Who Will End The WWE Intercontinental Championship Run Of Gunther?

Gunther - Intercontinental Championship
[Image via WWE]

While Roman Reigns makes history with his record-breaking title, he’s not the only one. Gunther has been carrying the WWE Intercontinental Championship for over 564+ days. The streak is maybe the most impressive one in WWE right now. Yes, Reigns has had his WWE Undisputed Universal Heavyweight Championship for over 1300 days. Gunther”s, though, has been far more exciting in the last 365 days.

His title defenses rank as the best matches on the card. Gunther has elevated the championship and his opponents. All good things must come to an end. We’re going to try and figure out who is best equipped and positioned to take his title.

We’ll walk through some of the more prominent and more familiar names. We”ll cover some outliers and who this writer believes are the favorites to take the title off him.



Cody Rhodes - WWE RAW
[Image via WWE]

When thinking about a big streak like Gunther”s, you have to consider a couple of top-tier stars. It”s clear that both Cody Rhodes and CM Punk are top-tier stars but there’s no way they are spending time in a feud with Gunther. At least not yet. We feel if they do get into a rivalry with the “Ring General,” it”ll be after he captures his first World Championship in WWE. 

As of now, seeing either of these men leave what seems like a World Title progression program for the WWE Intercontinental Championship is unlikely. Let”s examine why we feel that way.

Cody Rhodes & CM Punk:

We’re lumping them together because they both have the star power to dethrone Gunther. Punk is as hot as he’s ever been. Rhodes has solidified himself as a top star in the WWE. Do you want to give that belt all the shine it can handle? Take it off a top star and put it on another one. It”s usually that simple.

However, we”ll admit it’s very unlikely to happen. The reason for that is the same for both competitors. The WWE Intercontinental Championship is one of the most storied and prestigious titles but feels beneath both Punk and Rhodes.

Rhodes has been working to “finish the story” since he walked into WWE. The story doesn’t end with him snatching the IC Title from Gunther, regardless of the length of his reign. It won”t end with a win against Seth Rollins or whoever is holding the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the time.

For Cody, all roads lead toward Roman Reigns. To us (and to most), Cody must finish his story by taking the title off the guy who has held it for over 1200 days. That’s his story to tell. Anything else would feel like a shortcut. It might not happen at WM, but it has to happen for his storybook ending.

Punk isn’t as boxed in as Rhodes and could end Gunther”s historic reign. However, Punk is white-hot and is dancing with Seth Rollins. That’s where his destiny is. Does it include taking the title off Rollins? That remains unclear. A detour to take on Gunther would feel like a weird move for a guy who has made a career of answering his critics head-on.

Unless they are going to wait until 2026 to take the title off Gunther it won’t be either of these two.



The Miz with Intercontinental Championship
[Image via WWE]

We wanted to discuss the men below because they are heavily linked with the WWE Intercontinental Championship. That could mean that they are former champions or they are working hard to beat Gunther. Some of these men have fought Gunther multiple times but failed each time. One of these men may defeat the leader of Imperium, to be fair. Yet we just do not see WWE giving it to any of them, at this point at least.

Are they all great workers? Yes. Are they likely to end Gunther’s streak? No. This is the sad, end-of-the-day, issue for each of them. They make great opponents but not your next champion.

The Miz:

The Miz is one of the most decorated champions in WWE history. He has shown that he is no slouch in the ring, often giving us some incredible matches. He’s had two excellent matches with Gunther and continues to remind the WWE why he’s a first-ballot hall of famer. We know the story, though. Miz can no longer challenge Gunther for the WWE Intercontinental Championship.

Of course, this is wrestling, so rules are flexible. We don’t think they’ll break those rules to give Miz a third shot at Gunther and take his precious IC title. Yet we cannot ignore the possibility that they will bend the rules if they must.

Drew McIntyre:

We have to think about Drew McIntyre here for a couple of reasons. First, Gunther and McIntyre are on the same show so his proximity to the title is there. Second, he’s a former world champion which means that he’s credible enough to have a showdown with Gunther. We don’t believe Drew will be the one to do it because he’s been there before and lost. We also know he’s in the middle of a big heel turn.

While the WWE could do a heel vs. heel showdown it’s not likely that they would do that. The heel vs heel concept never works because the crowd organically will cheer for someone. Since Drew is in the middle of his heel run and Gunther has been an amazing champion, we”re sure they”ll cheer Gunther. The only reason to turn Gunther”s face would be a showdown with Reigns, where you need a face to go after The Tribal Chief.

