Last week, GUNTHER became the second longest-reigning Intercontinental Champion in WWE history and is now less than a month away from breaking the record set by the Honky Tonk Man 35 years ago. And with each passing day, that’s more likely to happen.
Having lived through Honky Tonk’s record-setting run, I’m excited to see it. My wife, recognizing my enthusiasm, has talked about throwing an Octoberfest-style party in honor of the occasion and has even looked into getting a dirndl.
God bless her.
Unfortunately, social media doesn’t share our excitement. Instead of raising a glass of Austria’s finest and toasting this monumental moment, I see endless talk of who should dethrone GUNTHER, with plenty of people now jumping on the Chad Gable bandwagon. While Gable’s chase makes for a touching underdog story, it would be ridiculous for WWE to throw away GUNTHER’S momentum on someone low on the roster’s totem pole so viewers can go to bed feeling warm and fuzzy.
But I’ll bite and play the game. How should WWE end this historic run?
Simple. It shouldn’t.
Sure, smashing records is impressive, but what matters is how accomplishing such feats is helping GUNTHER get over. Outside of Roman Reigns, he’s been WWE’s most dominant titleholder. During his time in NXT UK, the Ring General was the United Kingdom Champion for almost 900 days. Combined with his Intercontinental title reign, GUNTHER’s two tours as a champion exceed Reigns’ time as the Undisputed Universal Champion.
And as the wins pile up, GUNTHER gains more credibility with audiences as an unstoppable force in the same vein as Brock Lesnar and as an equal to Reigns. Therefore, WWE should stay the course until GUNTHER wins the world championship, ideally next year at WrestleMania, then strip him of the Intercontinental title, leaving GUNTHER undefeated as a champion on the main roster.
At first glance, that seems like a winning situation for only GUNTHER and his fans, like me. But big picture, such booking gives WWE another high-profile performer capable of elevating a new star when it comes time to do the honors.
Fans often talk about how beating Roman Reigns should make someone the next face of the company. But WWE could easily make a second strong face with a victory over the equally impressive GUNTHER. Long term, that’s a win and another reason to celebrate.