NXT UK gives us a closer look at the long-awaited championship match!
With NXT UK making a triumphant return on September 17th, it might finally be time! Relive to what has led to WALTER VS DRAGUNOV!
- 3/7/20 – Walter VS Ridge Holland; Walter wins.
- 4/2/20 – NXT UK Championship #1 Contender’s Battle Royal: Ilja Dragunov wins and will challenge Walter for the title.
PLAY BY PLAY
Andy Shepherd welcomes us back to the show!
The news that broke at TakeOver: XXX is that we’re coming back with new in-ring action! 9/17/20 at the BT Sports Studio arena in London! The landscape of this brand (and its brand new set) will be the focus. To get everyone up to speed, here is a never before seen match featuring Walter!
Walter VS Ridge Holland!
The Ring General and the Yorkshire Grit went head to head in March before everything had to close down, and now the action finally sees the light of day! With Holland now in American NXT, what happened in what was essentially his send-off match?
The bell rings and the two titans circle. They tie up, are in a bit of a deadlock, but Walter gets Holland to a corner. The ref counts, Walter lets up but Holland dodges the chop to club Walter! Holland eggs Walter on, Walter chops and Holland forearms back and forth! Walter kicks, headlocks but Holland powers out, and the two collide with shoulders. Neither falls so Walter kicks and runs again, but again they collide and Holland stays up! Holland runs and rams Walter but he stay sup. Holland rams again and again but Walter clubs Holland at ropes. Walter whips, Holland reverses, and Holland scoop slams Walter! Walter bails out of the ring as the fans fire up. Holland goes after Walter, clubs and European Uppercuts him around the way, but Walter CHOPS back!
Walter brings Holland over for an apron back suplex! Walter gets back in, Holland throws hands! Walter hits back, then CHOPS again! Walter snapmares Holland into a chinlock, Holland fights against it, but Walter keeps smothering him with shifting hands. Walter stands, wrenches Holland to a high keylock, but Holland fights up. Holland powers back, they knuckle lock for a test of strength and go shoulder to shoulder. Walter kicks and bends Holland back but Holland bridges! But Walter STOMPS him in the neck and CRANKS the head! Then Walter CRANKS the arm! Holland gets to a corner but Walter CLUBS him. Walter stalks Holland, Holland kicks and punches back but Walter ROCKS him with a right.
Walter drags Holland back up, scoops and slams him now! Walter poses, the fans cheer, and now Walter toys with Holland. Holland hits back, eggs Walter on, and Walter CHOPS! Holland just wants more! Walter CHOPS, wrenches and shoulder breakers to another CHOP! Holland drops to a knee, fans want “One More Time!” Walter wrenches, but Holland wrenches back to club away with clotheslines. Holland runs into a hard kick, but stays up to clothesline back! Holland runs, Walter CHOPS him! Holland still LARIATS back!! Both men are down and the fans are loving the “Big Lads Wrestling!” Walter gets to a corner, Holland walks over but into a boot. But then Holland BACK DROPS Walter! Holland throws big forearms, Walter shoves and CHOPS again!
Walter wraps on the sleeper hold! But Holland endures, powers up, and lifts Walter in a TORTURE RACK! Holland can’t hold Walter up forever, Walter choke grips, but Holland breaks free and OVERHEAD SUPLEXES Walter! Holland hurries to the cover, TWO! Both men are down, fans are dueling and Walter gets to a corner. Holland urns in to clothesline, but Walter comes back to SHOTGUN DROPKICK! Walter reels Holland in, Holland resists the bomb to Alabama lift! Walter fights off and kicks back! He reels Holland in, Holland powers up again but Walter grabs ropes! Walter clubs Holland but Holland clubs the leg! Holland gets Walter in position for POWERBOMB! The fans are fired up with Holland as he scoops and DRIVERS! Cover, TWO!!
Holland keeps his cool as he gets to his feet. The fans are loving this as Holland brings Walter up. Holland headbutts, but Walter blocks the punch to URENAGE! Cover, TWO!! Walter keeps his cool as he gets up and kicks Holland while he’s down. Holland gets to a corner, Walter kicks him to the apron. Walter drags Holland up against the ropes and CLUBS him in the chest! And again! And again, but Holland catches the arm! Holland ROCKS Walter, and then gives him the CLUBBING! Walter flops down and the fans are loving this! The ref checks on Walter but out comes Alexander Wolfe! Imperium’s foot soldier goes after Holland but Holland headbutts him down! Holland gets in, Walter BOOTS him and brings him around to LARIAT! Cover, Walter wins!
