How the sports world is honoring Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy

Across the United States, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. is being celebrated with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, an annual holiday celebrating his life and legacy. The commemoration of MLK Day includes multiple celebrations throughout sports, from the professional to collegiate ranks.

Here is a summary of notable games and events commemorating Martin Luther King Day, from traditional NBA matchups to initiatives seeking to continue King’s dream of racial equality in America.

The NBA will continue its decades-long tradition of games on MLK Day, with 11 games in total scheduled for Monday. That slate of games includes annual games in Atlanta, where King was born, and in Memphis, where King was assassinated in 1968.

In Atlanta, the Hawks will continue a tradition of hosting a gospel choir, which will sing the name of each player during pre-game introductions. Meanwhile, the Memphis Grizzlies will honor athletes who “have made “significant contributions to civil and human rights they have made through their careers in sports, in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” prior to their game against the Golden State Warriors. This year, the Grizzles will honor eight-time NBA All-Star Alex English, Pro Football Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome and former NFL running back Calvin Hill.

Prior to the beginning of Super Wild Card Weekend, the NFL announced a five-year commitment to Realizing The Dream, a platform created by Martin Luther King III, Arndrea Waters King and Yolanda Renee King to “unite more than seven million young people, 200,000 educators, and millions of employees around the globe through a series of service initiatives focused on the tenets of social change and community impact.” Over the next five years, the NFL and other corporations will work with the King family and Legacy+ to “help fulfill Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision for an equitable and united America.”

Each team playing during the weekend, and all four teams playing on MLK Day, will wear circular MLK helmet decals and “Be Love” helmet phrase decals, which will also be stenciled in one end zone. The King family has also provided PSAs to NFL teams in the playoffs to be integrated into their in-stadium game programming and amplification on media platforms.

For MLK Day, the Columbus Blue Jackets will host “Hockey Is For Everyone,” an event celebrating diversity and inclusion in the sport, at their game against the Vancouver Canucks. The event will include a pre-game activation before Ayodele Adeniye, a member of the Adrian College men’s hockey team that won the 2022 NCAA Division III Championship, drops the ceremonial puck for the game. Adeniye learned to play hockey through the Columbus Ice Hockey Club, one of 26 official Hockey is for Everyone grassroots hockey organizations across North America.

During the game and intermissions, the Blue Jackets will honor diversity among hockey participants including CIHC as well as Blue Jackets Hockey League (BJHL), Capital Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA), CCYHA Special Hockey (athletes with special needs), Central Ohio Girl’s Hockey (COGH), Central Ohio Gay Lesbian Ally Hockey Association, Chiller Adult Hockey League (CAHL), Columbus Chill Youth Hockey Association (CCYHA), Ohio High School Athletic Association, Ohio Sled Hockey (athletes with physical disabilities) and Ohio Warriors Sled Hockey (veterans with physical disabilities).

College basketball
Games and events honoring MLK Day are being held throughout college basketball, including in the Atlantic 10 Conference with its third-annual MLK Day triple-header. All three conference games will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.

In the Ivy League, Harvard will host Brown for its first conference home game of the season. Harvard’s team has been active over the past several years in honoring MLK Day under the leadership of Tommy Amaker, the head coach of Harvard men’s basketball.

Dreamchasers Basketball Club has hosted a HBCU MLK Day Invitational throughout the weekend and leading into Monday, which will feature four HBCU Basketball games. The games are being contested primarily between HBCUs throughout the Carolinas, including Claflin University, Clinton College, Fayetteville State University and Johnson C. Smith University.

Spurs phenom Victor Wembanyama commits to 2024 NBA All-Star Weekend event, per report

San Antonio Spurs big man Victor Wembanyama, the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, has committed to participate in the Skills Challenge at 2024 NBA All-Star Weekend, according to Shams Charania. This year’s All-Star Weekend is set for Feb. 16-18 in Indianapolis with the Skills Challenge kicking off All-Star Saturday Night on Feb. 17.

