It’s a record that has stood for a staggering 35 years. Mammoth names in the sport of professional wrestling have held the Intercontinental Title, including “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock and Roman Reigns, but none could surpass The Honky Tonk Man’s lengthy reign.
It was a 1987 episode of Superstars of Wrestling where The Honky Tonk Man defeated Ricky Steamboat for the WWF Intercontinental Championship. His record-setting reign extended into 1988, when The Ultimate Warrior eventually stopped him in just 31 seconds at SummerSlam.
Overall, the Honky Tonk Man’s record sat at 454 days. That is until today, when current Intercontinental Champion Gunther has officially reached his 455th day with the strap.
It has not been an easy road for Gunther to reach that milestone. Since defeating Ricochet on the 10th of June, 2022 edition of WWE SmackDown, Gunther has successfully defended the championship on 67 occasions, if you count house shows.
Names like Rey Mysterio, Shinsuke Nakamura, and most recently Chad Gable have attempted to defeat Gunther for the title along the way. But “The Ring General” has dispatched them one by one, defiantly earning the right to become the longest-reigning Intercontinental Champion of all time.
There are no signs of his reign coming to an end, either. Gunther defeated Chad Gable in a sixteen-minute epic on this week’s Monday Night Raw.
Following on from his win over Gable, Tommaso Ciampa has emerged as Gunther’s next challenger.
In a recent interview, Matt Cardona labelled the new Intercontinental Championship design as “horrible.”
This Isn’t Gunther’s Only “Longest Reign”
It is often forgotten that Gunther isn’t just the longest-reigning Intercontinental Champion. Back in 2019, when he wrestled under the name Walter, he defeated Pete Dunne for the WWE United Kingdom Championship.
Walter would hold the championship for 870 days before losing to Ilja Dragunov at NXT TakeOver 36. His reign was record-setting, and will seemingly remain that way, as the belt was unified with the NXT Championship in 2022.
Recognising the achievement, Triple H has publicly congratulated the Intercontinental Champion upon his record-breaking reign.