his opponent and snatch the Intercontinental title from him. Interesting to notice also is the wrestlers' increased use of high-risk maneuvers, which obviously boosts the match's overall pacing.
* Randy "Macho Man" Savage vs. Ricky "The Dragon"
Steamboat at WrestleMania III in 1987
The look of the giant Pontiac stadium filled with more than 93,000 eager wrestling fans alone makes this matchup a memorable one. And wow, what a fantastic battle this is. Savage and Steamboat undoubtedly deliver the most action-packed title match we've seen so far on this disc, complete with bold moves and incredible determination. At 14 minutes, this one is neither too short nor too long, showing the explosive crowd in Pontiac and the viewers at home what exciting pro wrestling is really about. This one's one to remember.
* Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat vs. Honky Tonk Man at SuperStars in
At only four minutes, this is quite a short title match, but that doesn't mean it's not entertaining. On the contrary, Honky Tonk Man and Steamboat don't waste much time but get straight to the action, offering viewers a decent, fast-paced fight.
* Honky Tonk Man vs. Ultimate Warrior at SummerSlam in 1988
I know it's hard to believe, but this one only lasts for 45 seconds. It's obviously way too short a match to be taken seriously, but nonetheless, it's quite amusing.
* Ravishing Rick Rude vs. Ultimate Warrior at SummerSlam in 1989
The Ultimate Warrior brings along tons of energy and plenty of determination, and the crowd loves it. Both athletes offer a nice display of their flexibility, delivering a variety of powerful maneuvers that keep this championship match engaging enough until the very end. That concludes Disc One. Let's break into the '90s:
* Mr. Perfect vs. Bret "Hit Man" Hart at SummerSlam in 1991
I always enjoyed watching Bret Hart in action, and one thing I always looked forward to seeing was the Sharp Shooter, Hart's great signature submission maneuver. And you'll certainly get to see the Shooter in this 17-minute matchup, a highly entertaining and powerful enough battle that gets Disc Two off to a solid start. Strong kicks, high-risk moves, and plenty of attitude make for a good pro wrestling show, and that's exactly what this opener is like.
* Bret "Hit Man" Hart vs. British Bulldog at SummerSlam in 1992
At 23 minutes, this one is pretty long, but it also features everything you would expect from a championship match at a PPV. It's got the fierce kicks, the submission holds, the strong punches, the powerful maneuvers, and plenty of action-packed signature moves that will keep the entertainment factor at a considerably high level throughout.
* Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania X in 1994
Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels go head to head in a Ladder match, which means the title belt is suspended over the ring and both wrestlers must use a ladder to grab it for the win. Because there are no other rules in this matchup, the two athletes don't shy away from grabbing the ladder and using it to cause damage to each other. If well coordinated, these matches are a lot of fun because you never know who's able to successfully mount that ladder to the top without being thrown off by the opponent. Additionally, ladders give wrestlers a great opportunity to deliver impressive dives and other high-risk maneuvers, and there are plenty of those in this fight. Excellent match!
* Razor Ramon vs. Jeff Jarrett at Royal Rumble in 1995
Although this one slows down from time to time because Jeff Jarrett likes to put on a silly show, it's by no means a boring match. On the contrary, the fast-paced moments of this battle deliver the goods, with both Ramon and Jarrett exchanging momentums via a variety of cool Irish Whips and other flexible moves. Clocking in at 20 minutes, this is yet another solid display of entertaining pro wrestling.
* Rocky Maivia vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin at In Your House: D-X in 1997
Stone Cold and Rocky enter this ring with incredible energy and enthusiasm, giving fans just what they want to see: an efficient title match with great heavy maneuvers and plenty of twists. I really enjoyed what WWE show writers accomplished during in the '90s, because they gave pro wrestling's stars a chance to give audiences their money's worth on so many occasions. This one only lasts for five minutes, but these five minutes are certainly electrifying.
* Triple H vs. The Rock at In Your House: Fully Loaded in 1998
This title match between HHH and the Rock is a two out of three falls match, which means the first wrestler to score two pinfalls wins the game and championship. The whole battle lasts for about 30 minutes, and while that is quite long for this kind of matchup, Triple H and the Rock keep it engaging enough throughout. Both wrestlers have a diverse set of moves that are powerful and look nice, and neither shies away from using their technical skills to the fullest extent. It may not be the best fight we've seen on the disc, but it's certainly recommendable.
