I figured Tito Santana would be somewhere in the mix between 1984 and 1986.
Probably 5th in 84 and 85 but by mid 86 he was plummeting down the pecking order. 84 and 85 were the two best years of his career.
He was very popular to be sure, and in that two year run he was a top level face. That being said I think there could be a case made for Tito being the number two face for a very brif period of time in late 84. Slaughter left during that year and there was this perception that the WWF created before Andre's heel turn that he would not pursue the WWF title, which may have caused some to speculate that he was not really a top face (although he was). I hope that makes sense. On top of that Superfly kind of dropped down the card a little in spite of his Piper fued. JYD and Steamboat had not arrived yet. So you could say Tito was only behind Hogan for a breif period of time in late 84.
84 is just a really interesting year to me. I think it was one of the greatest years in the history of the sport, that would make a good thread one day. In the WWF obviously Hogan and Slaughter were one and two. They split them up to pack two buildings out a night. Then they had Andre and Superfly. Before Hogan came in Superfly was probably their most over face in 83 even more so than Backlund. Putski was probably 6th behid Tito, and they had coaxed Bruno out of retirement luring a push for his son David. They also hasd an aging Strongbow, and the newley face Samoans. However they had so many heels in 84 like Dr D David Shultz, Adonis, Murdoch, Ventura, Spoiler, Masked Superstar, Muraco, Valentine, Iron Sheik, Orton, Patera, Studd. They had also just brought in a very young Brett Hart and Brutus Beefcake. They really needed more faces and tried to use some guys to stimulate their house shows especially down south. They brought in Tonga Kid, Black Jack Mulligan, Mr Wrestling 2 (briefly), The Feebirds (just as breifly), Billy Jack Haynes (at the end of 84), the Brisco's and others. Not sure when Rotundo, and Whindham, or The Bulldogs arrived but it was sometime that year. However they really had few top level singles faces that stuck to put against a huge number of heels.
It was different back then obviously and the IC title which Tito was fighting for and held was not at it's peak yet. Macho, and Steamboat really propped up that title. So in spite of Tito holding the number 2 title he was not really in the world title picture (of course with Hogan having it we all knew no one really was except him). But the perception was that Slaughter, Andre, and Superfly were in a different class of contenders than Tito and Putski or any of the other faces at the time.
By 1986 they had stocked up on some faces, and Tito was behind a longer list of guys. By the time August of 87 rolled around they moved him back to the tag team division.
This is not to disrespect Tito, he was certainly over and a top face. Just trying to explain.