Gunther responds to rumours over whether WWE told him to lose weight

WWE star Gunther has responded to the rumours that Vince McMahon requested that he drop a significant amount of weight.

After a record-breaking 870 days as WWE NXT UK Champion, the Austrian sensation finally got his chance on the big stage. The wrestler exploded onto Friday Night SmackDown on April 8 and made mincemeat out of Joe Alonzo. Gunther looked extremely powerful. In addition, according to commentator Michael Cole, he “put the whole locker room on notice.”

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In the aftermath of his debut on the blue brand, the 34-year-old has continued to crush a conveyer belt of opponents. However, his tremendous showings haven’t come as a shock. Since his days with Imperium on NXT, the WWE Universe always knew he had the talent to compete at a high level.

But what has come as a shock to fans is his incredible body transformation.

Gunther told to lose weight by WWE?

The world’s premier wrestling company has built champions of all different shapes and sizes. It doesn’t matter if you’re as little as Rey Mysterio, a gym freak like Batista or as powerful as Mark Henry. There’s a place for you on the roster if you have talent. However, before his first SmackDown appearance, Gunther lost 30 pounds.

Furthermore, respected journalist Dave Meltzer revealed on Wrestling Observer Radio that the WWE star lost weight upon the request of the promotion’s chairman.

He said: “Yes, it probably is a size thing. Maybe an idea that they don’t have faith in Gunther as a singles guy yet. I think that, you know, he can be a top singles guy, although I think the loss of weight hurts him a lot.

“I know he was told, and he listened, unlike other people who thought that being big was really good and were told and didn’t listen and now is somewhere else, which is Keith Lee. I’m not beating around the bush on that.

“Vince wants slim people on TV. I could see from the Vince perspective, telling the guy, ‘Hey, drop 30 pounds,’ right? I thought what made him special was the idea that he’s a 290-310 pound guy who can fly around and can move and hits really hard and looks like a powerhouse. Now he’s just a 6 ft 3 guy.”

Gunther denies the allegations

However, despite Meltzer’s comments, the wrestler has claimed that the choice to lose the weight fell entirely on his own shoulders.

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In an interview with Sport1, he said: “It was completely my own initiative. For me, it was quite clear — if I want to take the next big step, I have to present more for the general public.

“Personally, I’ve always been a big fan of old-school Japanese wrestlers who still had a belly and looked like you’d imagine a butcher. Emulating such idols worked for me also because up to now, I’ve been there for the, let’s call it, hardcore wrestling audience.

“In the WWE main roster, however, the conditions are different. You are on a global stage, in the mainstream. From my point of view, you have to present yourself differently.

Read: Before and after pictures show WWE star’s Gunther’s extraordinary weight loss

“And I prepared well for that in the months leading up to my move to the USA. […] Honestly, no one can tell me that anyone who happens to turn on the TV wouldn’t think I was better and more believable the way I looked before than I do now.”

Featured Image Credit: Instagram / Gunther