The first time Walter met Ilja Dragunov, the result was arguably the best match of 2020. It was a physical war that wouldn’t have looked out of place at any time, a brutal brawl featuring a dominant champion meeting a smaller but equally dangerous challenger.
They were given the chance to repeat that performance on a bigger stage at tonight’s (Sun., Aug. 22, 2021) NXT TakeOver 36 event from the Capitol Wrestling Center in Orlando, Florida. The NXT UK championship, a title Walter has held dating all the way back to April 5, 2019.
To that end, we got some of this:
But then some of this:
It helps matches like this that Walter is such a physical force to be reckoned with. At any moment, you see him do things like this:
That’s without even mentioning the slaps.
Dragunov, however, is such a compelling foil for Walter because he’s entirely willing to use his actual body as a weapon, just sprinting and shooting himself at Walter like a missile. The guy is an absolute animal, as Wade Barrett made sure to call out during the match, as he brilliantly sold Walter’s brutally rough offense before once again throwing himself back at the champion.
I mean look at this guy:
Dragunov just was relentless in his pursuit of victory, giving maximum effort at all times. He threw every single thing he had at Walter, beating him about the head with brutal blows, huge forearms to the back of the neck. He grabbed a sleeper hold and wrenched it deep and wouldn’t let go. When he was fought off, he would fight back and grab it again, and land another blow and grab it again.
Finally, mercifully, it was enough.
After 871 days, Walter is no longer the NXT UK champion.
Ilja Dragunov is.
Get complete NXT TakeOver 36 results and coverage of every match on the card right here.