WWE Superstar who ended Gunther's record-breaking title reign says the "right people" trusted him
Gunther has only been pinned twice in his WWE career. Meanwhile, Ilja Dragunov is the only man to submit The Ring General. The NXT star believes the right people trusted him and gave him a go.
Ilja has been working in the wrestling industry for over a decade. He joined NXT UK in 2019, and the company started giving him good bookings soon after. He ended Gunther’s incredible record-breaking 870-day NXT UK Title reign at TakeOver: New York.
In an interview with Under the Ring, the Russian grappler spoke about his experience in this wrestling journey and the freedom to succeed and fail under his merit and direction.
"I think I've improved a lot," Dragunov said. "This whole business is about the journey and about experience. And experience is something you can't buy, you can't learn, you've just got to make it. And this whole time, I was able to learn so many things. I was able to progress at so many levels, first of all, because of the trust that the right people always put into me.”
He added that he has had the freedom to do things his way, allowing him to become the person he is on-screen in WWE today.
"I always felt very free to do things my way, and other people responded to this, other people reacted to this, how much freedom they gave to me to just be myself, and to use strength to develop my character, to develop myself, to develop my performances. It was a beautiful time, it was a time with a lot hard work put in. I'm happy about every moment I got, and I learned so much. And only through this time, in this company, I became the person I am today, and I'm very, very proud of this person," Gunther’s rival added. [H/T Wrestling Inc]
The WWE has put much weight behind The Mad Dragon over the past couple of years. He has chalked up some big wins to remain a top star in NXT.
Ilja Dragunov’s stock increased after he defeated Gunther for the WWE NXT UK Championship
The Ring General has only been pinned by two men in WWE - Drew McIntyre and Bron Breakker. However, the thought of seeing the Imperium leader tap out seems outrageous. Ilja Dragunov is the only man who has submitted the massive superstar in a one-on-one contest.
Dragunov was the first man to defeat Gunther in WWE. After failing to beat him at an earlier event, he challenged the Imperium leader to a match for the NXT UK Championship at TakeOver 36.
The build-up to the match was massive, and Dragunov did the unthinkable by submitting Gunther in a one-on-one match for the first time in WWE. It was an incredible rivalry that saw both men perform phenomenally before The Mad Dragon finally won the title.
The two title matches between the former NXT UK Superstars have been rated in the top 3 best WWE matches of all time, according to CageMatch. They put on two incredible matches on the trot to give fans something to remember.
Fans want to see Ilja move to the main roster and challenge Gunther for the Intercontinental Championship soon. He is one of the only men who could dethrone The Ring General, and the match could occur at WrestleMania 40.
Do you want to see Ilja Dragunov vs. Gunther at WrestleMania 40? Sound off in the comments section below.