Winner: Walter, by pinfall
It was that close for the Yorkshire Grit! Wolfe needed to help his Ring General, how does this keep the mat sacred? Will Holland one day return to NXT UK to give Walter another fight of his life?
Members of NXT share their thoughts on Walter.
To NXT General Manager, William Regal, “Walter is that unstoppable force that everybody should be scared of.” The first thing Drew McIntyre thought seeing Walter in wXw was, “Who is that guy? Why don’t I know more about him?” Adam Cole says Walter is not only one of the biggest guys he’s seen, but one of the strongest and hardest hitting. Regal says Walter can just maul people, “like a frenzied lion attack.” McIntyre liked that chop fight at Survivor Series 2019. Cole says that chop is one of the most devastating things you can ever feel. “It almost feels like the soul is leaving your body.”
Timothy Thatcher knows Walter is “tough, brutal, violent, holds professional wrestling very dear to his heart.” Imperium follows Walter in keeping those old ways. You may not like them, but they do that. Walter is a fighting champion. Cole says Walter is on another level. McIntyre says Walter dictates the pace as a true general. Thatcher says all this time off for training, no one has a chance against Walter. It will be a very tall order to take that title from him.
NXT UK’s Tag Division is Gallus!
Mark Coffey and Wolfgang took these titles in Blackpool and have held onto them with iron fists. But with so many teams primed and ready, we can only guess as to who will be next. South Wales Subculture is back on the mend, and they believe that the bigger they are, the harder they #FallToPieces. Ashton Smith and Oliver Carter are finding their groove, and they don’t care who have the titles now, they vow to have them next. Pretty Deadly hears Gallus Boys on Top, but it should be these two tasty snacks. Amir Jordan and Kenny Williams are back, ready to take their chance and take those titles! Imperium’s Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner say it is only a matter of time until they have all the gold. The Hunt is hungry, and everyone else is the prey! All of this is about to be unleashed once NXT UK is back on the road!
NXT UK shifts focus from champion to challenger.
“Ilja Dragunov has risen from the independent scene to being an NXT UK superstar in double quick time.” But we haven’t had a chance to get close to the man himself, until now.
UNBESIEGBAR: The Ilja Dragunov Story.
“I was five years old when my mother, me and parts of my family moved from Russia to Germany. It was the breakdown of the Soviet Union. The criminality was very high at this point of time, and a good life in Russia wasn’t possible anymore.” They left home with the hopes of a better life. Dragunov was a child so it was different for him than his mother. His mother was a teacher, but her degree in Russia wouldn’t be accepted in Germany. She needed a different job, had to start over in her studies, barely got any sleep, and still did that all while raising him. She had no option to stop, because then there would be no future. So if you want to talk role models, Dragunov’s mother is his biggest one.
“For a very long time in Germany, everything was so difficult for me.” It was so confusing, he just didn’t fit in. He didn’t know the language so kids didn’t play with him. And when it came to school, his mother wanted him to get a degree because that would mean a better future, but he was still confused. There was nowhere for him to express himself. He was an outsider. They didn’t have a lot of money, they had to watch every penny, and couldn’t have all the same things others did. They visited an immigration house, where many families from many other countries stayed until they had a place of their own. Dragunov saw a trash can and sour cream Pringles. He took them and ate them from the trash can. Regardless of his sick stomach, it was his first taste of a better life. It was the taste of hope that this was all worth it.
Dragunov takes us to a place close to his childhood home. He was 10 when he was walking back from his aunt’s, and there were people at the playground. A group of teenagers beat him up, and told him that they knew he was Russian. They wanted him to leave Germany. If he doesn’t, his family would be next. It was the most afraid he’d ever been in his life. It is the foundation of Unbesiegbar, because he never wanted to feel that way again. “It doesn’t matter how this area looks, I still love this area.” He learned about simplicity. That it doesn’t matter who you are or where you live, it’s about your will to succeed. You might not be able to change this place, but you can think bigger, go for something and overcome how others treat you. “I will find a better life.”
