Gunther Is Entertained By Malcolm Bivens, But Will Happily Slap Him

There is nothing fake about Imperium, and the group wants to remain true to themselves.

Ever since Imperium came together three years ago, they have been one of the most dominant factions in wrestling. Gunther (formerly known as WALTER) holds the longest reign with the NXT UK Championship, and Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel (now Ludwig Klaus) are two-time NXT Tag Team Champions.

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Speaking with Fightful's Sean Ross Sapp in what was their final interview together, the trio discussed a number of topics including their time in NXT and the transition to NXT 2.0.

Fabian Aichner explained that though a lot has changed, they remain authentic and that's why they still work in this vastly different landscape.

“It’s been a crazy journey, obviously. Things have changed a lot in the last five years. What speaks for us is that we’re authentic and that’s why it still works nowadays. It doesn’t matter if it’s NXT, NXT 2.0, RAW, SmackDown. It doesn’t matter where we go, I think we stay true to ourselves and we’re gonna keep doing that in the future. I’m looking forward to it," Aichner said.

Barthel added that Imperium is one of the few winners of the transition because it highlighted the amount of work they put in and the difference between them and everyone else.

“Absolutely. You hit the nail on the head. I can just say that. It’s been a crazy transition for all of us because when we first started is very different to now. I’m not even rating that, better or worse, but I just said before, Fabian and I have been here for three / four years before the 2.0 transition. I think we were one of the few winners of that transition. Because it actually showed how much work we put in. So many other guys coming in all of a sudden, the difference between them and us is very clear. I think we’re absolute winners of that transition. Keep going," Barthel said.

Gunther, the leader of the group, would detail the goals of the group, telling Fightful that they intend to continue representing what they stand for on the biggest stage possible.

“I think the goal for us is to represent what we stand for whenever we can on the biggest platform possible. I think that has always driven us. That won’t change. I think ten years ago we had the same beliefs of what we want to be as wrestlers or what we want to represent in this sport. We just stuck with that and it’s not gonna change. It’s gonna take us to places, for sure," he said.

Barthel added that fans can tell when something is fake and that what makes Imperium so special is their authenticity and passion.

“I think that’s what makes us special as well. It is authenticity. It is passion. I think stuff like that you can tell if it’s fake. People do realize if you’re playing something or you’re actually passionate about what you do. I can tell you we’re very happy to be here, but if you would have asked us ten years ago, ‘What do you want to do?’ We would have been just that. We want to travel, we want to wrestle, we want to be with our guys, people we trust and live what we always wanted to live—professional wrestling. That’s what we do," Barthel said.

Finishing up, Aichner praised his teammates, reiterating how lucky he is to be traveling the world and doing what he loves with his two best friends.

“Yeah, obviously, like if you can pick a career, then you couldn’t pick it any better. You have my two best friends here that we can travel the world with. We can do what we love and we make each other better every day. We work harder than anybody I believe. It all shows now because hard work always pays off in the end," he said.

The conversation would then move to Malcolm Bivens, who has taunted and smack-talked Gunther behind his back for years. The Diamond Mine leader is instant that Gunther is ducking him, a fact which the Austrian questions.

“Do you think so? Nah, I’m not sure if I do," Gunther said.

Luckily for Bivens, Gunther is not put off by the insults, admitting that he finds them amusing. That said, if Bivens wants to get slapped around a little, he's more than willing to accommodate.

“No. I find it quite entertaining actually. He’s a very entertaining guy. But yeah, if he wants a slap or two, he can let me know. We can make that happen actually," he added.

Barthel, on the other hand, is not aware of Bivens' actions or what is going on with him.

“Honestly lot of the stuff that’s going on, we don’t ever hear about. I have no idea what’s going on," he shared.

On the April 5 episode of NXT 2.0, Aichner inexplicably abandoned his partner during their match though no explanation was given. Just three days later, Gunther and Barthel made the move to SmackDown, debuting on the blue brand with the German sporting the new name of Ludwig Kaiser. Aichner, it appears, will remain in NXT for the time being.

Fightful provides live coverage of NXT 2.0 and SmackDown every Tuesday and Friday beginning at 8 p.m. ET.

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