By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Insight With Chris Van Vliet with guest Gunther
Host: Chris Van Vliet
Podcast available via Podcasts.Apple.com
Who has chopped Gunther the hardest: “Um, I don’t know. I was shocked one time, I remember I wrestled in Germany back then. I was wrestling Pentagon actually and I chopped him and he chopped me once and I was bleeding right away. It was like, ‘What? What is going on?’ Some of the Mexican colleagues are gonna say they chop like it’s, the movement is a little bit like it’s a whip, if that makes sense. It’s because they chop from overhand and most of them do. That is painful I gotta say.”
His favorite defenses of the Intercontinental Championship: “I would say WrestleMania for sure, Sheamus and Drew [McIntyre]. I was very happy with that, in general was a great day and weekend for me. My family was there and stuff like that. It was overall a really awesome experience. I would say Chad, Chad Gable, it felt good. I love an underdog scenario like the David and Goliath scenario. Who would be number three? Clash at the Castle is good. But I already mentioned Sheamus and he doesn’t deal too well with too much attention. So I can’t mention him again.
“Well, I think Drew the thing is SummerSlam against Drew, I think it was a match I was really proud of as well. Because Drew is such an established guy in WWE. And if you look at his story, it’s very impressive. I think he was the young guy that got kicked, but he wasn’t like, I’ll let it be. He grit his teeth and worked himself up again. And then he worked himself up to the he was the champion. He beat Brock [Lesnar] at WrestleMania. And even though nobody was there was still WrestleMania. He figured out a way to like really belong in that top picture of the company. It’s like they would see Drew McIntyre. Okay, that guy. People turn around when that guy enters a room, right? So yeah, so being in the ring with him and having that kind of match with him at SummerSlam. I really liked that. It was like it for me, it was a big test to have to match with Drew. And just to see if I can, yeah, just hang with him in there on that stage and have a matchup and magnitude.”
On his view of The Miz: “No, I don’t remember anything specific out of Miz’s career, I can promise you that. As I said before, because I don’t know. I forget the years, I don’t know, maybe it was like, I’m really bad with the 2010 to 12, or something like that. I don’t know. But there was a time when I came up as a wrestler, or even later, I didn’t bother watching WWE because it was really not my thing. I liked Japanese wrestling. I love some of the indie stuff. And that’s where my focus was. And I watched a personal entertainment, but also like the guys too like Japanese matches stuff that happens there. How can I use that? So The Miz for me was always the embodiment of that area, when I didn’t like to watch WWE at all. So getting in the ring with him now is fantastic. Especially in WWE, and it’s about the Intercontinental Championship, and it’s basically the matchup of who really is the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time. And I’m really excited for the match.
“It’s honestly because I think when I joined, the main roster was clear for me, I need to make a statement. I’m not a guy out of that system I have been in NXT UK, I’ve been a little bit in NXT, but all my development, all my whatever, like character building, figuring myself out, and all of that happens way before WWE. So I’m not the typical [Superstar]. The Miz, on the other hand, is a prime example of how good their development system is. Because he started with them and he’s one of the most decorated names they have. And I feel like especially in the presentation of the company in the general media world, he’s just a very few have done better than him. So I wanted a challenge there’s like, Okay, I need to, I’m still a little bit of a new guy here. I’m definitely still in WWE and a little bit outsider, if that makes sense. That’s at least how I feel when I watch it. I’m not the typical WWE wrestler. So I always wanted to be in the ring with The Miz because first of all, he has that background with the Intercontinental Championship. And secondly, that’s a great measuring stick for me if that makes sense, because it’s a little bit of clash of two worlds.”
On never being sure that he would make it to WWE: “Yeah, always, I was sure. In 2005 I had my first training right. And then a few years in whatever the wrestling scene in Europe and especially the German-speaking countries was still small, like nobody gave a damn about it. It wasn’t on free TV like in general, the public, you get looked at weirdly when you watch wrestling like most people didn’t even know what was going on. Like it wasn’t, it was not a topic in the mainstream entertainment world. So all of that was so far away, it’s like, even like 10 years ago, if somebody from England I think like Sheamus and Drew and Stu [Bennett/Wade Barrett] were like one of the first exceptions for Europeans to go there and actually make it or be somebody or Cesaro. And then for a long time, there was nothing and it was just something that is, well, that’s not realistic. So don’t aim for that.
“My goal was always I want to make a living of being a professional wrestler, that was always my goal. I want to make this my profession because I know something about it now. It’s like I have a passion for it and I don’t want to work a job that just bored the hell out of me. So I always wanted to make it a profession when I achieved that. That was already something unheard of. When I became a full-time wrestler and I had to be self-employed basically. And to every agency or every government body I had to go for whatever it was, pension, health insurance and all of that stuff I got looked at, yeah, like an alien like what are you what is your job?
“Because I think at that time, I was the only person in the whole of Germany who was a wrestler by profession. That was already like a big step and then everything else just fell into place over time, the indies changed big time. There was before COVID There was such a big boom in the indie scene in England especially but all like in the States as well. And WWE decided to open the doors to Yeah, the independent wrestling world and also to Europe. So that’s brought up a lot more possibilities, obviously. And then everything just fell into place. So yeah, it was never my big dream to go there. I think it was more passionate to wrestle All Japan once at some point. As like a big dream than being with WWE.”