* Jeff Jarrett vs. Chyna at No Mercy in 1999
Jeff Jarrett's and Chyna's match for the title is utterly ridiculous, yet highly amusing. This being a so-called Good Housekeeping Match, the two wrestlers are allowed to use all sorts of gadgets scattered around the ring. Yes, those include ironing boards, microwaves, flour, milk, eggs, and even salami. As stupid as it sounds and eventually is, Jarrett and Chyna takes this seriously enough by using everything they find against each other. It's a laughable matchup indeed, but it's also a good way to conclude the '90s. And that wraps up Disc Two. On to the present decade:
* Chris Jericho vs. Kurt Angle at No Way Out in 2000
Kicking off this third and final disc are Y2J and Olympic medalist Kurt Angle, who deliver a solid 10-minute show loaded with fast-paced wrestling action and a couple of minor surprises that spice up this battle a little. No Way Out 2000 was an excellent pay-per-view, and this match certainly contributed to the success of the event.
* Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Jericho vs. X-Pac at SmackDown in 2000
Welcome to the Triple Threat, the perfect display of these three athletes' flexibility and willingness to deliver high-risk moves to offer audiences entertaining wrestling performances. It's too bad this one only lasts for 3 minutes, because it's both powerful and utterly entertaining from start to finish.
* Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy at Smackdown in 2001
Clocking in at eight minutes, Triple H's match against Jeff Hardy is fun to watch for several reasons. While the Game brings along powerful punches and some strong signature moves, Hardy boasts risky maneuvers that can easily make any matchup look a lot more impressive. This one's a short but efficient battle.
* Rob Van Dam vs. Jeff Hardy at Raw in 2002
It's time to return to some ladder action, a match type that's always entertaining to follow. Hardy and Van Dam don't waste any time and get straight to business, making use of the first ladder within the first minute of the battle. Ladders also give wrestlers plenty of opportunities to perform extreme dives, and we certainly get to see a lot of those in this short but vibrant 7-minute competition.
* Edge vs. Randy Orton at Vengeance in 2004
The action may slow down in this 27-minute championship match, but both Edge and Orton show what it means to have enough endurance in this business. The moves they deliver are by no means as exciting as the ones we've seen in the previous couple of matches, but I can hardly imagine any wrestling fan out there not appreciating the effort these young wrestlers put into this matchup. Not bad indeed.
* Ric Flair vs. Triple H at Taboo Tuesday in 2005
If you like steel, you'll certainly enjoy this Steel Cage Match between the Nature Boy and the Game. Surprises are scarce in this 23-minute battle, but the two wrestlers keep the action flowing at a steady pace. Yes, the steel comes to use a lot as well.
* Rob Van Dam vs. Shelton Benjamin at Backlash in 2006
The winner of this intercontinental championship match walks away not only with a title, but also with a case full of cash. I've always enjoyed Van Dam spilling his energy all over the ring, and this battle against Benjamin is not different. Both athletes are on fire for most of this 19-minute matchup, and that's exactly what the audience wants to see.
* Carlito vs. Johnny Nitro vs. Shelton Benjamin at Vengeance in 2006
We return to some Triple Threat action for this match, which features three young athletes looking for a quick career boost. While this is certainly not the most suspenseful match of this collection, some of the risky moves we get to see inside this ring are indeed quite stunning.
* Jeff Hardy vs. Umaga at The Great American Bash in 2007
Hardy and Umaga don't share the same weight class, but that does not prevent Hardy to use his speed to his advantage in his attempt to give viewers the show they deserve. Then again, Umaga also uses his power to his own advantage. Doesn't this sound like the recipe for a fun wrestling battle? Indeed, that's exactly what it is.
* Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Jericho at Raw in 2008
We wrap this disc and the collection with a short but decent enough match between Jeff Hardy and Chris Jericho, who've both had an especially busy year in '08. This may not be the most exciting performance they've given us recently, but for an Intercontinental Championship Match at Raw, it's better than many single or championship battles we see during pay-per-views.
Overall, The History of the Intercontinental Championship is an excellent collection stuffed with mostly great matches. It's an interesting look back at the history of the title, and a great way to follow how pro wrestling and its television coverage has changed between the late '70s and today. This collection does not include any special features, and frankly, that's not a problem at all here. There's plenty of wrestling action to enjoy here, and Todd Grisham's quick interludes add some extra insight into the history of the Intercontinental Championship.
As far as the technical aspects are concerned, the matches from the 1980s obviously bear a poorer image quality than those of the 1990s and 2000s. That, however, is not an issue here. There is only so much you can do with footage this old, and the presentation on this set looks just fine. Same goes for the audio transfer, which increases in quality as you work your way through the collection.
Diehard wrestling fans looking to beef up their collection should definitely invest in this three-disc set. With fancy packaging to match the compelling content, this is an exciting WWE release.
Ring the bell! Not guilty!
Review content copyright © 2008 Franck Tabouring; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 540 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated