A Closer Look At The WWE Intercontinental Title Contenders

bnb injured

by: Mitch Nickelson

(Originally posted at TJRWRestling.com)

All of the wrestling world has become saddened by the sudden injury of our favorite bearer of Bad News, Wade Barrett. Even when he was scripted with mostly-underwhelming jokes, Barrett’s delivery and commitment to his character won over the masses. This wrestler who had fallen from upper card relevancy in the past had reemerged with newly found vigor.

But then fate delivered a cruel twist. During the June 27th edition of Smackdown, he was thrown into a barricade and suffered a severe shoulder injury. Tests were run and the results were not favorable for BNB. According to WWE physician Dr. Chris Amann (posted on July 2nd at WWE.com):

“Bad News Barrett underwent a ligament reconstruction in his shoulder, as well as a distal clavicle resection, where the end of the collar bone is shaved off. The operation went very well, he’s resting comfortably.”

Due to these events, Barrett’s career has momentarily halted. While the WWE Universe is left without their beloved BNB, there’s another issue at stake…the Intercontinental Championship has been vacated. To remedy this, it was announced on Monday Night Raw that an over the top top battle royal will take place at the next Pay-Per-View, Battleground.

Let’s take a look at who’s announced for this match so far. I, Mitch Nickelson, will comment with my thoughts on each wrestler. I will break down who I think has a chance to win and what direction WWE might take with each guy.



The Swiss Superman has been a superstar on the rise over recent months. He’s even technically had two WWE World Heavyweight Championship shots with his appearances in the Elimination Chamber and Money In The Bank title matches. But his rise to the top seems to pale in comparison to the ex-Shield trio. If Cesaro ever gets the opportunity to hold the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, it’ll probably happen later than sooner as he’s got a lengthy line to wait behind. An Intercontinental Championship reign would be a noteworthy way to pass the time.

Being the winner of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at Wrestlemania 31, he’s already a proven winner in this type of match. With his advocate Paul Heyman by his side, Cesaro might be the favorite going into this match.


Kofi Kingston

I do understand why Kofi would be in a match like this. He’s typecasted himself as the guy who does creative things in the big gimmick matches, which isn’t a bad gig to have. He might not be climbing to the top of the company, but those brief moments a couple of times a year do wonders in keeping him over. After his win over Cesaro on Raw and the subsequent beat-down he received as a result, he’s found himself in an actual feud. While I do not see Kofi nabbing the Intercontinental title, I do see him getting a shot or two at the belt if Cesaro wins.


Damien Sandow

I have misguided hopes that all of the goofy characters that Damien Sandow has been doing as of late fits into an elaborate, grand purpose that will elevate him back into some degree of respectability. I hope that the torture of his career that’s been endured since his failed Money In the Bank cash-in against Cena ultimately works in his favor. And without being too selfish, I dream of the day that the Intellectual Savior of the Masses becomes a credible wrestler once again who doesn’t get jobbed out to the Great Khali.

Who am I kidding? Hopefully he at least does something funny.

The Great Khali

There’s a rational side of me that knows that this won’t happen. Khali will not win. Surely nobody in WWE would be that stupid, right? They realized their past failures with this guy, haven’t they?

Please, don’t let Khali win.


Rob Van Dam

There’s some logic in having RVD win here. Sure, he’s a legend that doesn’t need a mid-card title win for his own legacy. But if he wins the title at Battleground, then that sets up an opportunity for a younger guy to win it off of him in a big match at Summerslam.

That makes a lot of sense. I’m calling this scenario right now.

Dolph Ziggler

Even though he’s a former World Champion, an Intercontinental title win would be newsworthy for Dolph. He’s spent so long in bad graces with whoever is in charge of booking his character that it seemed like he’s been in the permanent dog house. If Ziggler was given the belt, it would show that the company that seemed intent on burying him into oblivion might be finally warming back up to him. This would be a massive crowd-pleaser.

Big E

If I was Big E, I wouldn’t want the Intercontinental Championship. His IC title reign seemed to be one of the worst things that could have happened to him. Did he even have any feuds while he had the title? If he did, I’ve already forgotten them.

While being the enhancement talent for Rusev over the last two Pay-Per-Views, he’s been in the process of reinventing himself slightly. What started as an uber-patriotic gimmick became a preacher gimmick. He’s getting face time on television again. Just as importantly, he’s been having good matches with Rusev on the big shows.

The crowds sort of forgot about Big E while he was IC Champ; now we’re remembering him again. We remember that we kind of like him, too. From a fan of Big E’s, don’t give him the title.



I’m combining these two. First of all, they’re a tag team now. The Ax-Man even used his paycheck to buy a matching buddy-singlet to match The Big Guy. They’re not singles wrestlers at the  moment, so don’t give them a singles title.

Also, Axel’s Intercontinental title reign was no better than Big E’s was. No one cared about him then. They don’t really care about him now, either. But he’s more bearable as a tag team. Ryback could probably do okay as the Intercontinental Champion, but like Axel, he’s not a singles wrestler at the moment. Let this team find their way in the tag division. I think they’ll ultimately be really good there.

Alberto Del Rio

Like Cesaro, he competed in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship ladder match at Money In The Bank. He’s coming off a title shot just a few days ago; he is a former World Champion; but he doesn’t really belong on that level anymore. He’s fallen from the level of the likes of Cena and Orton, but maybe not as far as Ziggler. Del Rio’s character has been a little stale for a bit and it seems unlikely that they have serious plans for him to win at Battleground.

The only situation I can imagine is similar of what I proposed for RVD, where he’s the bigger name for some young guy to take the title off of him at Summerslam. But in that case, why wouldn’t you just go with the more over RVD?

Ten guys are announced (so far) for this match at Battleground. There are plenty of guys who are exciting that are competing in this, but is this something to look forward to? Are we a little too battle-royal-ed out for 2014? Is the inclusion of Khali in this match the ultimate Bad News that Barrett meant to leave us with?

More wrestlers should be added to this in the coming weeks. Who would you like to see added to this? Also, who would you like to see win the Intercontinental title? Comment with your thoughts below, and don’t forget to add me on twitter @MitchNickelson


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