We don’t think that’s something that’s planned anytime soon. That said, we’ll throw Drew over the top rope for this one.

Finn Balor:

The same problem for Drew exists with Finn Balor. He’s a heel in WWE”s hottest faction, the Judgment Day. In fact, this is perhaps Finn”s most extensive run on the WWE roster without a break or injury. Not including the WWE NXT roster, of course. While a showdown with Gunther would make for one hell of a match, he’s needed elsewhere. The Judgement Day has stories to tell and they don’t involve the WWE Intercontinental Championship at this point. He’s not a contender.

However, since they have clearly shown an interest in singles gold before, it makes sense they will again. Yet this title might not be the one they are concerned with, as a certain Señor Money in the Bank is waiting in the wings.

Damian Priest:

That”s right, Damian Priest is sitting pretty right now. The man has been a WWE Unified Tag Team Champion and WWE United States Champion since hitting the main roster. Many see him as a future World Champion, and the Judgment Day seems keen on making that happen sooner rather than later. In an alternate universe, Priest could have been the one to unseat Gunther.  If he were still riding a sizeable face push, he would match up well with Gunther, so it would make sense.

Priest is currently Señor Money in the Bank and waiting to cash that in on Seth Rollins. Of course, he”d be open to cashing it in on any World Champion. We truly doubt he will make a push to cash in on Gunther. Austin Theory was heavily panned for doing this with the United States title with the last MITB briefcase. There are too many reasons that Priest wouldn”t go for the IC Title that we just cannot see it happening.


Ricochet has faced off with Gunther before when they were both a part of the SmackDown brand. They had great matches together, to the surprise of no one. Ricochet is one of the most exciting performers in the sport. He seems to defy gravity, and it’s a great contrast in style to Gunther’s brutal and aggressive approach in the ring. Gunther has not been shy about flying before, but usually, he”s as grounded as it gets.

To get Ricochet to the ability to beat Gunther though, we need him to get a push. He had one last summer when he squared off against Logan Paul and put on a great match at WWE SummerSlam. Since that match he’s appeared consistent, but without much direction. He had a supporting role in the Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura feud and since then has been floating around. It is possible we see him moved around a bit after WrestleMania.

We’ve seen in WWE that all you need is a few weeks and a story and you could get into any conversation. Is that what the WWE has planned? We feel that seems unlikely. He’s a good worker that the fans love. However, we do not feel that he”s a guy who feels credible enough to end this amazing streak and take the title from Gunther.

Chad Gable:

We like Chad Gable, and we know that he and Gunther have created magic in the ring a few times already. Their showdown on WWE Monday Night Raw this year might have been the WWE match of the year. It was the RAW main event of the year according to WWE, at least. The two put on a clinic, and while Gable came up short, they left the door open for him to climb the mountain.

An athlete like Gable, with his legit wrestling background, could take on Gunther and get the better of him. The longer the streak goes, the more it feels like a long shot, but let’s not count him out yet. If not Gunther that he beats, there’s a championship in the cards for Gable.  We cannot see him escaping 2024 without having at least some type of championship after putting on clinics all of 2023.



Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams
[Image via WWE]

There are various WWE Superstars that could be very intriguing choices to beat Gunther. In this section, while each man chosen are long shots, they all could be interesting choices. Some of them make a lot of sense due to still being so young. Meaning, they probably need to be considered as taking the WWE Intercontinental Championship could do wonders for their young career.

One needs it to properly solidify himself as a great singles competitor after being a major tag team expert for years. The last stacks up well with Gunther on paper, but has not proven himself capable of being good enough “technically” to defeat a man calling himself the literal “Ring General.”

Carmelo Hayes:

You have to think about Carmelo Hayes as a potential challenger for the title. He’s shown up big on Smackdown with matches against Grayson Waller and Kevin Owens, even if he did not defeat the latter. He belongs on the main roster, and all he needs is the right push to make him a dangerous competitor for Gunther. On WWE NXT, the man was covered in gold. He won the WWE Cruiserweight Title, North American Title, and the NXT World Championship. Proving “Melo don”t miss” quite often.

There’s no doubt that the match with Gunther would be of the highest quality and we could believe Hayes could get a three count on him too. However, Melo is still on NXT telling an exciting story with Trick Williams. To have him jump to RAW, and build a program with Gunther would need a lift that should start now. It might be too much effort when there are ready-made guys on the main roster.

