After holding the Intercontinental Championship for 376 days and counting, coming just 78 days short of the Honkytonk Man's record of 454, it's only natural for fans and professional wrestling pundits alike to wonder if the time is right for Gunther to step out of the comfort zone and take a shot at one of WWE's world championships, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship currently held by Seth Rollins, or the Universal Championship that's been held by Roman Reigns for over three years.
Fortunately, Steve Fall actually asked the “Ring General” about wrestling Reigns and Rollins for their titles, and to his credit, Gunther actually gave a pretty definitive answer, letting the long-time wrestling journalist know that when it comes to the “Tribal Chief,” he's on a very different path at the moment.
“That's a good question. I think that's an interesting one down the line too. I think right now we're very far apart from each other in what we have to do. We're on different brands. Roman is on this never seen before title reign. I myself, I'm in the midst of making history. So once all that is said and done, we'll see if that's gonna happen,” Gunther said via 411 Mania. ” In terms of the Royal Rumble, yes. It was a very long struggle being in first and then failing at the end, but just by an inch. At the end overall, I think that was a very important night for me in my career, because I think it was very unexpected. So yeah, I think I rebounded very good from that, and we'll see what happens at the next Royal Rumble.”
Asked about Rollins too, and whether or not he'd be willing to get in the ring with “The Visionary” to see who really deserves the title of RAW‘s Workhorse Champion, Gunther noted that he has no interest in merging his title with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, as he views the two performers as being in two different divisions of this great sport.
“If I'm still the Intercontinental Champion, which I'm planning to be, I do not think so actually,” Gunther said via Fightful. “The new World Heavyweight Championship just got introduced, so I think there is no interest by anyone to merge that again with another title, which [a match between the two] kind of automatically would do. I think we're in two different divisions right now when it comes to that, but down the line, everything is possible, I would say.”
Eventually, the day will come when Gunther is no longer the Intercontinental Champion; though his reign hasn't been perfect, especially at the beginning, Imperium has steadily grown into one of the more popular heel factions in a promotion chock-full of popular heel factions, a fact made all the more impressive when you consider they have exclusively shared rosters with The Bloodline and The Judgment Day since debuting on the main roster. When that day comes, don't be too surprised to see Gunther challenging for one of, if not both of WWE's World Championships, as he's just too good to slide back into the mid-card without his stock being considerably elevated by a prolific IC Title reign.
Gunther reveals his preferred opponent for SummerSlam.
Elsewhere in his appearance on Ten Count with Steve Fall, Gunther was asked if there are any performers he actually would like to wrestle this summer at SummerSlam, the “Ring General” explained that he's still weighing his options but is ultimately open to any challengers who come his way.
“To be honest, I think there's — especially since we just got drafted to Raw, I think there's a lot of fresh matchups that could be done,” Gunther said via Fightful. “I think I'm in a position right now where there's a target on my back, and it's on everybody else to come after me. I don't have to identify people that I want to go after. That's not the position I'm in. So yeah, let's see, I'm open to any challenge. I'm here to be in the ring with the best to face-to-face competition, to have the biggest possible challenge.”
Alright, so Gunther is open to any challenger… just so long as they aren't Seth Rollins or Roman Reigns; got it.
Ultimately, after exhausting many of the IC Title challenge options on SmackDown, it's awesome to see Gunther make his way over to RAW, as it presents all sorts of new, fun, intriguing matches for the “Ring General.” After already working a fantastic television match with Kevin Owens earlier this month that shockingly only received a four-star rating from Dave Meltzer, it's clear Gunther can work a good match with pretty much anyone and can really elevate things into something special if the right performer answers his call. Gunther-Tommaso Ciampa II anyone?