In a new interview with Sports Illustrated, WWE Intercontinental Champion Gunther discussed his weight loss, WWE name change, and goals as the champ.
He said nobody told him to lose weight. He actually loved his prior look, but it was time for a change with WWE’s main roster looming:
“I was a big fan of the look I had. I loved the foreign heavyweights that would go to Japan and beat up the babyfaces. And I had success. But if I stay stagnant, I’ll 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...I never had cardio issues before. I always felt very comfortable, so it doesn’t feel that drastic to me. Maybe it does when you look at pictures.”
As far as WWE’s decision to change his name from WALTER to Gunther, he says it’s not a big deal:
“So the change from Walter to Gunther, it’s part of the process in this business. Look at 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 kind of expected the name change. There’s no reason for uproar. Gunther gives the same vibes that Walter did. When I walk to the ring, there is a certain atmosphere. That’s what I represent. It’s still me.”
It’s worth pointing out that part of the uproar over his name change was because WWE first gave him the name of a Nazi military commander. WWE backed away from that decision after receiving immediate criticism over the name change.
Finally, Gunther said he plans to restore the prestige of the Intercontinental championship:
“I want to take this title and make it the greatest prize to conquer. That’s the approach I had with the NXT UK Championship. The champion makes the title. That’s what I am planning to do here...I would like to wrestle 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.”
The Intercontinental title is often left out of WWE’s monthly pay-per-view events, as was once again the case last weekend at SummerSlam. Do you expect that to change as Gunther’s reign continues under Triple H’s creative leadership?