Wembanyama was one of the best prospects to ever enter the league and has lived up to the billing with a phenomenal start to his rookie season. He’s averaging 19.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and a league-leading 3.1 blocks per game, and is first among all rookies in all three categories. And that’s despite being on a minutes restriction for the last month as the result of a freak ankle injury that occurred when he stepped on a ball boy’s foot prior to a game against the Dallas Mavericks.

In a win over the Pistons on Jan. 10, Wembanyama recorded the second-fastest triple-double in NBA history when he put up 16 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in just 21 minutes. Back on Dec. 8, he became the youngest player ever with a 20-20 game when he finished with 21 points and 20 rebounds against the Bulls. He has eight games with at least five blocks, which is already tied for the 12th-most such games in a season this decade.

You could go on and on with the accolades. The point is, Wembanyama is having an incredible debut season and would be the runaway Rookie of the Year if it wasn’t for Oklahoma City Thunder big man Chet Holmgren. (Who, it must be said, is playing in a far better situation.)

Wembanyama may even have a case to make the All-Star Game as a reserve, but even if he doesn’t he’ll be on his way to Indianapolis. In addition to the Skills Challenge — which has been a team event for the past two seasons — on All-Star Saturday Night, he’s a shoe-in for the Rising Stars Challenge on that Friday.

Indianapolis International Airport installs full basketball court ahead of NBA All-Star Game

The Indianapolis International Airport has installed a full basketball court in the middle of its main lobby ahead of next month’s NBA All-Star Game being hosted by the Indiana Pacers. The court features everything from stanchions to glass backboards to a hardwood paint job.

According to WTHR, fans and travelers won’t be permitted to actually play basketball on the court, but they will be welcome to walk on it and take photos. The airport will also be featuring custom basketballs painted by local artists among many other decorations and activations throughout the terminal in the leadup to the All-Star Game.

— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) January 14, 2024
The basketball court capitalizes on the state of Indiana’s long-held love of basketball, which ranges from the Pacers in the NBA to the Indiana Hoosiers in college basketball. Much of the state’s championship glory belongs to the Hoosiers, who boast five national championships including three from 1976 to 1987. The Pacers won three championships in four years in the ABA in the early 1970s, but have yet to win their first NBA title.

It remains to be seen which members of the Pacers will have made the All-Star roster, which will be revealed at the conclusion of Fan Voting.

2024 NBA picks, Jan. 15 best bets by proven model

The Memphis Grizzlies (14-25) host the Golden State Warriors (18-21) as part of the MLK Day NBA schedule. This is the first matchup of the regular season between these Western Conference rivals. Golden State narrowly leads the all-time series 53-50. Draymond Green is expected to return from a 16-game absence (suspension/reconditioning) for Golden State. The top-five scorers for Memphis are all on the injury report with Jaren Jackson Jr. (knee) and Santi Aldama (knee) listed as questionable, while Ja Morant (shoulder), Desmond Bane (ankle) and Steven Adams (knee) are all out.

Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET at FedExForum in Memphis. Golden State is an 8-point favorite in the latest Warriors vs. Grizzlies odds via SportsLine consensus. The over/under for total points is 226. Before making any Grizzlies vs. Warriors picks, you need to see the NBA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine’s advanced computer model.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned well over $10,000 in profit for $100 players on its top-rated NBA picks over the past five-plus seasons. The model enters Week 13 of the 2023-24 NBA season on a sizzling 42-23 roll on all top-rated NBA picks this season, returning nearly $2,000. Anyone following it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Warriors vs. Grizzlies and just locked in its picks and NBA predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see the model’s picks. Now, here are several NBA odds and betting lines for Grizzlies vs. Warriors:

Warriors vs. Grizzlies spread: Golden State -8
Warriors vs. Grizzlies over/under: 226 points
Warriors vs. Grizzlies money line: Golden State -327, Memphis +260
GS: The Golden State Warriors have hit the 1Q game total Under in 15 of their last 21 games
MEM: The Memphis Grizzlies are 16-23 ATS this season
Warriors vs. Grizzlies picks: See picks at SportsLine
Why the Warriors can cover
Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Green are the headliners, but the Warriors have had some role players step up recently. Forward Jonathan Kuminga is an athletic, downhill scorer for the Warriors. The 21-year-old is averaging 13.4 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. In his last contest versus the Bucks, Kuminga dropped a season-high 28 points with three boards.

