History of the Intercontinental Championship
WWE.com Legacy Edition
by Samoa Rowe
-Jack Korpela welcomes us to the program. He talks about Tito Santana’s untelevised Intercontinental title victory over Don Muraco. Santana would go on to defend the gold against all challengers.
Tito Santana © vs. Greg “The Hammer” Valentine
Madison Square Garden
August 24th 1984
They lock up by Santana has to maneuver out of a power attempt. Santana works a side headlock, blocks an atomic drop and hits one of this own. Valentine connects with some clubbing blows, but Santana knocks him off and goes back to the side headlock. Santana bounces off the ropes and runs into Valentine’s elbow. Valentine mounts and hammers away. Scoop slam into a shoulder breaker by Valentine and a forearm drop to the throat. Cover by Valentine gets 1. They trade shots, with Santana taking the upper hand. Backstage, Superfly Jimmy Snuka is being carted out on a stretcher, who was hurt in his match against Roddy Piper earlier in the program. Back to the match, Valentine is working a reverse chinlock. Valentine beats Santana into the ropes and drops an elbow. Back suplex by Valentine gets a cover for 2. Valentine tries to force the pin, but Santana bridges his back and knees the face. They trade shots with Santana coming out on top. Santana leap frogs over Valentine and accidentally wipes out the referee. High cross body by Santana. He goes for the cover and the weakened referee counts for the victory at 7:47! It looked like Valentine had his foot on the ropes. Solid, if unspectacular, the action was undermined by the Snuka angle, **.
Winner and still Intercontinental Champion: Tito Santana
-After the match, Valentine angrily locks on the figure four leglock and destroys Santana’s legs. Valentine steals the IC title belt while Santana is helped to the back.
Tito Santana © vs. Greg “The Hammer” Valentine (with Captain Lou Albano)
Maple Leaf Wrestling
September 24th 1984
Albano threatens Santana, distracting him to a cheap shot to the knee from Valentine. Santana limps to the ring and the match officially begins. Santana pounds away on Valentine, cornering him and hitting a hard Irish whip. Valentine is repeatedly smashed into the turnbuckles. Santana uses his legs to smash Valentine’s head and keeps up the smashing. Valentine confides with Albano at ringside for a moment and the match restarts. Valentine targets the injured leg, but Santana responds with blows to the head. Valentine’s figure four is blocked, but Valentine retains control. Valentine ties up the hurt knee in the ropes and kicks, but Santana bounces back with a cross body. Santana gets a near fall and thinks he won. While celebrating, Valentine jumps Santana and gets a rope assisted cover for the victory at 2:56. Valentine stole that one! This was short, but never let up on the intensity, *Ľ.
Winner and new Intercontinental Champion: Greg Valentine
-Korpela takes us back to the first day of 1985. Valentine wanted to go down in history as the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time and accepted a rematch with Santana.
Greg “The Hammer” Valentine (with Captain Lou Albano) © vs. Tito Santana
January 1st 1985
The fans are so angry that they are throwing trash into the ring during Valentine and Albano’s entrance. Santana charges the ring and jumps Valentine before the bell can ring. Santana is relentless, smashing Valentine’s head all over the ring. Santana is briefly distracted by Albano, which allows Valentine to get some shots in, but Santana knocks him off. They brawl to the ringside area, with Valentine trying to escape the onslaught. Valentine takes advantage of an opening and takes control of the match. Santana rolls over and viciously smashes Valentine’s skull into the mat. Atomic drop by Valentine, but Santana blocks an attack on his recently surgically repaired leg. Santana falls out of the ring, prompting Albano to leave the commentary table for an unnecessary cheap shot. Valentine pursues and they brawl at ringside. Valentine takes a chair and misses a wild swing. Santana takes the chair and brings it to the ring. Santana cracks the chair over Valentine’s skull. The referee is allowing it too. With Valentine busted open, Santana clubs away at the wound. The referee tries to settle things down, but Santana tosses him to the side. This cues the disqualification at 6:00. Excellent brawl, just on the short side, **˝.
Winner by DQ: Greg Valentine
-After the match, Santana continues the assault and lays a beating on an interfering Albano.
-Korpela explains that after the disqualification, the WWF didn’t want a repeat. Therefore, they ordered the rematch to take place in a lumberjack match.
Greg “The Hammer” Valentine © (with Jimmy Hart) vs. Tito Santana
April 9th 1985
This is the previously mentioned lumberjack match. Santana is more settled coming into this match, and it’s Valentine that is aggressive in the early going. Santana ducks a clothesline and knocks Valentine off his feet. Santana fires himself up and sends Valentine fleeing to ringside. The lumberjacks are reluctant to do anything, so Ricky Steamboat has to single handedly force Valentine back into the ring. Back to the ring, Valentine tries to make a plea bargain, but eats an atomic drop and a knee lift. The Hammer flees to ringside again, but King Kong Bundy and Junk Yard Dog force him to return. Valentine nails an atomic drop. Santana takes control with some vicious stomps and the skull cracker. Valentine retreats to ringside, but Rocky Johnson leads the lumberjacks to shoving him back. Santana connects with a clubbing blow off the ropes but can’t get the cover. Valentine runs away again and the bell rings. Valentine tries to jump the barricade, but the lumberjacks stop him. Back to the ring, the match appears to still be official. Santana cleans house but runs into Valentine’s knee. Cover by Valentine gets 2. Valentine drops some forearms and gets some more near falls. The Hammer goes to work on Santana’s vulnerable knee. Santana breaks free of a stretch, but Valentine remains in control. Santana is tossed to ringside, where Big John Studd leads a charge against Santana. Valentine tosses Santana over the ropes again and keeps kicking him into the lumberjacks. The Hammer hits a forearm off the second rope and sets up the figure four, slapping Santana across the face in the process. Santana blocks the figure four and gets an inside cradle for 2. They exchange shots, but Valentine’s uppercut sends Santana to the mat for a near fall. Valentine pulls the hair and pummels in the corner. Santana counters Valentine, dropping him face first on the turnbuckle. They exchange shots, with Santana getting the upper hand. Valentine tries to escape, but gets pulled back in by the tights. Suplex by Tito gets a cover for 2. Santana goes for the figure four, but it’s blocked. Valentine tries to leave, but Rocky Johnson and the baby face lumberjacks stop him. Forearm shot by Santana sets up the figure four! Jimmy Hart distracts the referee while John Studd pulls Valentine’s arm into the ropes. Santana attacks Studd, leaving himself vulnerable to a club to the back from The Hammer. They exchange shots again and as usual Santana gets the better. Valentine rebounds with a shoulder block and gets the cover for the win at 14:53. While Valentine got the victory, both men were out. This was a strong match, but not the blow-off the fans were hoping for, ***.
Winner and still Intercontinental Champion: Greg Valentine
-Korpela gushes over how fantastic the lumberjack match was. He invites us to tune in to part four, where we will find out if the Santana/Valentine rivalry was truly over, and who finally did defeat Valentine for the gold.
As in part two, this edition focused on the rivalry between two superstars who both wanted to be Intercontinental Champion. This has been a great way to put over just how much the title meant during the early to mid 1980’s. I really like being able to sit down and watch a 45 minute program that highlights a feud that lasted for the better part of a year. The Santana/Valentine feud didn’t match the quality of Muraco/Morales, but were all very heated and had the full attention of the fans.