Gunther: The TRUE Ring General.

The intercontinental championship has always been the championship that represents the (you know where I’m about to go with this) work-horse. A championship that you’ll definitely witness a fantastic match or two (unless your name is The Big Show or Dean Douglas or The Mountie or…. You get my point). 

A championship that showcases what a new rising star can do with a championship run and, depending on the run itself, can evaluate said rising star as a result of that reign. 

And nothing represents that moniker more than the Austrian giant whose hand is better than George Barrios’ forehead, GUNTHA!! 

This might be a bit of a hot take but Gunther’s run with the championship has been the greatest intercontinental championship reign of the past several years.  

Yes, it’s even better than The Miz’s run and I loved it so much (ah, 2016 Smackdown. What a time). 

Now thinking about it, that statement of mine doesn’t say much considering that Braun Strowman was the intercontinental champion 3 years ago and just like his current WWE run, he has contributed nothing to it.

On top of having absolute bangers with the likes of Ricochet, Rey Mysterio 

Mediocrecap Moss, Braun Strowman (of all people) and a certain Celtic warrior that loves too many limes in Sheamus, Gunther broke two records during his run. 

One was surpassing Shelton Benjamin’s intercontinental championship reign as the current longest reigning champion of the and I repeat, THE 21st f’ing century. 

The other was lasting at this year’s Royal Rumble match in 71 minutes, beating Rey Mysterio’s 06 performance with only a difference of 8 minutes.

All of this has to do with the fact that Gunther’s entire run commands on three things, excellence, respect and restoring the authenticity of the industry. 

Since his debut in the late 2010s as WALTER (aka the most horrifying name other than “Vince McMahon: head of creative”), Gunther is passionate about his craft and is dedicated to restoring the authenticity and soul of professional wrestling by commanding sheer excellence every time he steps foot in the ring, hence his nickname, “The Ring General” 

As a result of that, the intercontinental championship has gotten just a tad bit more prestigious which, as I mentioned earlier, is a RARITY in modern-day WWE programming. 

Some intercontinental title holders before him may pay homage to past champions and emphasize the significance of the title in current matches and storylines but Gunther’s creating his own path as one of the greatest intercontinental champions in recent memory (and by far one of the highlights of Smackdown every time he has a match).

Overall, Gunther’s commitment to the championship and the craft of professional wrestling as a medium has been nothing but a joy to watch and has washed away every bit of hatred I had of his name change to “Gunther” because damn, that was a bad decision initially. 

Oh, and screw that person who booked Gunther like that on the Men’s RAW vs Smackdown vs NXT Survivor Series match in 2019.