Tonight’s episode of WWE SmackDown kicked off with an anticipated pitch for the Intercontinental Championship between the Ring General Gunther and the Monster Among Men Braun Strowman. Gunther couldn’t overpower Strowman like he has with his other opponents, so he decided to target Strowman’s only weakness right now, which is his previously injured arm. Gunther aimed relentlessly at the arm, and it caused Strowman to stop several attempts to lift the champion. It eventually became too much to overcome, and while Strowman was able to fend off the rest of Imperium later in the match, he was unable to defeat Gunther, allowing the champion to retain.
Strowman and Gunther circled each other a bit and then Strowman pushed the champ away. Gunther rolled out of the ring and regrouped a bit and then they locked back in, but Strowman got the best of the exchange. He knocked the champ to the ground and then punched him in the face before bumping into Gunther and knocking him over the announce table.
— WWE (@WWE) January 14, 2023
However, Gunther came back vengeful and he tried to ground the Strowman by focusing on the star’s previously injured arm. He held it in a painful grip, then began to stamp on the arm, slapping it with knees and a vicious kick. Gunther continued to sight the arm, then applied more pressure to the star’s shoulder and elbow.
Strowman came back with punches, but Gunther struck back, knocking the challenger down again. A knee fell on the injured arm and the champion followed him with a cover, but he kicked out. There was another arm grab and he tried to pick up Gunther, but his shoulder gave way instead. Gunther kicked him and then hit the chest with a heel.
Strowman was able to get back to his feet and he started building some momentum, but then the rest of Imperium took advantage of a distraction and came out to attack the challenger. They took some hits to the injured arm, but he was able to throw them out of the ring. Gunther took the opportunity to land a dropkick, but then Strowman knocked him down, stopping the momentum to swing back in favor of the Ring general.
Strowman was able to reverse a hold and pick up and knock the Champion down, and it was no less on the hurt arm. Chops were exchanged and then Strowman ate a boot in the face, but he knocked Gunther down and went for cover, only for Gunther to kick out. More chops were exchanged, but Strowman knocked the Champ down again with a clothesline. He ran for the corner, but Gunther swerved sideways and hit the turnbuckle. A clothesline and drop kick followed and Gunther covered the challenger, but he kicked out.
Gunther went up and hit the Splash into cover, but Strowman kicked out. He went upstairs, but Strowman followed. Gunther attacked the injured arm again and went down, then hit a huge heel and slammed his fist into the post. Gunther then picked up Strowman and slammed him into a cover, and he got the pin and the win. Gunther is still your intercontinental champion.
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