Gunther is the current WWE Intercontinental Champion, having taken the gold from Ricochet after pinning him during the June 10 episode of "WWE SmackDown." The Austrian bruiser squashed Ricochet in their title rematch, but his most recent championship defense proved to be a far greater challenge. He went one-on-one with Shinsuke Nakamura on August 12, and the two had a highly praised match with Gunther getting the win.
Appearing on 101 WRIF, Gunther said that when he began his journey in the pro wrestling business, Nakamura was someone who stood out to him as a top performer.
"Shinsuke is easily one of the best wrestlers in the world of the last decade, like the last 10 years or something," Gunther said. "When I really started out in my career, going around places and stuff, he was definitely one of the guys that I always used to watch to be like, ‘Okay, that’s the standard that is set in the world right now when it comes to quality of matches,’ and stuff like that."
Nakamura rose up the ranks in New Japan Pro-Wrestling beginning in 2002. Early on in his career, Nakamura took on the likes of Brock Lesnar and Bob Sapp. While NJPW was pushing Nakamura as its top star, Hiroshi Tanahashi began to emerge and he took over the role of the company’s "Ace." With Tanahashi cementing his status as NJPW’s top star, Nakamura’s popularity skyrocketed when he became "The King of Strong Style." His years of experience and runs as the IWGP Intercontinental Champion caught the attention of WWE officials, and Nakamura signed a WWE contract back in 2016. Nakamura has won multiple championships under the WWE banner, including the Intercontinental and United States Titles, and was the winner of the 2018 men’s Royal Rumble match.