05/03/2024

Gunther before defending the Intercontinental Championship against Ricochet on the June 25 edition of Smackdown (Picture: WWE)

For nearly 250 days, Gunther has reigned supreme on Smackdown as the most dominant Intercontinental Champion in recent memory. After creating history in NXT UK and most recently in the men’s Royal Rumble match, there is now support behind the Ring General to become the longest-reigning Intercontinental Champion of all time.

He captured the title from Ricochet on the June 11 edition of Smackdown and has since defeated the likes of Braun Strowman, Rey Mysterio, Shinsuke Nakamura and most notably, Sheamus who he had arguably 2022’s best match with at Clash at the Castle.

There is no denying that Gunther has brought legitimacy and prestige back to the Intercontinental Championship, after it was previously disregarded and creatively mistreated for far too long. It was not even defended at a Premium Live Event for 510 days until Clash at the Castle, which led to fan outcry and frustration.

The Intercontinental Title was always viewed as the second-most important championship behind the world title and Gunther has brought life back to it by having great feuds and matches. Because of this reign of dominance, Gunther is the perfect candidate to surpass The Honky Tonk Man’s record reign of 454 days.

The Ring General is primed for a colossal WrestleMania match, which could see Sheamus and Drew McIntyre get involved. The Celtic Warrior has always been adamant to win the Intercontinental Championship after it is the only title that has illuded him from achieving grand slam status in WWE.

A potential triple threat would also give the Scottish Warrior a valuable program for WrestleMania, as he has not individually been in a major angle since his Clash at the Castle match against Roman Reigns.

Regardless of who Gunther faces, he should walk out of Sofi Stadium still the Intercontinental Champion. If he is not going to be involved with Undisputed Universal Title plans or considered an option to secure the men’s Money in the Bank briefcase, there is no reason for his current reign to reach a conclusion.

There is no one more deserving than the Ring General to become the longest reigning Intercontinental Champion of all time, which would happen on September 9. Therefore, he would go through WrestleMania and SummerSlam with the title and there should be new blood to challenge him when the WWE Draft occurs.

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Raw presents a plethora of competitors to make the move over to Smackdown and face Gunther, such as AJ Styles, Bobby Lashley, Seth Rollins and Johnny Gargano. Solo Sikoa can also emerge as a potential opponent for the Ring General, as all these names can occupy him until September.

Gunther should then lose the title at Survivor Series, which always occurs in late November and is still considered as a ‘Big 5’ Premium Live Event. If WarGames is still the focal point in 2023, the show would need strong midcard matches so they do not become an afterthought.

By then, the Ring General would nearly have another three months on top of The Honky Tonk Man’s reign and it would massively solidify him as the longest reigning Intercontinental Champion in history.

It now poses the question of who would end this record breaking reign, which is when Sheamus should finally become the Intercontinental Champion. This would hold so much more value than if he were to win at WrestleMania, due to the sole fact that he would be concluding a 500+ day tenure.

Another layer would be to have Sheamus put his career on the line to show his desperation for the match and reaching grand slam status. During the year before Survivor Series, he should realign with Butch and Ridge Holland for feuds with other factions since The Brawling Brutes haven’t been involved in anything of significance after last year’s WarGames.

When The Celtic Warrior captures the Intercontinental Championship, Gunther’s focus should then turn to the Royal Rumble and Undisputed Universal Title. He looms as a very early candidate to win the 2024 30-man battle royal, but his impressive performance from this year’s has only indicated he will be one to keep an eye on.

See Gunther in action on WWE SmackDown, Saturday’s at 12pm AEDT LIVE on BINGE

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