Ilja Dragunov Comments On His History With WALTER, NXT UK, More

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During a recent interview with Inside the Ropes, Ilja Dragunov commented on his history with WALTER, working for NXT UK, and more. You can check out some highlights from the interview below:

On his history with WALTER: “I think he may have made a lot of my life, like, as a wrestler. He made me completely because every time we fought, it was like you had to really work for something, so much fight for something, I think it’s like WALTER and I fighting was meant to be, it’s like we need to fight each other. And we recognised it very early, back in 2017, there was electricity when we both stepped into the ring. We had no choice but to just go at it. I think this is something very unique, if you are able as a performer, to go ridiculously into this with all the energy and all the intensity you have. And this happens all the time with us. He has also this intensity, which is completely different to mine, but because of that, we are very similar because we just hit each other like a lightning strike. And that’s something that people feel when we face each other.”

On how he kept his focus in the pandemic-forced wait for the match: “I don’t need to do anything to keep my focus. My focus is always alive. This is like my intensity in the ring. I always have it. I always have this fire inside of me. And I especially felt it when this whole thing started with the pandemic, like it wasn’t an easy situation for us all. It was very hard for a lot of people and a lot of people showed a lot of strength during this situation. I can say, I need to put strength into this and I saw the positive side and on the one hand, I can’t wrestle, we can’t do anything. But on the other hand, I can spend so much great, fulfilling time with my family just to recover, just to get my my head straight and also to put in a lot of preparation, like I worked out like five days a week straight, three and a half hours, just increased my training routine just to be as prepared, as intense as focused as I could be, to come back and to go with everything I have into this chance.”

On his match with Cesaro at NXT UK Takeover: Cardiff: “My first memory of this was when I found out I was going to face him, I had the feeling, “OK, that’s the biggest sign of respect I can get,” because if the company gives a lot of trust in me, I’m definitely going to make the best out of it. It was a stepping stone for me, of course, because people wait for the chance to show what they truly are about. And I think it was like this was a very good impression for the people of what I am all about, especially against a world class competitor like Cesaro is.”


On who he’d like to face from WWE outside of NXT UK: “I always think about the perfect scenario and not like just match-wise, dream match-wise, I think about something which is so special because nobody would think about this before, which could be like very unique and very unpredictable. I think like a character as unique and special as Ilja Dragunov is what appeals to me, so for that reason I think it would be very special to face Bray Wyatt. It would be very special in a lot of ways that I think nobody would ever see it coming.”


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