One of modern wrestling’s most outspoken critics, Jim Cornette, has heaped praise on the much-talked about recent NXT UK clash between WALTER and Ilja Dragunov.
The match on last week’s broadcast of NXT UK received universal acclaim for its hard-hitting nature and realistic presentation, combined with the simple but effective storytelling of the dominant monster against the never-say-die underdog.
It was David vs Goliath at its finest.
According to sources, officials in WWE were said to be blown away by the bout, with Shawn Michaels personally thanking both WALTER and Dragunov for putting their bodies through so much punishment for the benefit and betterment of the brand.
Jim Cornette, who rarely has much positive to say about modern wrestling, was similarly effusive in his praise, describing the bout as a “masterpiece” while lamenting that this is what modern wrestling could have evolved into:
Just saw Walter vs. Ilya from @NXTUK . If you've been wondering, THIS is what pro wrestling could have "evolved" into had it not been commandeered by comedy writers and backyard cosplayers. A masterpiece of the true art of worked combat. Kudos to both.
— Jim Cornette (@TheJimCornette) November 2, 2020
Blimey. If you can convince JC then you can convince anybody!
As we reported earlier this week, the WALTER-Dragunov battle currently takes pride of place based on aggregate fan ratings on Cagematch as the best WWE match in history, surpassing the all-time classic between The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 25.
In fact, it is not the first time WALTER and Ilja have torn the house down. Far from it, actually.
Prior to the NXT UK match, fans of German promotion wXw were likely waiting with excited anticipation for the pair to meet again on the big stage, having contested a series of classic matches in 2017-18.
Their meeting in the final of the 2017 16 Carat Gold Tournament was the best match held on European soil that year and their rematch at Superstars of Wrestling ’18 (one of many) the following year was even better.
After the hugely positive response to the match, it would certainly not be a surprise to see WALTER and Ilja do battle again in the near future, or even for their rivalry to be moved up a level or two to NXT in the US or even the main roster down the line.