For 40 years, the Intercontinental Championship has been one of the most prestigious titles in WWE.
Considered a stepping stone to the world title, the Intercontinental Championship has been able to preserve a legacy of its own and many champions have gone on to become WWE Hall of Famers.
The current champion Shinsuke Nakamura is doing a good enough job as the Intercontinental Champion on SmackDown Live. He won the title from Finn Balor at Extreme Rules and since then has been on a roll. Now teaming up with Sami Zayn, the duo have shown how unstoppable they are, most recently at Clash of Champions where Nakamura was able to retain the title with a little help from his manager Zayn.
While Nakamura is playing his part well, we wonder who can help him elevate the title to a higher status. Let’s take a look at these five men who can work with Nakamura and make the IC title more interesting.
Andrade is one of the hottest young talents on the roster, and there should be no question to his abilities. He has proven time and time again with his exceptional matches that he can put on great performances.
The duo of Andrade and the cunning Zelina Vega have proven to be heat magnets and the interaction between Zayn and Vega at the side of the ring would be surely very entertaining to watch.
Andrade is not only fit for the IC title, but for the world title stage too. He has the calibre to make it to the top and investing in him starting with the Intercontinental title would be a great start.
Although Ali doesn’t boast a size advantage against most, he has a heart that he pours entirely into every match that he works. His in-ring style has captured the interest of many, and he has come close to capturing several championships in the past. In other words, Ali can be highly successful in the company.
Sooner or later, Ali will be seen breaking through and capturing gold. Ali and Nakamura have shared the ring for the title before, but the rivalry was ended around SummerSlam. He has a win over Nakamura and also a loss at Smackville, and these events alone should be enough for starting another feud.
3. Buddy Murphy
Buddy Murphy has been on a steady rise with his several entertaining matches that he has put on with wrestlers like Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns, and it’s a no-brainer that he has what it takes to be Nakamura’s opponent with all his talent.
It has only been what feels like minutes since he debuted on SmackDown Live, and right now he’s just looking for a new opponent. Nakamura is a force to be reckoned with, and Murphy is someone who can handle that.
The former Cruiserweight Champion hasn’t been part of many matches on the blue brand but he has already established what a great performer he is. He absolutely dominated as the Cruiserweight champ on 205 Live and it would be interesting to see how he carries himself in a main roster title feud.
2. Aleister Black
Nakamura is one of the best strikers on the roster and is known to play mind games with his opponents to his advantage. Who else in the company shares those similar attributes? Aleister Black. While Black’s personality is on the darker and more intimidating side, the two are going to complement each other greatly and I am just talking about out of the ring stuff here. It doesn’t even need to be said that these two can put a hell of a show inside the squared circle.
The Dutch Destroyer can help the Intercontinental Championship rivalry become more interesting with the promos and psychological warfare, and since he has been undefeated on the main roster he has momentum to go off on.
Black has had Zayn as his opponent before, so the story practically writes itself here – Zayn tries to take revenge for his loss as Black tries to battle Nakamura.
1. Apollo Crews
Standing at 6ft and 240 lb, and known both as a high-flyer and a power wrestler, it’s a crime that Apollo Crews has been neglected for so long.
Last month on SmackDown, Crews and Nakamura met in the ring where Crews was able to show his athletic skills but ultimately lost to the King of Strong Style. Nakamura wasn’t done though, he took cheap shots at Crews after the match and hit a Kinshasa just for the heck of it. Crews could be looking for revenge, and would be more than happy to return the favour to Nakamura.
Hopefully WWE decides to give more attention to the Intercontinental title and give some of the midcard wrestlers a chance at it. The roster is full of talents that are just waiting for an opportunity to shine, and with a strong champion like Nakamura it’ll be great work experience for anyone.
You can find me on Twitter @Rayan_Sayyed. Thanks for reading.