One of the most historic championship records in WWE history has finally been broken by current WWE Intercontinental Champion Gunther. Between June 2nd 1987 and August 29th 1988, The Honky Tonk Man reigned as the 12th champion in the title’s lineage and successfully retained the belt over legends like ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage, Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat and Bruno Sammartino.
Whilst his championship run came to an unceremonious end at the first-ever SummerSlam when The Ultimate Warrior dethroned him in just 31 seconds, Honky Tonk Man’s reign left a long-standing mark in the WWE history books. For over three and a half decades, the WWE Hall of Famer has been recognized as the longest-reigning Intercontinental Champion in history at 454 days.
Now, after 35 long years, his record has finally been broken. Gunther, who captured the belt from Ricochet back on June 10th 2022, reached 455 days as champion today and in doing so, has become the longest-reigning Intercontinental Champion of all time. Gunther secured the legendary feat following his successful defense on RAW over challenger Chad Gable.
Throughout his now-historic reign, Gunther has retained the title over several former world champions including Drew McIntyre, Sheamus and Rey Mysterio. Several of his defenses have garnered acclaim from both fans and critics alike with two matches in particular earning 5-star ratings from Dave Meltzer: His bout with Sheamus at Clash At The Castle and his Triple Threat defense during the second night of WrestleMania 39.
Aside from his current title reign, Gunther also found championship success in the now-defunct NXT UK. The 36-year-old captured the NXT United Kingdom Championship from Pete Dunne (now known as Butch) at NXT TakeOver: New York in April 2019 and held the belt all the way until August 2021. His 870-day reign not only became the longest in the championship’s history but also the longest title reign of the WWE modern era, a record held until Roman Reigns’ ongoing Universal Championship reign surpassed it.