GUNTHER's Intercontinental Title run doesn't have to end at WrestleMania 40

Gunther is one of the most important champions in wrestling today and his title run may not come to an end at WrestleMania 40.

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WrestleMania 40 is the next edition of WWE’s annual showcase event. The biggest wrestling event of the year from a revenue and mainstream standpoint. This is where top stories are brought to a close, setting the stage for the next phase of WWE’s year. One of those stories heading into WrestleMania is GUNTHER’s incredible run as Intercontinental champion. There’s no telling who he will face, but the bigger question is whether this is the moment to take that championship off his waist.

GUNTHER’s dominance has added credibility back to the Intercontinental championship after years of degradation. The man who finally defeats him will get a massive boost of momentum. Such that should immediately make him an attraction that could transition into a serious push forward. But who is going to stand across from him at Mania?

The gauntlet match scheduled for the next episode of WWE Raw features six mid-card performers. But there are two that stand out as favorites to win: Chad Gable and Sami Zayn. Both have stories that would transition to big moments at Mania, so it is understandable why they could be slotted into that spot. Fans would be behind either man if they were the one to stand across from GUNTHER. They are great at every aspect of both professional wrestling and sports entertainment. It makes sense.

But is WrestleMania the time to take that title off Gunther’s waist? Gable has lost some momentum since their string of matches. He was removed from television for inexplicable reasons, and just recently demanding involvement in the IC title picture. He recently picked up a win over Ivar on WWE Raw. This was his first televised singles win since defeating Ludvig Kaiser by DQ on August 28, 2023. That’s more than enough time for fans to “forget” about him with WWE taking the time to keep him at least warm heading into WrestleMania.

Then there’s Sami Zayn. Zayn’s story is much about him finding a way onto the WrestleMania 40 card. After a series of defeats, he’s picked up some wins – enough to put him into the gauntlet match. If Zayn gets the win to earn the Mania spot, that doesn’t immediately mean he has to be the guy to defeat Gunther. Imagine if he takes a loss which pushes him toward turning heel. There are expectations that Zayn will win out, but no one would be surprised if that shift comes.

GUNTHER’s run as WWE Intercontinental Champion has been great for the wrestler, the division, and the company. But everything must come to an end. That means Gunther will drop this belt, but when and to whom are two of the biggest questions WWE must answer and WrestleMania 40 may not be that moment.