Forward Trayce Jackson-Davis has been thrust into more playing time as of late. Jackson-Davis is a standout defender and has the length to be a reliable shot-blocker. The Indiana product is tough to stop in the open court and is always cutting to the rim for easy looks. He’s logged 12-plus points and at least one block in four straight games. On Jan. 10 against the New Orleans Pelicans, Jackson-Davis totaled 19 points, five boards and one block. See which team to pick here.

Why the Grizzlies can cover
With the Grizzlies decimated by injuries, guard Luke Kennard is getting opportunities to help carry the scoring load. Kennard thrives at moving off the ball to create space from defenders. The Duke product is putting up 9.1 points while shooting 40% from beyond the arc. In Saturday’s game against the Knicks, Kennard supplied 14 points and two assists. This was his third straight game in double figures.

If Jackson Jr. can go for the Grizzlies, he would give them a massive boost. Jackson Jr. plays lights-out defense around the rim due to his length and recovery speed. The Michigan State product also has a smooth jumper that can stretch the floor. Jackson Jr. logs 21.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. On Jan. 7 against the Suns, he finished with 28 points, 10 boards and six assists. See which team to pick here.

How to make Grizzlies vs. Warriors picks
SportsLine’s model is leaning Under on the total, projecting 223 combined points. The model also says one side of the spread hits in nearly 70% of simulations. You can only see the model’s picks at SportsLine.

Victor Wembanyama in for Skills Challenge, Dunk champ invited back

The 2024 NBA All-Star Weekend is fast approaching, with all the festivities set for Feb. 16-18 in Indianapolis. As per usual, the action will begin with the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, followed by the Skills Challenge, 3-Point Contest and Slam Dunk Contest on All-Star Saturday Night, before the All-Star Game closes the show on Sunday.

As the showcase approaches, players are starting to make commitments for the All-Star Saturday events, and we’ll soon learn who will start the All-Star Game. Here’s a look at who will be involved:

Skills Challenge
The league has switched up the Skills Challenge on a regular basis and no format has been announced for this year’s event. Each of the last two years featured a team event, but it’s unclear if that will continue in Indy.


Victor Wembanyama, San Antonio Spurs (reported)
3-Point Contest
There’s been little change to the 3-Point Contest since it’s first appearance at All-Star Weekend in 1986. Five racks are set up around the arc with five balls each. Regular balls are worth one point, while “money balls” are worth two. In addition, there are two deep shots positioned on the wings that are worth three points each. While there has not been an official announcement yet, there’s no reason to expect any surprises this year.


Slam Dunk Contest
Many view the Slam Dunk Contest as the true main event of the weekend, and it certainly was last year when Mac McClung stole the show. He’s been invited back even though he’s playing in the G League, but has not made a commitment yet. Regardless of who’s involved, the classic format features four dunkers who get two dunks each in the first two round. The two players with the highest combined score advance to the championship round, where they’re each throw down two more slams.

Sixers’ Joel Embiid addresses narrative about missing games ahead of matchup vs. Nuggets, Nikola Jokic

Joel Embiid’s health has been a constant topic of conversation since before he even entered the league. If it wasn’t for questions about his foot back in 2014, he likely would have been the No. 1 pick in that year’s NBA Draft. A decade later, concerns about Embiid’s ability to stay on the floor remain.

The Philadelphia 76ers star has already missed 10 games this season and is on pace to play just 60, which would make him ineligible for year-end awards, like the MVP and All-NBA. This is because the NBA instituted a new player participation policy ahead of the season, indicating that players must appear in at least 65 games to be eligible for major awards. An appearance is defined as registering at least 20 minutes of action. Furthermore, a number of Embiid’s absences have come against other top teams, including the Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves.