On top of this, under the Triple H regime, WWE is not just plucking guys out of NXT without concern for the stories they are part of down there. That was the old way of handling things under the old man”s creative direction. Triple H won”t pull Carmelo out of NXT until the story with Trick is done.

Bron Breakker:

It’s only a matter of time before Bron Breakker ascends to the main roster. There have been rumors online that Bron will appear right after WrestleMania, which would make sense. The post-Mania period is usually a time to debut new stars. We’ve speculated that you could even see Bron in the men”s Royal Rumble match. That’s a great opportunity to debut stars. They get the primary audience more familiar with their presentation and character.

WWE thinks highly of Breakker. He’s a former NXT World Champion and has spent most of his time on the NXT roster in high-profile feuds. It would make sense to challenge for the WWE Intercontinental Championship. It’s a long shot, as Gunther might end up dropping the title before or at WrestleMania, and the timing won’t work that way. Also, we’ve already discussed how the heel vs. heel angle won’t work for the person trying to dethrone Gunther.

Breakker does present an exciting avenue for them to explore. Therefore, it is possible Breakker could debut on the RAW after WrestleMania and be the one to answer some type of open challenge Gunther has for the title. He could win it from him, and then start on a babyface run. We cannot see the fans booing any of the debuting NXT stars, so this might be the only way Breakker gets the title without the heel vs heel issue.

Xavier Woods:

We’re leaving Kofi Kingston off this list, let’s get that out of the way. We know, we know. Send in the hate mail already. It’s not that we don’t love Kofi…it’s that it doesn’t feel like it’s in the cards for him at all. Call us crazy. If we’re wrong, we’ll issue a public apology.

On to his New Day brother, Xavier Woods.

He’s the only New Day member who has never gotten the big push. He won the King of the Ring but Vince McMahon got bored with it and abandoned it before it ever got started. Woods is a very talented performer and had a great match with Gunther back in April of 2023.

The potential and possibility is there. It’s long enough ago that a feud could feel fresh. We also know that Woods is a talented talker so they can make a build that could feel special. The question is whether they can make it feel special enough to dethrone Gunther.

The person who takes the WWE Intercontinental Championship off Gunther must either already be a big deal or about to become one. If Gunther’s reign wasn’t already historic, then this might make sense. It’s too big of a moment for Woods” status with the company today.

Ilja Dragunov:

Can you imagine Ilja Dragunov and Gunther back at it with a title on the line at WrestleMania? These two guys went at it back in 2021 on NXT UK and blew the roof off the place. It got all the stars, points, grades, etc, that you could have wanted. Back then, their match was for the WWE NXT UK Championship. Interestingly, this was also a title Gunther had been holding for over 800 days.

Both are two brutal performers who always seem to make magic in the ring. If you want to prove that Dragunov is a legit star, what better way to do that than to take the title off his former rival? It would also make sense.

Before their NXT UK match, Gunther (then known as WALTER) had been champion for exactly 870 days. Dragunov ended his streak then and has the credibility to end it now. The promo video package produces itself. There’s nothing crazy about this idea.

Could you imagine if Dragunov showed up to challenge Gunther? He”s perhaps the only man the Ring General fears.

However, Dragunov is currently the NXT World Champion and would have to give up the title before taking the title off Gunther. The more we discuss this, the more we like it. You could set these two up as the ultimate rivals and as Gunther’s career Achilles heel.

There’s a lot to like about this. Our gut tells us this won’t happen. They want Dragunov at NXT for the foreseeable future. If he drops the NXT title sooner than expected, prepare yourself. A showdown with Gunther could be his next stop. We”d be into it for sure.


This section is for the “longshots,” right?” Omos fits the bill here for sure. If this were still McMahon’s show to run day-to-day, you would have to think the odds are much higher for an Omos” win. McMahon always valued size as a determining factor in a star”s push over the years and that’s something Omos has.

He’s one of the biggest and most powerful-looking stars on the roster. There’s an attraction element to Omos facing off against Gunther in the ring. Omos lacks the in-ring ability that many of the other options have. Gunther seems to get a good match against anyone. However, we cannot expect even the technical master that is Gunther to force out a great match with Omos. There’s no doubt that while it might not be a classic, he’d find a way to tell an exciting story in the ring. 