Dragunov felt every single one of those 17 years in Germany, that he never fit in anywhere. He was always different. People kept telling him he was different, not in a positive way, but he used that as motivation. There were things he could never express, until he found pro-wrestling. As he expressed himself in the ring, everyone felt it. Wrestling became a home. Everything he could rely on in the ring was how he was different and unique. “I am real in this ring. This is what I feel.” The energy that flows from him is real. He celebrates with his orchestra music. He celebrates life there, and celebrates that his life wasn’t easy. But it brought him here, it brought him his intensity, and so he celebrates for those who felt the same. “You can beat us down, but you can’t beat our heart.” Unbesiegbar now, then, forever.
NXT UK has a HUGE announcement next week!
This news will have a lot to do about the future of the brand! What will it be? And at the same time, there will be focus on the NXT UK Women’s Division, Kay Lee Ray’s reign, and who is next for the Scary Queen of Scots!
NXT UK hears from Walter.
Walter knows Ilja Dragunov is next to challenge for his championship. “We both grew up in the same system. We share history together. And I respect Ilja a lot.” Ilja has principles and passion like Walter. But to be honest, everyone put in front of Walter was a “great competitor.” Trent Seven, Tyler Bate, Pete Dunne, were all great. But Walter is sure facing Ilja is in for the greatest fight of his career! Walter claims he made Ilja in the indies, and now vows to destroy him in NXT UK! “And one thing will never change. That is me being the NXT UK Champion, and being the one that got chosen to protect and restore the honor of this great sport.”
NXT UK shares highlights from the #1 Contender’s Battle Royal.
Twenty of the brightest, most deserving stars in the brand battled in an over-the-top-rope elimination match that had so much intensity, it was truly worthy of crowning Walter’s challenger. Kassius Ohno, Kenny Williams, Flash Morgan Webster, Saxton Huxley, Tyson T-Bone, Travis Banks, Amir Jordan, Ashton Smith, Oliver Carter, El Ligero, Ridge Holland, Trent Seven, A-Kid, Noam Dar, Jordan Devlin, and even Dave Mastiff were eliminated, and now we jump in with our Final Four!
NXT UK Championship #1 Contender’s Battle Royal!
Alexander Wolfe, Ilja Dragunov, Joe Coffey and Tyler Bate all glare at each other. Fans are strongly behind Bate the “Big Strong Boy” but also taunt Dar with “Hey hey hey! Good-bye~!” Ilja, Wolfe, Coffey and Bate all stand. Everyone takes a fighting stance, and it fires off! Bate brawls with Coffey, Ilja brawls with Wolfe, the two brawls collide and then they trade partners! Ilja now brawls with Bate and Wolfe is after Coffey! Then they trade again, so that Coffey brawls with Ilja and Wolfe brawls with Bate! Fans are loving “NXT! NXT!” as Wolfe backs Bate into a corner. Coffey gets Ilja with underhooks, for a butterfly swing! Coffey goes around and around but stops to catch his breath.
Wolfe runs at Coffey but Coffey back drops Wolfe! And then Coffey spins and swings Ilja more! Coffey then butterfly SUPLEXES Ilja! Bate gets Coffey but can’t spin before Coffey slips out. Coffey shoves then denies the rebound lariat. Coffey corner splashes Bate then runs corner to corner, only to miss. Bate runs in but into an elbow. Coffey goes up, up and crossbodies! Coffey pop-up uppercuts Ilja! He shouts “This is MY Kingdom!” before giving BOTH Ilja and Bate the Glasgow Sendoff spear! Coffey has Ilja up but Wolfe dropkicks Coffey in the back! Wolfe pushes Coffey to the apron then throws big hayamkers! The enziguri ROCKS Coffey but Coffey holds on with one hand! Wolfe throws Ilja AT Coffey, and ELIMINATES him!
Bate stands back up and goes after Wolfe with Ilja! They club away but Wolfe hits back. Ilja kicks, Bate forearms, but Wolfe ducks the enziguri and it hits Bate! Ilja keeps after Wolfe but Wolfe kicks for a DDT! Wolfe runs at Bate but Bate boots and knees back! Bate leaps, into a waistlock! Wolfe German Suplexes but Bate lands on his feet! Wolfe dodges the rolling kick to BOOT Bate down! He drags Bate up for a HIGH ANGLE GERMAN! Imperium’s insurance policy is in control as he drags Bate up. Wolfe has the fireman’s carry and heads for ropes! Bate rebounds off, dodges the boot to rebound LARIAT! Wolfe flounders, Ilja clotheslines and ELIMINATES Wolfe! The final two are the Big Strong Boy and the Moscow Madman!
