Marcel Barthel is a 31-year-old German professional wrestler. He is currently signed to the WWE and performs on SmackDown under the ring name, Ludwig Klaus.
Barthel, who was known as Axel Dieter Jr., made his professional wrestling debut in January 2009 for Westside Xtreme Wrestling in a losing match to Dan Marshall. Barthel’s next match for Westside Xtreme Wrestling wasn’t until July 2012. He teamed with Da Mack and defeated Walter and Michael Isotov.
Barthel’s Early Wrestling Career
Barthel and Da Mack continued their tag team partnership and called themselves “Hot And Spicy.” Hot and Spicy defeated The Autsiders (Walter and Robert Dreissker) to win the wXw World Tag Team Championship on November 6, 2013. The team went on to make several successful title defenses but eventually lost them to Matt Striker and Trent on March 15, 2014. They regained the titles a day later in a rematch. Hot and Spicy’s reign lasted until October 2014 when they were defeated by French Flavour (Lucas Di Leo and Peter Fischer).
In February 2015, Barthel took part in the Four Nations Cup, defeating Timothy Thatcher in the final to win the tournament. The next month, he competed in the 16 Carat Gold tournament defeating Zack Saber Jr. in the semi-final but lost to Tommy End in the final.
After a short break, Hot And Spicy teamed together once again, taking part in the 2015 World Tag Team Tournament. They made it to the semi-finals where they were defeated by reDRAGON (Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly).
In late 2016, Barthel joined Ringkampf, and on December 10th, he defeated Marty Scurll to win the wXw Unified World Wrestling Title. He held the championship until March 2017, when he was defeated by Jurn Simmons.
In January 2017, Barthel debuted for Progress Wrestling in the United Kingdom alongside Walter in a winning effort against The London Riots (James Davis and Rob Lynch). Barthel and Walter lost to The South Pacific Power Trip the following week but picked up a win on March 19 over the Hunter Brothers.
Marcel Barthel’s WWE Debut
Barthel left wXw in 2017 and rumours began circulating that he had signed with the WWE. Under the ring name, Marcel Barthel, he debuted for WWE’s developmental territory, NXT, in June 2017, losing to Roderick Strong in a live match. Barthel made his NXT television debut in August 2018 in a losing match to Keith Lee.
In December 2018 Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner created a tag team known as the European Union. Eventually they joined WALTER and Alexander Wolfe to form Imperium.
In May 2020, Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner won the NXT Tag Team Championships from Matt Riddle and Timothy Thatcher on an episode of NXT. On August 26, 2020, they lost the titles to Breezango (Fandango and Tyler Breeze).
Imperium’s Second Tag Team Championship Win
At NXT 2.0’s Halloween Havoc in October 2021, Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner defeated MSK in a Lumberjack O’Lantern Match to win the NXT Tag Team Championships for a second time. They successfully defended their titles against Kyle O’Reilly and Von Wagner on December 5th at NXT WarGames
At NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver, Imperium lost the NXT Tag Team titles in a triple threat match against The Creed Brothers and MSK (the winners).
Barthel Moves to SmackDown & Debuts New Ring Name
Marcel Barthel was drafted to WWE’s main roster and made his SmackDown debut on April 9th 2022 with the ring name, Ludwig Klaus. He made his debut alongside Gunther and accompanied him to ringside.SHOW LESS
Ludwig Klaus’ Photos
Career Championships and Accomplishments
- European Wrestling Promotion
- EWP Tag Team Championship (1 time)
- Great Bear Promotions
- Great Bear Grand Championship (1 time)
- German Stampede Wrestling
- GSW Tag Team Championship (1 time)
- Nordic Championship Wrestling
- NFC First Fighter Championship (1 time)
- International NCW Cruiserweight Championship (1 time)
- First Fighter Tournament (2010)
- Pro Wrestling Fighters
- PWF North-European Championship (1 time)
- Westside Xtreme Wrestling
- wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship (1 time)
- wXw World Tag Team Championship (2 times)
- Mitteldeutschland Cup (2014)
- Four Nations Cup (2015)
- World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)
- NXT Tag Team Championship (2 times)