Intercontinental Title Tournament Finally Uncovered

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April 01, 2013

The Intercontinental Championship boasts one of the richest lineages in WWE and all of sports-entertainment history, but 30 years after its inception, origins have remained murky … until now.

History has long stated that Pat Patterson, the North American Heavyweight Champion, defended his title in a tournament for the South American Championship in Rio de Janeiro. When the WWE Hall of Famer emerged victorious, he unified the two titles to become the first Intercontinental Champion.

Visit Pat Patterson's Hall of Fame profile

This tournament, which has been said to have been held on Sept. 1, has long had its validity questioned by wrestling historians. We doubted it, too. But during a recent routine search of WWE’s archives, we stumbled across one lone file that included the tournament’s full results and just a few photos. As it turns out, the event did indeed take place on that day at Maracanãzinho Gymnasium, an arena that packed in more than 12,000 fans and is located directly next to the massive Maracanã Stadium soccer venue (Maracanãzinho translates into Little Maracanã in Portuguese).

According to our recent discovery, the seminal show that night featured an eight-man tournament including four WWE Hall of Famers and two other special attraction bouts.

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