NXT Superstar goes through name change before GUNTHER's debut on SmackDown 

The former NXT UK Champion has officially debuted on the main roster.
The former NXT UK Champion has officially debuted on the main roster.
Matthew Serocki

After a successful career in NXT UK and NXT, GUNTHER made his main roster debut on the SmackDown after WrestleMania. The big man was introduced by Ludwig Kaiser, formerly known as Marcel Barthel, in the developmental brand.

In NXT, both GUNTHER and Kaiser were a part of the Imperium faction, but the group broke up on the latest episode of the show. Fabian Aichner deserted Kaiser in the middle of the ring during a match against the Creeds on Tuesday's NXT.

.@Gunther_AUT & Ludwig Kaiser have arrived on #SmackDown!

Instead of facing an established star of the blue brand, GUNTHER made quick work of local competitor Joe Alonzo. He hit several of his signature chops and a big boot before putting Alonzo away.

The name change for Barthel is another in the line of alterations once stars move from NXT to the main roster. Shotzi Blackheart had the Blackheart part of her name dropped last year.

GUNTHER's name hasn't changed since it was recently switched from WALTER. The duo's theme was also tweaked for the main-roster debut.

GUNTHER and Kaiser are the newest male stars to join SmackDown

Before WrestleMania 38, Pete Dunne joined SmackDown under the new name Butch. He allied himself with Sheamus and Ridge Holland against The New Day.

As a member of NXT UK, GUNTHER was a dominant Champion. He moved to NXT and defeated LA Knight in a singles match at Stand & Deliver. Barthel and Aichner lost the NXT Tag Team titles to MSK in a triple threat match at the same event.


Imperium had been together for several years before the recent dissolution. Aichner is still a part of NXT, and it remains to be seen whether he will move forward as a singles star. As for GUNTHER and Kaiser, it will be interesting to see how they are booked on SmackDown in the months to come.

Who do you think will be the next NXT star to debut on the main roster? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Edited by Debottam Saha


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