Over the weekend, GUNTHER became the fourth man in WWE history to hold the Intercontinental Championship for more than four-hundred days. In two weeks, GUNTHER will pass Randy Savage, arguably the greatest I.C. Champ of all time, to claim WWE’s third-longest Intercontinental title reign, and he’s less than two months away from breaking the all-time mark set by the Honky Tonk Man in 1988.
But perhaps an even bigger story than GUNTHER’S chase for history is his steady improvement as a performer. Last year, I praised the champion’s dramatic physical transformation, as the Ring General took the initiative to transform his physique as part of his reinvention to stay relevant in the game.
However, where the Austrian Oak has needed improvement is on the microphone. When flanked by his Imperium teammates, GUNTHER tends to shrink into the background, while the more verbose Ludwig Kaiser acts as the group’s mouthpiece.
But after demolishing Matt Riddle singlehandedly on Raw, GUNTHER cut a brief but impressive promo that may be his best to date since coming to the main roster.
“You can boo me as much as you want. That will not change the fact that tonight is the greatest night of your sad lives. Because you came here tonight to see the greatest Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion of all time.
“Matt Riddle is done. I am building a legacy. Drew McIntyre, if you want to ride on my coattail, be my guest. But just like everybody else, you will fall victim to the Ring General.”
Though short and to the point, GUNTHER’S delivery was confident. There was a noticeable twinkle in his eyes as he took glee in mocking yet playing to the crowd, who booed him lustily throughout, proof that he’s connecting with the audience.
And it’s that relationship that will determine if GUNTHER goes beyond his epic Intercontinental run.