His next big matchup will come on Tuesday when the Sixers host Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets. Embiid is expected to play despite the fact that he just returned from a three-game absence on Monday and that game will be the second of a back-to-back. After dropping 41 points and 10 rebounds on the Houston Rockets in another impressive showing, Embiid said he’s heard the noise:

“I saw it,” Embiid said. “But I can’t control if I get sick, if I get the flu or whatever. Can’t control that. Can’t control if my knee is gonna swell up. It just happened. It was against New Orleans and Boston. I got the flu, obviously you can’t go. A lot of guys on the team had it. Like I said, the goal is to be ready for the playoffs. If I cant meet the criteria of 65 games, and if I can’t play against some of the best teams in the league then… As long as I’m ready to be dominant when it gets to that time in April, that’s all I care about.

“Every single team that I play against, I dominate. We win and I put up numbers necessary to win. You can’t read too much into it because one of the main things that I see is that as soon as you use the name Joel Embiid, that’s gonna get you a lot of likes and that’s gonna get you a lot of money. As long as my name has a chance to help somebody make money, I’m all for it. Keep trolling. I like it, I love it.”

Embiid’s big game against the Rockets was his 16th consecutive outing with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds, which tied Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the second-longest such streak. For the season he’s averaging a league-leading 34.9 points, 11.7 rebounds, 5.9 assists and two blocks per game on 53.6% shooting. While he’s certainly taken advantage of some lesser opponents along the way, he’s also dropped 51 points on the Timberwolves and their league-best defense and went for 35 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

If his comments on Monday are any indication, he’ll be looking to make a statement against Jokic and the Nuggets.

2023 WWE Payback predictions, card, matches, PPV preview, start time, location, date

The typical PPV names of WWE events makes sense on Saturday night. WWE Payback is set to take place in Pittsburgh with plenty of superstars looking to exact some revenge on their rivals. Many of the matches on Saturday on rematches of past showdowns where the person who lost is hoping to get the edge this time around.

The top billing goes to world heavyweight champion Seth Rollins looking to turn away Shinsuke Nakamura’s bid for the title. Plus, women’s world champion Rhea Ripley takes on Raquel Rodriguez in hard-hitting action. And the undisputed tag team titles are on the line when champs Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens takes on Damian Priest and Finn Balor of The Judgement Day.

Those are just some of the attention-grabbing matches on the Payback card. Let’s take a look through the full card along with predictions from the CBS Sports experts.

2023 WWE Payback viewing information
Date: Saturday, Sept. 2
Location: PPG Paints Arena — Pittsburgh
Start time: 8 p.m. ET (kickoff show starts at 7 p.m.)
Watch live: Peacock

2023 WWE Payback predictions
World Heavyweight Championship — Seth Rollins (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

This feud has injected new life into Nakamura’s character. By turning him heel and allowing him to cut promos in his native Japanese, he is getting points across clearer and with more intention. Still, it doesn’t seem as though there’s any realistic way WWE puts the title on Nakamura, who is more of a plug-and-play roster member, able to be slotted in wherever needed for a month or two. Nakamura isn’t the force in the ring he once was, but can hold up his end well enough in big matches. Rollins’ run as champion will continue on a bit longer — possibly until Damian Priest cashes in the Money in the Bank contract, which shouldn’t be written out as a possibility on Saturday night. Pick: Seth Rollins retains the title — Brent Brookhouse (also Shakiel Mahjouri)

Women’s World Championship — Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Raquel Rodriguez

Ripley’s title run has been handled well and she is much more prepared to hold the title than she was during her first reign, with far more confidence in herself and on the microphone. Rodriguez is a compelling challenge as one of the only women on the roster who can match Ripley on a power level. Still, Rodriguez doesn’t feel as though she has been built up to the point where she could be a believable top champion, though that could come in the future. Ripley and Dominik Mysterio as a title-holding couple, plus Priest as Mr. Money in the Bank — and possibly world champion — being stuck with a jealous Finn Balor could be the next step for the group. Pick: Rhea Ripley retains the title — Brookhouse (also Mahjouri)

Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship — Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn (c) vs. Damian Priest & Finn Balor (Steel City Street Fight)

