How WWE Will Decide GUNTHER's Next Title Challenger

The winner of the upcoming "SmackDown" World Cup will receive a future shot at GUNTHER's Intercontinental Title, WWE announced through a promo hyping the tournament on the 11/7 episode of "WWE Raw."

Although the announcers confirmed the tourney will feature eight WWE Superstars, the participants have yet to be named, and it's unknown if the Santos Escobar vs. Shinsuke Nakamura match on Friday's "WWE SmackDown" will be a first-round match in the World Cup. It was previously assumed that Escobar (Mexico) and Nakamura (Japan) will be among the global Superstars to participate in the tourney. Some of the other international wrestlers on the Blue Brand include Drew McIntyre (Scotland), Sheamus (Republic of Ireland), Butch (England), Sami Zayn (Canada), mån.sôör (Saudi Arabia) and Giovanni Vinci (Italy). It is likely there will also be U.S. representation in the 8-man tournament, with the likes of Braun Strowman, LA Knight, or Ricochet wrestling an international Superstar.


While it's unknown if WWE has similar plans for a "Raw" World Cup, WWE Chief Content Officer Triple H recently confirmed plans to introduce several "World Cup-type scenarios" on WWE programming going forward. Triple H also hinted at "NXT," the soon-to-be-launched "NXT Europe" and WWE's main roster brands competing against each other in crossover scenarios, with the idea of global Superstars representing various nationalities. There is also the possibility that the World Cup is being held exclusively for the "SmackDown" brand due to the upcoming FIFA World Cup airing on the FOX Sports network

Besides Escobar vs. Nakamura in a possible "SmackDown" World Cup match, The New Day vs. The Usos for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Titles is confirmed for the 11/11 episode of "SmackDown." The latter match could have historic implications with The Usos on the brink of surpassing The New Day's record as the longest-reigning WWE Tag Team Champions in history.