Ilja Dragunov talked about not being a fan of gimmick matches during a recent interview with Fightful.
The WWE NXT World Champion prefers traditional wrestling instead of relying on gimmicks. He said,
“I must say, first of all, I’m not the biggest fan of those kind of matches. Because, like you said, I consider my fists, my legs, everything, my body as a whole as my major weapon, you could say so. They’re the things I like to use majorly. I really only can say that I entirely enjoyed it. I have a high pain resistance. There’s nothing that can easily really bring me down to, ‘Oh, this is something I can’t take.’ So that barely ever happens. Especially this match, it just brought another layer to everything. I think this match especially was a great one in the case of the story that led up to this match and make it reasonable, make it suspenseful. I think, especially certain moments in this match, I felt some moments for the next four weeks. They really made some people, when I re-watched it, really feel uncomfortable. I think that’s the purpose of this match, the purpose of the story. So I really like to remember this performance.“
This past Saturday at WWE NXT: No Mercy 2023, Dragunov became the NXT Champion by defeating Carmelo Hayes.