WWE Royal Rumble: Memorable Austria moment at mega show
He was the figurehead of the German-speaking wrestling scene, then took America by storm – and later it should be clear that there is no upper limit for him in WWE.
The Austrian show fight phenomenon Gunther made his biggest appearance to date at the traditional show Royal Rumble. And even though he ended up ceding victory and the main spot at the WrestleMania 39 megashow to others, he made a memorable exclamation point that WILL linger. (NEWS: Everything about WWE)
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Gunther surprises as a marathon man
Gunther (real life: Walter Hahn) boarded the 30-man match – unusually placed early in the show – at number 1. And while various big names and surprise participants came and went – Brock Lesnar, legend Booker T, the returned Edge – Gunther was portrayed as a marathon man who stuck it out to the end.
In the end, the race concentrated on Gunther, Seth Rollins and the numbers 29 and 30: the two returnees Logan Paul – for the first time his furious fall title match against Roman Reigns back in the WWE ring – and Cody Rhodes, also back after his horrific injury last summer.
While Paul initially took out Rollins from behind – setting up a potential Mania cracker – the YouTube star and Floyd Mayweather opponent then fell victim to Rhodes.
Cody Rhodes wins the WWE Royal Rumble 2023
A long and dramatic final sequence followed, in which Gunther, with his well-known aggressive style, repeatedly seemed about to kill his son of the late legend Dusty Rhodes switch off.
Ultimately, however, Rhodes clotheslined the leader of the Imperium group over the wire to secure victory and the title match against Universal Champion Roman Reigns.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, long considered Reigns’ ideal opponent did not take part in the Rumble match, nor did Sami Zayn, a hotly debated alternative to Rhodes, whose story with Reigns is instead continued in the title match between Reigns and Kevin Owens at the end of the show. Whether that WILL have any impact on the title race at the two-day WrestleMania remains to be seen.
Encountering Brock Lesnar makes you sit up and take notice
One thing is certain: Gunther played his way into the top league of WWE with his final performance. The rise to the first German-speaking World Champion in WWE – and the first Austrian champion of a US league since the legendary “Big” Otto Wanz – no longer seems like fantasy. (Gunther in the SPORT1 interview: Why he lost 25 kilos for WWE)
His performance underscored the high regard for current creative director “Triple H” Paul Levesque (which isn’t exactly certain for Vince McMahon, who returned to power earlier in the year).
What also made you sit up and take notice: WWE also staged a murmuring confrontation between Gunther and top star Brock Lesnar at the rumble, which whetted the appetite for a big one-on-one match between the two.
Before the two titans could really engage, however, they were interrupted by Lesnar’s current rival, Bobby Lashley, who eliminated Lesnar with surprising speed. Lashley later falls victim to Rollins.