Omos, if he’s going to be successful in the WWE, needs a shot in the arm. Besides working as a heater for a more established and versatile talent, he has limited options. A run with the WWE Intercontinental Championship as a world-beater could be what he needs. The only problem is if he takes the title, he”ll need a lengthy title run. Would it make sense to have two long runs back-to-back? Not likely.

Omos could use it as much as anyone. Let”s be honest though, there are more worthy opponents. Like, countless more.



Dominik Mysterio - North American Champion
[Image via WWE]

To us, many of these men will not be the first people that come to mind. When you think about people who could take the WWE Intercontinental Championship from Gunther, it”s likely none of these men will be your first choice. A lot of this concerns their heel vs. heel storyline dynamic that would hurt them in the overall story. If you changed directions with Gunther or these competitors, we could be talked into it.

However, we’re not sure there’s enough time to do that. Of course, all of this surrounds how long WWE wants this run to be. If they want it to go on past WrestleMania, then any of these people could be an interesting option. Yet we could say the same about several of those already referenced so far. That said, both of these men have the capability of ending Gunther”s title run.

Dominik Mysterio:

Can you imagine the boos that “Dirty” Dominik Mysterio could ride if he became the man to defeat Gunther? In a way, it kind of makes you want him to beat Roman Reigns for the boos of it all. It’s not happening, of course. There’s an Intercontinental Championship run in the future for Dominik, no doubt. Yet to see him beat Gunther right now would be tough. Mysterio won”t get his first IC Title by taking down Gunther.

They won’t let Gunther’s championship reign end with a guy who has to cheat to win everything. The person who takes the title off Gunther will do it by outworking the Ring General. However, if they feel this won”t work…then you have Judgment Day right there to assist Mysterio. They are also able to outnumber the members of Gunther”s Imperium faction. Therefore, they could consider this. Yet we feel the man who takes the title from Gunther will need to do it without having to resort to cheating. That way, the person can be seen as a legitimate big deal.

Shinsuke Nakamura:

Six months ago, we wouldn’t have had Shinsuke Nakamura in the discussion to beat Gunther. Times change, and all a character needs is a strong build. Recent feuds with Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins have established him as a threat to the top stars on the roster. It does not matter if he has technically lost these match-ups. He is still having killer matches with everyone and looks like a legitimate big deal.

We would love to see Shinsuke and Gunther square off against each other. Gunther”s brutal style with Shinsuke as the King of Strong Style would make for one hell of a match. The problem is that heel vs heel matches won”t work because someone has to be the face, the one cheered. People will naturally boo Nakamura over Gunther due to his actions of late. Yet it”s tough to know for sure.

The match itself could be worth the storytelling gymnastics you”d need to take to make one of these guys a babyface. It doesn”t feel like it”s going to happen though.



Jey Uso - War Games
[Image via WWE]

If we had to pick a minimum of four men who could be considered “favorites” to beat Gunther for the WWE Intercontinental Championship, it would be these men. They all have the persona to take on Gunther. They have the credibility, and they all make matchups we’d want to see. If anyone is taking the title off Gunther, you must consider these guys first. We picked each one due to what they bring to the table.

For example, one of them is a match-up nightmare due to his size. He is tough for anyone to take down, and Gunther would struggle. Another is considered perhaps the greatest pure athlete WWE has ever had. The man is a proven threat in legitimate fighting, so against Gunther, he seems like a big threat. The next two have the heart and soul to never stop. They are known for being tough to defeat. One is a former WWE Intercontinental Champion while the other had been a tag team specialist for years.

Both are now on a mission for gold, and Gunther might be the guy they have to drop to get it. However, the “Ring General” is hardly a bump in the road. He”s a road hazard waiting for someone to try and prove themselves, only to put them down like they mean nothing. Let”s discuss each and see how they might be capable of beating the big man.

Bronson Reed:

Bronson Reed has been sniffing around the WWE Intercontinental Championship for months now. He’s been in and out of every qualifying match and tournament for the championship there has been. Reed most certainly has the size that makes him credible to defeat anyone on the roster, and he’s shown he can go in the ring. These two faced off recently and had a great match. Did Reed learn something to help him later?

The case against Reed is that there isn’t a lot of momentum. The crowd hasn’t gravitated to him yet. There have been moments, but if he’s going to take down Gunther, then he needs to be someone the crowd can get behind. He isn’t there yet, from our estimation.