Fans are thunderous for “NXT! NXT!” as the two stare down. Ilja fires himself up as he rushes Bate. Bate puts Bop up but Ilja CHOPS Bate down! Ilja isn’t fooled by those tricks! Ilja runs but into Bate’s boot! Bate runs but Ilja blocks the clothesline to knuckle lock. Ilja CHOPS Bate over and over and over against the ropes! Ilja kicks and knees Bate over and over, but Bate blocks one! Bate lifts but Ilja holds on. Ilja steps through, Bop up, BANG HITS! Seems Ilja does fall for some tricks. Fans fire up as both men are down but stirring. Bate stands first and drags Ilja up. Bate whips, Ilja reverses and hits an ax handle. Ilja runs but leaps into Bate’s arms! Ilja fights and flails as Bate heads for ropes. Bate adjusts his grip, for an EXPLODER! And a kip up! Bate hits the standing shooting star!
Ilja rises but looks punch drunk. Bate drags Ilja up to fireman’s carry, and heads for ropes. Ilja slips out, misses one clothesline but CLOBBERS Bate with the other! Ilja flounders up and brings Bate up, to throw him at ropes. Bate rebounds to LARIAT again! Bate throws Ilja but Ilja 6-1-LINES! Coventry is at a fever pitch for “NXT! NXT!” “This is Awesome!” but far from over as both Bate and Ilja rise again. Ilja checks his jaw while Bate gasps for air. Ilja and Bate brawl on their knees, then move up to their feet. They keep throwing big hands and forearms and even pick up speed! Bate fires off fast hands up and down, but Ilja enziguris back! Ilja drags Bate back up to fireman’s carry. Bate grabs ropes as Ilja runs to the corner.
Ilja sets Bate on the apron but Bate hits back. Bate drags Ilja up but Ilja lands on the opposite side of the corner. Ilja CHOPS Bate, but Bate holds on! Ilja CHOPS again but Bate punches back. Bate climbs up and still wants that insane superplex! Bate drags Ilja to the top but then adjusts, and Ilja SUPER GOURD BUSTERS Bate down! Ilja adjusts, wobbles and leaps, SUPER SENTON!! Fans fire up with Ilja again, “UN! BE! SIEG! BAR!!” But Bate’s rolling kick takes Ilja down! Bate drags Ilja up, underhooks, but no Tyler Driver as Ilja dumps Bate out! Bate holds onto the rope with one hand! Ilja runs over as Bate skins the cat, TORPEDO MOSCOW!! Ilja WINS!!
Winner: Ilja Dragunov (NEW #1 Contender to the NXT United Kingdom Championship)
The furious fighter finishes off the field and is now blazing a trail to the title! Will Ilja go from Unbesiegbar to Nash Chempion (Our Champion)?
A great episode with a lot of great new material for also technically being a retrospective. I was hoping we were going to get a Holland VS Walter match at some point, and it turns out it happened! It was a great match, and the term #BigLadsWrestling should definitely be what we call it. Just two massive men in a slug fest! I actually do like the detail of Wolfe needing to help, it makes Holland look really strong. Whether Holland sticks around in NXT USA or returns to NXT UK, I really hope we get more great things for Holland. The tag team promo vid was great, I hope the return on 9/17/20 gives us a huge tag team match to name contenders. I also hope we’re getting something similar with that NXT UK Women’s Division news.
The documentary style profile on Dragunov was incredible. It really got me emotionally speaking to know Dragunov and family went through all of that. It is inspiring to know he’s made it here through wrestling, and it would be so incredible if he is the one to dethrone Walter. I have a feeling the huge announcement about NXT UK’s future is to give us some pseudo-TakeOver event that makes up for missing out on TakeOver: Dublin, and will give us Ilja’s crowning moment. That’d be such an amazing way for NXT UK to return as things slowly but surely start moving again.
My Score: 8.6/10
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