My theory on the direction forward for Judgment Day is that Balor is going to be the lone member without a title very soon, leading to his partnership with JD McDonagh taking priority over his loyalties to Judgment Day. That doesn’t work if he and Priest win the tag titles, though tag champions with an uneasy alliance is a wrestling story as old as the “sport.” Owens and Zayn retaining the belts and continuing their title reign as the tag division picks up a bit of steam makes perfect sense, especially if miscommunication costs Priest and Balor. Pick: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn retain the titles — Brookhouse

The outcome of Payback’s matches seem very predictable but something has to give. I’m picking the tag title match for Payback’s big upset. WWE clearly sees Judgement Day as a focal point of Raw. Despite their infighting, it doesn’t seem as if the group is anywhere close to a legitimate split. They need to win enough to offset their losses. Balor has lost consecutive world title matches and is desperate for a win, particularly after Ripley’s threats about shaking up the faction. Owens and Zayn winning at WrestleMania is an unforgettable moment, but injuries and a lack of direction have impeded their title run. A loss will free the champs up for more interesting stories while giving Judgement Day a needed boost. Make the switch. Pick: Judgment Day wins the titles — Mahjouri

United States Championship — Rey Mysterio (c) vs. Austin Theory

It was odd to see WWE pull a fast one over fans and reward Mysterio with the U.S. title over Santos Escobar. Still, the masked man is a safe choice as midcard champion and it’s great seeing the 48-year-old compete at this level. Theory benefitted from a huge push and beat John Cena at WrestleMania 39. It doesn’t get much bigger than that. Unfortunately, his U.S. title run wasn’t memorable and he’d benefit from distance from the title. Mysterio should retain so the title can benefit from some fresh matchups on SmackDown. Pick: Rey Mysterio retains the title — Mahjouri (also Brookhouse)

Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus (Steel Cage Match)

Stratus’ return has been somewhat uneven in terms of her in-ring work. Adding Zoey Stark as her protege was a smart move that took some of the heavy lifting off of Stratus’ plate. WWE loves to frame cage matches as somehow preventing interference and the more they lean into that, the more you know that interference will make up a big part of how things play out. Stark will involve herself plenty here. Were this the start of the feud, it’d be very tempting to pick Stratus to win after that interference, fueling Lynch on for revenge. Things between Lynch and Stratus have run their course, however, and now Lynch, the actual full-time roster member, needs to get the win and move along to the next part of her career. Pick: Becky Lynch wins — Brookhouse (also Mahjouri)

LA Knight vs. The Miz

The fans are treating Knight like a bonafide superstar and it’s time for WWE to do the same. Winning a sponsor-affiliated battle royal at SummerSlam was comforting but not significant enough to curry confidence. His feud with The Miz has been rather entertaining, but losing to “The A-Lister” would be absolutely deflating. This isn’t a feud that needs to last a long time. Even if WWE wants to extend the program past Payback, it should not come at the expense of Knight losing. This needs to be Knight’s slow-burn rise towards a world title. Pick: LA Knight wins — Mahjouri (also Brookhouse)

AEW releases CM Punk ‘with cause’ after physical altercation at All In PPV event in London

CM Punk, real name Phil Brooks, has been fired from All Elite Wrestling just over two years after returning to wrestling by signing with the company. AEW shared the news on social media Saturday afternoon. Brooks’ firing, which was described as “with cause,” comes after his second backstage physical altercation during his time with the promotion.

Brooks reportedly got into a fight with “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry at AEW’s record-breaking All In event at Wembley Stadium in London.

Brooks and Perry had a prior argument when Brooks reportedly tried to talk Perry out of a planned spot in a match in which Perry intended to use “real glass” and would result in his being written off of television for a week. Punk reportedly told Perry the spot was too dangerous.

After wrestling on the All In pre-show, Perry spoke into a camera, saying, “It’s real glass, cry me a river.” This led to a confrontation between the two before Brooks opened the pay-per-view with a match against Samoa Joe. Rumors have swirled about the extent of the physicality of that confrontation, though most reports have suggested Brooks punched Perry.

“The termination follows a weeklong internal investigation of an incident occurring back stage at AEW — All In London on Sunday, August 27,” the AEW statement read. “Following the investigation, the AEW Discipline Committee met and later convened with outside legal counsel before making a unanimous recommendation to [AEW CEO Tony] Khan that CM Punk be terminated with cause.”

