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Gunther debuts on SmackDown, alongside an old friend with a new name

When Gunther was quickly shot up the card on NXT 2.0 this past week and given an impromptu championship match against Bron Breakker, it seemed like a strange way to establish the next title contender. When he lost that match clean, on a night that featured Imperium seemingly breaking up, with Fabian Aichner splitting away his tag team pairing with Marcel Barthel, it made it seem more like he was fast tracked because a call up was imminent.

Sure enough, he debuted during this week’s episode of Friday Night SmackDown, and he didn’t come alone.

No, he was joined by Barthel, who was introduced under a new name — Ludwig Kaiser.

For what it’s worth, they were working the same gimmick they did on NXT, though they were never referred to collectively as Imperium. They had all the same mannerisms with the same entrance theme that was recently introduced.

Kaiser stayed on the outside in support of Gunther, who squashed an enhancement talent named Joe Alonzo. “Sorry about it, Joe Alonzo, you’re the first of many,” Pat McAfee remarked.

Indeed.

Get complete SmackDown results and coverage of this week’s show right here.