Wrestling fans are witnessing something special in the WWE Intercontinental Champion Gunther. Since signing with the company and arriving in NXT UK, he has been a nearly unstoppable threat. He showed that he was coming to the WWE to make his legacy by dethroning Pete Dunne for the WWE United Kingdom Championship. Not only did Gunther take Dunne's championship, but he surpassed him as the longest-reigning champion in history at 870 days. However, his championship run was only a foreshadowing of what was to come.
Imperium moved to the main roster in April 2022 and in just two months, Gunther was the Intercontinental Champion. Since winning the title, he has only grown stronger and more unstoppable. He has demolished every threat that has come in his path. He has made an undeniable mark on history by demolishing Honky Tonk Man's 36-year record for longest title reign at 454 days. Now nearly 600 days into his reign, he is less than a month away from claiming yet another record as longest overall champion.
Gunther seems to be unstoppable as the rocket that he is strapped to keeps going up. He is riding high for the moment but everything going up must eventually fall. As WrestleMania approaches, one wonders if somebody may claim their WrestleMania moment by defeating Gunther and ending his historic reign. Somebody could have a career-altering opportunity to end a title reign of this magnitude. With that being said, it has to be the right choice or everything that has been worked so hard for could be tarnished. Here are three choices that could be right if given the right story.
3. Gable Steveson
Many fans have said that Gable Steveson's time in the WWE has been lackluster, to say the least. The Olympic Gold Medalist is only the second to ever sign with the WWE; the first being WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle. With those massive shoes to feel, there is a ton of pressure to be expected on Steveson's shoulders. While Kurt made the WWE his full-time career, Steveson has continued his successive amateur career. Despite being signed for several years, Gable only had his debut match in 2023 against, ironically, the man who retired Kurt Angle, Baron Corbin.
Many fans are calling for the plug to be pulled on the "Gable Steveson Project," but it can be argued that he hasn't even been given a chance to begin. His sporadic appearances have made little to no effect on making his name in the WWE. As many transitional athletes have learned before him, Gable will learn that pro and amateur wrestling are two completely different things. He needs a character, a cause, and a legitimate chance. That could come as a shock to the WWE Universe by Gable being the one to end Gunther's reign.
The move would be controversial but as Eric Bischoff said, "Controversy creates cash." The move could be a catastrophic disaster or could be one of the best decisions ever made if Gable's career blossoms afterward. We have seen shocking moments in the past such as Santino Marella's debut and championship win. Perhaps Gable is line to make a shocking moment of his own. Add Chad Gable to the mix to tell the story of Gable finding the man to do the job and a story is set. This could be the most hated move in history and they create an organic heel. Sometimes you have to roll the dice and take your chances.
2. Ludwig Kaiser
For the past five years, Imperium has been dominating in the WWE. While Gunther gets all of the credit for the group's success, Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci have been vital cogs in the machine. They have done nearly all of Gunther's dirty work to keep him in the position that he is. While Gunther is their top priority, Kaiser and Vinci have had success as a team becoming two-time tag team champions in NXT. However, since being called up to the main roster, they have failed to find the success that the leader of their group has.
They have been a threat to the tag team division and seemed primed to become WWE Tag Team Champions but have failed to find any success. They have feuded with numerous tag teams but nothing memorable has come of the feuds. Recently, it has seemed that Kaiser and Vinci have become tired of the mundane weekly routine. Kaiser has become restless and blamed Vinci for their downfalls. Gunther has only added fuel to the fire as he has praised Kaiser's recent ruthless attitude while giving Vinci no credit where it is due.
It is ineviatble that something will soon have to live with the tension within Imperium. Kaiser and Vinci seem doomed to split up sooner than later and that will leave Kaiser alone under Gunther's shadow. That will leave Kaiser in a dangerous place with no foreseeable goals. With no tag partner, he couldn't chase tag team gold. That only left singles championships and Gunther has a vice grip on one championship and his eyes set on the gold. This could lead to Kaiser's ego fueling his jealousy and leading to the needle that broke Imperium. A triple-threat match between Imperium for the Intercontinental Championship could be a captivating story.
1. Pete Dunne
Many could say they have unfinished business with Gunther but that is arguably no bigger case than with Pete Dunne. At one point, Pete looked to be the one primed to have everything Gunther had accomplished. After beating Tyler Bate to become the second WWE United Kingdom Champion, he was the one dominating the NXT roster. For 685 days, he was on top of the world until everything came crashing down in the form of Gunther, then known as Walter. After making his shocking arrival and earning a championship opportunity, he brutalized Pete and took away his championship. Since then, many could say that Pete Dunne has never been the same.
After losing the title, he had moderate success in tag teams and as a founding member of the British Strong Style stable. However, that wasn't "The Bruserweight" that dominated before he met Gunther. Metaphorically, "Butch" was a shell that Pete Dunne went to hide in because of what Gunther did to him. Gunther was on the verge of beginning his Intercontinental Championship reign while Pete was being stripped of his name and his dignity. Gunther's entire reign has taken place over one of the lowest points of Pete Dunne's career. However, that chapter is finally closed. Butch is gone and Pete Dunne has returned.
Now, it is time for Pete to remind the world of what he is capable of. He was a menace to the roster when he first arrived. He was a threat to anybody and everybody that dared step in his path. To be able to finally get back to who he truly is and move on from the past, Pete has to get over the roadblock that has held him down for far too long. Gunther nearly took everything from Pete when he took his title and later his place in the history books. It would be poetic for Pete to be the one to rise from the ashes and get his sweet revenge by ending Gunther's reign. It would be a WrestleMania moment that Pete rightfully deserved.