Ilja Dragunov Reflects on Past Bouts with IC Champion GUNTHER

European titans recount their iconic wrestling showdowns.

by Atia Mukhtar
Ilja Dragunov Reflects on Past Bouts with IC Champion GUNTHER
© WWE/YouTube

In a candid discussion on the popular "Busted Open Radio," WWE NXT's luminary, Ilja Dragunov, delved deep into his rich wrestling history with the renowned Intercontinental Champion, GUNTHER. The episode provided an insight into their legendary battles and the rapport shared between the two wrestling titans.

"Facing GUNTHER, it's like I am reborn," Dragunov expressed, highlighting the intense rivalry. "He pushes me to the brink, where I'm faced with immense suffering and pain. Yet, it's in these intense moments, akin to a phoenix, I find the strength to rise from my ashes, showcasing my very best."

Legends of European Rivalry

Both GUNTHER and Dragunov aren’t strangers to each other's wrestling prowess.

Their battles on European soil, especially during their tenure at Germany's Westside Xtreme Wrestling (wXw), are etched in wrestling folklore. Their legendary bout in August 2021 during "NXT" TakeOver 36 stands out, where Dragunov emerged victorious, snapping GUNTHER's impressive streak of over 800 days as the reigning champion.

Reflecting on that moment, Dragunov mentioned how pivotal that win was, marking a defining point in his WWE journey. Not to mention, Dragunov didn't shy away from praising GUNTHER's signature chops, referring to them as "simply incredible." The Russian star is currently riding a wave of momentum.

On the recent episode of "WWE NXT," Dragunov outwrestled Wes Lee, clinching his spot as the number one contender for the coveted "NXT" Championship. This victory has set the stage for an exciting encounter with the current "NXT" Champion, Carmelo Hayes, at the forthcoming "NXT" premium live event, No Mercy, scheduled for September 30. With such a trajectory, wrestling enthusiasts are gearing up for another thrilling chapter in Dragunov's WWE story.

Ilja Dragunov Gunther