Ilya Dragunov finally banished his demons and ended the longest championship in the modern WWE era. In a rematch that met expectations, The Mad Russian stopped. WALTER ruled NXT UK and inscribed his name in the history books.
Dragunov said he barely survived his first meeting with WALTER, a brutal fight that was one of the best matches of 2020 in the entire WWE. This war changed Dragunov, pursuing him as he tried to get past the Ring General and pursue his career. The ghost of WALTER loomed over him, the sound of the Austrian striking his chest echoing in his dreams.
While it seemed like a nightmare, in fact, Dragunov was being trained for NXT TakeOver 36.
The highly anticipated rematch began as a cat-and-mouse game where Dragunov used his agility to dodge WALTER and his crushing blows. But General Ringa is inevitable, and when he finally merged with him, Dragunov collapsed to the floor of the arena, where the champion threw his opponent into the ring apron.
But despite the dominance of WALTER, on this night Dragunov’s heart and resilience prevailed. When WALTER drove him into the canvas, Dragunov stood up. When the General of the Ring struck him, leaving bruises in the form of handprints on his chest, Dragunov stood up. When WALTER’s clothes lifted him in the air, Dragunov stood up.
And when Dragunov got up and absorbed the thunderous blow in the back, something woke up in The Crazy Russian. WALTER knew this, as for the first time in 870 days, the seemingly undefeated champion retreated from his opponent. Dragunov ran a dropkick, then a sentry, and then a Tornado Moscow into the back of WALTER’s head. And the champion’s second “Tornado Moscow” did not fall. In desperation, the General of the Ring unloaded his entire arsenal on Dragunov. Brutal punches and kicks, a splash of the top rope that earned him the title 870 days ago; nothing could suppress the staunch Russian.
At TakeOver 36, the roles have changed since their first meeting. Dragunov grabbed the same grip that WALTER used to drive him out, standing up and squeezing even tighter, leaving the once-invincible General of the Ring with no choice but to knock.
The emotions of this moment were pure and rough on Dragunov’s face, as he had been awarded a title that had dodged him for so long. When Dragunov raised the title high, he boldly put his boot on the chest of the fallen WALTER, making it clear that a new era had begun for NXT UK.