Gunther beat Sheamus at WWE Clash at the Castle in Cardiff, Wales on Saturday to retain the Intercontinental Championship.
After a contest highlighted by some excellent old-school wrestling in which the challenger took Gunther to the limit, the champion floored The Celtic Warrior with a lariat to seal the win.
However, the biggest surprise of the match came at the start when Giovanni Vinci joined Ludwig Kaiser in accompanying The Ring General to the squared circle, indicating the reformation of Imperium, which had previously dominated in NXT and NXT UK.
.<a href="https://twitter.com/Gunther_AUT?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Gunther_AUT</a> retains the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ICTitle?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ICTitle</a> at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WWECastle?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WWECastle</a> in an absolutely incredible encounter! <a href="https://t.co/tQ5I0zFJ84">pic.twitter.com/tQ5I0zFJ84</a>
Despite his defeat, Sheamus was cheered by the fans inside the Principality Stadium after the match.
Due to their hard-hitting style, Gunther vs. Sheamus has long been viewed as a dream match, and since they are two of the top European wrestlers in the business, it was fitting that when they finally locked horns, it should be in Wales.
And their long-awaited matchup lived up to the hype with a back-and-forth battle that featured several near-falls.
With the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ICTitle?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ICTitle</a> on the line, <a href="https://twitter.com/WWESheamus?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WWESheamus</a> is giving it his all against <a href="https://twitter.com/Gunther_AUT?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Gunther_AUT</a> at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WWECastle?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WWECastle</a>!<a href="https://twitter.com/visitwales?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@visitwales</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/principalitysta?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@principalitysta</a> <a href="https://t.co/hpkvjttbg3">pic.twitter.com/hpkvjttbg3</a>
Sheamus earned a shot at the IC title when he competed in a Fatal 5-Way match on the August 19 edition of SmackDown against Sami Zayn, Ricochet, Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss.
The Irishman was victorious, putting him in position to vie for one of the only major titles he had never held in WWE.
Standing between Sheamus and intercontinental gold was one of the most dominant Superstars in WWE over the past several years in Gunther.
The Austrian holds the WWE record for longest reign as NXT UK champion, as he held the title for 870 days before dropping it to Ilja Dragunov last year.
Upon getting called up to the main roster as part of SmackDown earlier this year, it didn't take long for him to win the IC title from Ricochet.
The 35-year-old also successfully defended the belt against Ricochet and Shinsuke Nakamura, but Sheamus arguably represented his toughest test yet.
While Gunther vs. Sheamus would have been an exciting bout regardless of the venue, having it take place at the first WWE stadium show in the United Kingdom in 30 years added even more intrigue.
Sheamus came close to unseating the champion and got in his fair share of offense, but Gunther managed to retain and continue a reign that could eventually go down as one of the most dominant Intercontinental Championship runs in recent history.
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