Brooks retired from wrestling in a messy split with WWE in 2014 before making a return to wrestling when he signed with AEW in August 2021.

The following May, Brooks won the AEW world title but suffered a broken foot that sidelined him until August. One month later, after defeating interim champion Jon Moxley in the main event of All In to unify the titles, Brooks made comments at the post-event press conference stating that roster members and AEW executive vice presidents The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega had spread rumors about him. This led to a situation where Brooks and trainer and friend Ace Steel legitimately brawled with the Bucks and Omega.

All involved in the brawl were suspended and Brooks chose to undergo surgery on his tricep after tearing it in the match with Moxley.

Brooks returned to action in June, appearing on the debut episode of AEW Collision, a new Saturday show that was planned to largely feature Brooks. Just months later, Brooks’ time with AEW is over.

“Phil played an important role within AEW and I thank him for his contributions,” Khan said in the AEW statement. “The termination of his AEW contracts with cause is ultimately my decision, and mine alone. Of course, I wish I didn’t have to share this news, which may come as a disappointment to many of our fans. Nevertheless, I am making the decision in the best interests of the many amazing people who make AEW possible every week — our talent, staff, venue operators and many others whose efforts are unsung but essential to bringing our fans great shows on television and at arenas and stadiums throughout the world.”

2023 WWE Payback live stream, how to watch online, start time, card, matches

WWE heads to Pittsburgh on Saturday night for Payback. It’s an interesting card, featuring four title matches and hosted by WWE legend John Cena.

There are four title bouts scheduled for Saturday night, headlined by Seth Rollins defending the world heavyweight championship against Shinsuke Nakamura. There is one other match on the card carrying a stipulation as Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are set to defend the undisputed WWE tag team championship against Judgment Day’s Finn Balor and Damian Priest in a Steel City Street Fight.

Plus, one of the big featured matches pits Becky Lynch against Trish Stratus inside of a steel cage. After months of Stratus taking shortcuts to get the better of Lynch, “The Man” will finally be in an environment with no easy escapes for her WWE Hall of Fame opponent. Although, you can expect Stratus’ protege Zoey Stark to play a role in the match in one way or another.

Also, Cody Rhodes will appear on an edition of “The Grayson Waller Effect.”

Below is how you can catch all the action on Saturday night.

Watch 2023 WWE Payback
Date: Sept. 2, 2023
Location: PPG Paints Arena — Pittsburgh
Start time: 8 p.m. ET
Watch live: Peacock

2023 WWE Payback match card
World Heavyweight Championship — Seth Rollins (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Women’s World Championship — Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Raquel Rodriguez
Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus (Steel Cage Match)
Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship — Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs. Damian Priest & Finn Balor (Steel City Street Fight)
LA Knight vs. The Miz
United States Championship — Rey Mysterio (c) vs. Austin Theory

WWE superstar surpasses 35-year-old mark held by Honky Tonk Man

Gunther is the longest-reigning intercontinental champion in WWE history, breaking a record that stood for 35 years. Gunther officially surpassed Honky Tonk Man on Friday.

Gunther successfully defended the intercontinental title against Chad Gable on Monday Night Raw, clearing the final hurdle between him and the record. He has now held the intercontinental championship for 455 days and will extend that record at least through the week.

History made.

— WWE (@WWE) September 7, 2023
The Austrian superstar describes the professional wrestling ring as a “sacred mat” and has rejuvenated the intercontinental championship with such prestige. Gunther has delivered several show-stealing performances since defeating Ricochet for the title on June 10, 2022. His triple threat match against Drew McIntyre and Sheamus at WrestleMania 39 is considered one of the best in WrestleMania’s long history.

Honky Tonk Man’s status as the intercontinental king always bordered absurdity. The Elvis impersonator was a comedy character through and through, yet he lorded over a title generally awarded to technically gifted wrestlers and those on the verge of main events. Interestingly, both Gunther and Honky Tonk Man each have just one stint as an intercontinental champion.