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Gunther on the intercontinental title: “I want to take this title and make it the biggest prize to win”
SummerSlam marked a resurgence of sorts for WWE.
While Vince McMahon likely remains heavily involved in some areas of the company, the one publicly responsible for WWE’s creativity is now Paul “Triple H” Levesque. This was evident to SummerSlamand again two nights later Raw, particularly in the way the women’s struggle was presented, and a renewed interest in Ciampa. This is also excellent news for one of WWE’s most impressive rising stars, reigning Intercontinental Champion, Gunther.
If you have temporarily lost sight of the IC belt, it is designed. The title was not defended WrestleMania 38, nor did it matter all year. Since Gunther defeated Ricochet in June to become champion, he hasn’t even been shown Money in the bank or SummerSlam. But there is real potential with Gunther as the champion and Levesque as the creative leader. Levesque oversaw pushing him as NXT UK champion, a 685 day title reign that elevated Gunther (then known as Walter) status in WWE.
Through a violent and credible approach to professional wrestling, Gunther intends to restore meaning to a championship once known as the stepping stone to the WWE title.
“I want to take this title and make it the biggest prize to be won,” says Gunther, Walter Hahn, born in Austria. “This is the approach I took with the NXT UK Championship. The champion makes the title. This is what I’m going to do here. “
Gunther is in the early stages of a feud with Shinsuke Nakamura, which is a good way to start his run as champion. He looks different than most of his peers across the company. Billed at 6’4 “, he has a legitimate size, further enhancing his punishing style in the ring.
“It’s not about entertaining everyone,” says Gunther. “I want to be efficient and I want to be effective. This is my main goal “.
Although he bears a resemblance to Walter, the man who currently plays Gunther has completely redefined his image. He has lost weight and now features one of the sharpest physicists in the business.
It’s a bit jarring to see side-by-side images comparing Walter and Gunther. While he is incredibly proud of his success across Europe, NXT and the American indies like Walter, he is ready to take new paths like Gunther.
“I was a huge fan of the look I had,” says Gunther. “I loved the foreign heavyweights who would go to Japan and beat up the baby faces. And I was successful. But if I stay still, I’ll be left behind. I always want to be one step ahead. Nobody ever told me to lose weight. I knew the move to the main roster was happening, so I wanted to transform into something new.
“When we moved to Orlando, Marcel [Ludwig Kaiser] and Fabiano [Aichner] they have been a great support. They are both in great shape and we have created a motivating and productive environment. “
Weight loss hasn’t made Gunther any less formidable. He noticed that he is still right at around 250lbs, but now with greater muscle definition.
“I see the pictures of the comparisons and I’m proud of them, but I’m still myself,” says Gunther. “I have never had cardiovascular problems before. I’ve always felt very comfortable, so it doesn’t feel that drastic to me. Maybe it does when you look at the photos.
Another significant change was the shift from his real name of Walter to Gunther. He also handled it with ease, anticipating the differences in presentation when he left Europe and fully committed 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 to take the next big step in wrestling. To do that, you need to be in the US and the timing has been right for me over the past year.
“So the transition from Walter to Gunther is part of the process in this industry. Look at the fighters who have made it to the top, almost all of them have undergone changes. I am confident in what I do in the ring and expected a name change. There is no cause for fuss. Gunther gives the same vibes that Walter did. When I walk to the ring, there is a certain atmosphere. This is what I stand for. It’s me again”.
The intercontinental title has lost its WWE luster. Yet the reigning champion believes he is bound to change as long as he holds the belt.
“I’ll give this title the prestige it needs and make it the greatest prize in wrestling,” says Gunther. “I would like to fight John Cena and anyone else 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 for this trip ”.
The (online) week of wrestling
- Brock Lesnar’s performance at SummerSlam was spectacular. Everyone involved in the Last Man Standing match deserves credit, but Lesnar took an iteration of a match we’ve watched multiple times and made it unforgettable.
- In addition to highlighting Tommaso Ciampa as a performer in the ring, Raw’s presentation was noticeably different in the way it involved interviews, backstage segments (including one with The Usos), a match and a brawl that included the new dominant faction of Bayley, Io Sky and Dakota Kai.
- Becky Lynch’s shoulder injury will disrupt her momentum, but she still cut a great promo on Raw.
- The most important game on Ric Flair’s Last Game card was the four-way lucha libre game. Here is a nice photo with some of the stars of him.
- I would love to see PAC do an AEW title race.
- Japanese women’s promotion Stardom is introducing a new title, which will hopefully lead to some big games in the United States.
Scenic City Invitational set to bring excitement to the indies
Scenic City Pro Wrestling holds its annual Scenic City Invitational on Fridays and Saturdays, marking an opportunity to see the best indie stars in the industry.
The Tennessee-based event, which will be broadcast live on IWTV, is a tournament that features old-school ring psychology with some outstanding masters of the trade. This year’s field of 16 includes Myron Reed, Jaden Newman and Dominic Garrini.
“People will see insanely talented and motivated wrestlers from different backgrounds, regions, styles and experience levels,” says Scenic City promoter Scott Hensley, who decided to include women in the tournament this year. “We always want to feature some of the best wrestlers in the world and to do that, we felt the need to include people like Trish Adora, Masha Slamovich and Billie Starkz – they all fulfill the distinction of truly being among the best wrestlers in the world.”
In addition to the two invitational evenings, Scenic City has added two more shows to the summer festivities. It starts with The night before Thursday’s show, then Saturday’s Futures Showcase, and both will air on IWTV.
“The TWO [Chattanooga]: Night before and the Showcase Action Futures tournament events are further opportunities for us to partner with the local scene and introduce the new wrestlers we truly believe are the future of Scenic City and beyond, “says Hensley.” The Futures Showcase Tournament has nine competitors each year. and eight of the top 27 have signed professional contracts with broader promotions, so we’re thrilled with the platform it has become. “
Now in its seventh year, Hensley is grateful that the annual SCI tournament has become a true showcase for talent hungry to make a name for itself.
“Our tournament is significant because it provides a platform to see independent wrestlers raise money for good local causes,” says Hensley. “We have had fans from the UK, Australia, Canada and Mexico traveling to see our shows, and we have a worldwide audience through IWTV, as well as signed alumni for all the major wrestling companies. I’ve had guys thanking me for changing their lives in terms of wrestling careers, and we’ve also raised tens of thousands of dollars for local schools. As a child I grew up booking GI Joe [action figures] fighting each other is a dream come true.
“It has become a family-friendly destination wrestling event seen by people all over the world where you might just see the next big star before he hits big.”
Tweet of the week
Congrats to Ric Flair on his last game, and it was perfect to have Tony Schiavone, who was fantastic in the broadcast, by his side.
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