That doesn’t mean he can’t get there. Reed is impressive. It could be less about his ability to connect and more about the opponent. Gunther has elevated everyone he’s been in the ring with. Miz found a way to get the crowd behind him. It”s the same crowd that has booed him for years. Therefore, if Miz can become a sympathetic babyface, then anything is possible. If it’s going to happen, it’s got to happen soon.

There’s an appeal to seeing these powerhouse individuals go toe-to-toe at WrestleMania.

The IC Title is supposed to elevate the person who possesses it. Why not put the title on Reed and see how it does in elevating him? There’s no doubt that they”d have one hell of a match. Imagine Reed and Gunther facing off and pushing each other to the limit. There is money in that.

Sami Zayn:

Sami Zayn has proven he knows how to play the plucky underdog who always stays in the fight. Zayn took on that role in late 2022 and early 2023, as he was the first domino to fall at the end of The Bloodline 2.0. He smashed a chair over the back of Reigns at the 2023 Royal Rumble. Zayn then turned that momentum into one of the best matches of the year against Roman Reigns at the Elimination Chamber PLE in Montreal.

Zayn came up short in his bid for the WWE Undisputed Universal Championship. However, he was also able to take that momentum and turn it into a main event at Night 1 of WrestleMania.

Zayn has proven he’s a wonderful storyteller capable of getting the crowd behind him. He could take the WWE Intercontinental Championship off Gunther. He”s held the championship before and has proven he can end streaks. With the help of Kevin Owens, he stopped The Uso”s 500-plus day streak as tag champs. Could he do it again?

Since Zayn returned to RAW, he”s had his sights set on winning the World Heavyweight Championship. Could the IC Title be a stepping stone on his way to taking that lead as the top guy on RAW? Only time will tell, but it’s a possibility.

Brock Lesnar:

We have to admit that the idea of Brock Lesnar being the WWE Intercontinental Champion sounds a little weird. This is one of the most decorated stars in WWE history. His title reigns are exclusively for the world championships. Brock is a main event attraction. Anything below that is odd, right? 

Rumors are circulating about Brock vs. Gunther though. If you believe the dirt sheets, WWE brass them to face off at WrestleMania. Why wouldn’t they? Brock is a world-destroyer. He has ripped through everyone he’s ever faced. Gunther is the most dominant champion WWE has not named Roman Reigns. Why not put these two in a ring together?

Both men bring a very physical style and punish opponents in the ring. However, Gunther is more calculated, whereas Brock is like a bull in a China Shop. We know that Brock can wrestle longer matches, but how long would this match go? It wouldn’t be the typical Brock squash match nor the drawn-out classics that Gunther typically has either.

WWE would find themselves in a big problem making Lesnar IC Champ. Gunther made it believable that almost anyone can beat him on the right night. It’s a testament to how good he is at telling a story.

With Brock holding the title, it feels like a tougher mountain to climb. Most of the names referenced to this point wouldn’t hold water in a conversation about taking down Lesnar. You don”t want to put the title on a champion too big for the belt. That”s what would happen here.

However, Brock is as credible an opponent as Gunther has faced. Also, it doesn”t hurt Gunther to lose this match and hit the main event scene next.

Will it happen? Unlikely, but with the right story, it could work.

Jey Uso:

Jey Uso could use a singles title run. Three years ago, it”s uncertain Jey was a main event caliber performer in the singles division. Times change and the Bloodline story changed everything for his trajectory. He went from one-half of a great tag team to a main event competitor stacking up against the industry”s top star.

Now that Jey is on RAW, he’s never been more over. There’s the obvious feud with Jimmy that is only a matter of time.

WWE has been patient, giving the story time to develop. They’ve seemed reluctant to rush a story. While there is still a lot of time left before WrestleMania, how long will they wait on this one?

Why not give us a story that is right in front of us? Jey missed out on ending one historic title reign at the hands of his brother. Why not, with his brother out of the way, take a shot at ending another one? Gunther needs a credible challenger. No one knows more about a great champion and how to exploit their weaknesses than Jey. Having been around Roman for all those years had to teach him something he could use against Gunther, right?

Plus, the WWE Intercontinental Championship is a great stepping stone to prove that you can be a top guy for WWE. Several legends used it to show they could be “the man.” Jey and Gunther could put on a classic together.

Unlike others, Jey feels like a legit main eventer. He’s worthy of carrying one of the two top titles in the company.

Gunther perhaps losing the IC Title to Jey at WrestleMania would be an excellent moment for Jey. WWE could use that as the springboard for Jimmy vs. Jey. Their story really writes itself from here.