Gunther Retains Intercontinental Title to Kick Off WWE SmackDown

Tonight's episode of WWE SmackDown kicked off with an anticipated throwdown for the Intercontinental Championship between the Ring General Gunther and the Monster Among Men Braun Strowman. Gunther couldn't overpower Strowman like he's done with his other opponents, so he decided to target Strowman's only weakness at the moment, and that's his previously hurt arm. Gunther targeted the arm relentlessly, and it caused Strowman to abandon several attempts at lifting 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 couldn't beat Gunther, allowing the Champion to retain.

Strowman and Gunther circled each other a bit and then Strowman pushed away the Champion. Gunther rolled out of the ring and regrouped a bit and then they locked up again, but Strowman got the best of the exchange. He knocked the Champ out to the floor and then punched him in the face before running into Gunther and knocking him over the announce table.

Gunther came back with a vengeance though, and he attempted to ground the Strowman by focusing on the star's previously hurt arm. He locked it in a painful hold and then started stomping on the arm and hitting it with knee strikes and a vicious kick. Gunther continued to keep the arm in his sights, and then put more pressure on the star's shoulder and elbow.

Strowman came back with punches but Gunther hit back and knocked the challenger back down. A knee came down on the hurt arm and the Champ followed it with a cover, but he kicked out. Another arm hold followed, and he tried to pick up Gunther but his shoulder gave out instead. Gunther kicked him and then connected with a chop to the chest.

Strowman was able to get back to his feet and he started to build some momentum, but then the rest of Imperium took advantage of a distraction and came out to attack the challenger. They got some hits in on the hurt arm, but he was able to throw them out of the ring. Gunther used the opportunity to hit a dropkick but then Strowman knocked him down and stopped the momentum from swinging back into the Ring General's favor.

Strowman was able to reverse a hold and pick up the Champion and slam him down, and it was on the hurt arm no less. Chops were exchanged and then Strowman ate a boot to the face but he slammed Gunther down and went for the cover, only for Gunther to kick out. More chops were exchanged but Strowman knocked the Champ back down with a clothesline. He charged towards the corner but Gunther moved out of the way and he hit the turnbuckle. A clothesline and a dropkick followed and Gunther covered the challenger, but he kicked out.

Gunther went up top and hit the Splash into the cover, but Strowman kicked out. He went up top but Strowman followed. Gunther attacked the hurt arm again and got down, and then he hit a massive chop and slammed his fist into the post. Gunther then picked up Strowman and slammed him down into a cover, and he got the pin and the win. Gunther is still your Interconintental Champion.