Intercontinental Champion Big E. Langston was doing a recent interview and the questions veered to the chance that the WWE could unify the Intercontinental title and United States championship into one title, much like they did the two world titles. According to Rajah.com on Jan. 24, Big E said that if they did, they should keep the Intercontinental title because it is more prestigious.
This is a statement that most WWE fans would agree with, but many old school NWA and WCW fans might disagree with. Both titles are very prestigious, but for the WWE, the Intercontinental title is really the one that matters - and if they combine them, it will almost surely be the one they keep.
When tracking the history of the Intercontinental title, you go all the way back to 1979 where North American champion Pat Patterson became the first IC champion. Through the 80s, it was always seen as the second biggest title - basically held by the top guy who wasn't Hulk Hogan. Men like The Magnificent Muraco, Tito Santana, Ricky Steamboat, The Honky Tonk Man and The Ultimate Warrior held the belt and it was very prestigious.
Honestly, the Intercontinental title match between Randy Savage and Ricky Steamboat at "Wrestlemania 3" is still considered one of the best matches of all time.
Even in later years, it was important with Mr. Perfect, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon, Triple H, Steve Austin, The Rock and Chris Jericho all using it to become bigger stars.
However, while that is prestigious, the United States Championship is older, starting in 1975 when Harley Race became the first man to hold it. Unlike the Intercontinental Championship which was always for the second biggest star in the company, the United States title was always the stepping stone for the next world champions.
Terry Funk, "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Magnum TA, Tully Blanchard, Lex Luger, Dusty Rhodes, Sting and a pre-WWE Stone Cold Steve Austin all held it in the NWA/WCW.
However, Big E Langston is right when he calls the Intercontinental title more prestigious, because since becoming a WWE title, it has been nothing more than a secondary title with little to no upward momentum for the man holding it. That is why, if they unite them, the United States title will probably be retired.