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Gunther on Intercontinental Title: “I want to take this title and make it the biggest prize to conquer”
SummerSlam marked a renaissance of sorts for WWE.
While Vince McMahon will likely remain heavily involved in certain areas of the company, the one publicly responsible for WWE’s creator right now is Paul “Triple H” Levesque. This was evident in SummerSlamand again two nights later Raw, especially in the way women’s wrestling was presented and by a renewed interest in Ciampa. This is also great news for one of WWE’s most impressive rising stars, reigning Intercontinental Champion Gunther.
If you temporarily lost sight of the IC strap, it was by design. The title was not defended in WrestleMania 38, it didn’t even matter all year. Since Gunther defeated Ricochet in June to become champion, he hasn’t appeared in any Money in the bank or SummerSlam. But there is real potential with Gunther as champion and Levesque going creative. Levesque oversaw his push as NXT UK Champion, a 685-day title reign that elevated Gunther’s (then known as Walter) status in WWE.
Through a violent and believable approach to pro wrestling, Gunther plans to restore meaning to a championship once known as the cornerstone of the WWE title.
“I want to take this title and make it the biggest prize to win,” says Gunther, who is of Austrian Walter Hahn descent. “That’s the approach I’ve had with the NXT UK Championship. The champion makes the title. That’s what I plan to do here.”
Gunther is in the early stages of a feud with Shinsuke Nakamura, which is a solid way to start his run as champion. He has a different look than most of his peers across the company. Billed at 6’4″, he has legitimate size, further enhancing his punishing style in the ring.
“It’s not about entertaining everybody,” Gunther says. “I want to be efficient and I want to be effective. That’s my main focus.”
While he bears a resemblance to Walter, the man currently portraying Gunther has completely redefined his image. He has slimmed down and now sports one of the sharpest physiques in the industry.
It’s a little hard to see side-by-side visuals comparing Walter and Gunther. Although he is extremely proud of his success throughout Europe, NXT and the American Indies as Walter, he is ready to break new ground as Gunther.
“I was a big fan of the look I had,” Gunther says. “I loved the foreign heavyweights who would go to Japan and beat up babies’ faces. And I succeeded. But if I stand still, I will fall behind. I always want to be one step ahead. No one ever told me to lose weight. I knew the transition to the main roster was happening, so I wanted to transform into something new.
“When we moved to Orlando, Marcel [Ludwig Kaiser] and Fabian [Aichner] were a great support. They are both in outstanding form and we created a motivating and productive environment.”
Losing weight didn’t make Gunther any less scary. He noted that he’s still right around 250 pounds, but now with increased muscle definition.
“I see the comparison photos and I’m proud of it, but it’s still me,” Gunther says. “I’ve never had a problem with cardio before. I’ve always felt very comfortable, so it doesn’t seem that drastic. Maybe it does when you look at the pictures.”
Another significant change was the change from his real name Walter to Gunther. He also handled it with ease, anticipating the differences in presentation when leaving Europe and fully committing to WWE.
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“Living in America was never something I pursued,” says Gunther. “I really like the way of life in Europe. But in the back of my head, I knew it was time to move on to take the next big step in wrestling. To do this, you have to be in the United States, and the timing was right for me last year.
“So the change from Walter to Gunther is part of the process in this business. Look at the wrestlers who made it to the top, they almost all went through some changes. I’m confident in what I do in the ring and I was waiting for the name change. There is no reason to fuss. Gunther gives the same emotions that Walter did. When I go to the ring, there is a certain atmosphere. This is what I represent. I’m still me.”
The Intercontinental Title has lost its luster in WWE. However, the reigning champion believes that is destined to change as long as he holds the belt.
“I’m going to give this title the prestige it needs and make it the biggest prize in wrestling,” says Gunther. “I would like to fight John Cena and anyone else who is considered elite. I didn’t come here to be mediocre. I came here to be in the ring with the best.
“I just started. I am very excited about this journey.”
Week (online) in wrestling
- The performance by Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam was spectacular. Everyone involved in the Last Man Standing match deserves credit, but Lesnar took a replay of a match we’ve seen a few times and made it memorable.
- In addition to highlighting Tommaso Ciampa as an in-ring performer, the presentation of Raw was notably different in that it featured interviews, backstage segments (including one with The Usos), a match, and a brawl involving the new dominant faction of Bayley. , Io Sky and Dakota Kai.
- Becky Lynch’s shoulder injury will derail her momentum, but she still cut an incredible promo on Raw.
- The featured match on the Ric Flair Last Match card was the four-way lucha libre match. Here’s a great photo with some of her co-stars.
- I would like to see PAC make a run at the AEW title.
- Japanese women’s promotion Stardom is introducing a new title, which will hopefully lead to some great matches in the United States.
Scenic City Invitational set to bring excitement to India
Scenic City Pro Wrestling is holding its annual Scenic City Invitational on Friday and Saturday, marking an opportunity to see the best indie stars in the industry.
The Tennessee-based event, which will air live on IWTV, is a tournament that features old-school in-ring psychology with some notable masters of the craft. This year’s field of 16 includes Myron Reed, Jaden Newman and Dominic Garrini.
“People are going to see insanely talented and motivated wrestlers from different backgrounds, regions, styles and experience levels,” says Scenic City promoter Scott Hensley, who made the decision this year to feature women in the tournament. “We always want to showcase some of the best wrestlers in the world, and to do that, we felt we had to include the likes of Trish Adora, Masha Slamovich and Billie Starkz – they all live up to that distinction of being truly some of the best. wrestlers in the world”.
In addition to the two-night invitation, Scenic City has added two more shows to its summer festivities. It starts with Last night show on Thursday, then the Futures Showcase on Saturday, and both will air on IWTV.
“The TWE [Chattanooga]: The night before The Action Futures Showcase tour events are additional opportunities for us to partner with the local scene and showcase younger prospects who we truly believe are the future of the stage city and beyond,” says Hensley. “The Futures Tour The Showcase has nine contestants each year, and eight of the top 27 signed professional contracts with major promotions, so we’re thrilled with the platform it’s become.”
Now in its seventh year, Hensley is grateful that SCI’s annual tournament has become a true showcase for talent hungry to make a name for itself.
“Our tournament is meaningful because it provides a platform for independent wrestlers to be seen, while also raising money for good local causes,” says Hensley. “We’ve had fans from the UK, Australia, Canada and Mexico travel to see our shows and we have a worldwide audience through IWTV as well as alumni signed to every major wrestling company. I’ve had guys thank me for changing their lives in terms of their wrestling careers, and we’ve also raised tens of thousands of dollars for local schools. As a kid who grew up booking GI Joe [action figures] to fight each other, it’s a dream come true.
“It’s become a family-friendly wrestling event, watched by people all over the world, where you can see the next big star before they beat him.”
Tweet of the week
Congratulations to Ric Flair on his last match and it was perfect to have Tony Schiavone – who was great on air – by his side.
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