At NXT TakeOver: 36, WALTER and Ilja Dragunov went to war.
Their bout for the NXT United Kingdom Championship was one of the most highly anticipated matches in all of professional wrestling.
The pair first met for the title back in October 2020 in a match that received praise across the board. The hard-hitting, brutal encounter was heralded as an instant classic and awarded a five star rating by Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer.
The twice postponed rematch followed much the same pattern as the first clash.
The chops and strikes reigned down from both Superstars, and they were quickly sporting the scars of their own private war. For large periods, the match could have been fought in the proverbial phonebooth. The two men standing toe-to-toe trading chops, punches and everything in between.
If Dragunov took WALTER to the limit in October, he took him beyond it the second time around. The Russian hit Torpedo Moscow twice to no avail before connecting with a stunning Superplex.
With the entire crowd on their feet the match finally came to it’s shockingly brutal conclusion. Dragunov, firing in a series of elbow and forearm strikes before locking in a Sleeper hold. WALTER climbed the ropes and fell backwards in an effort to break the hold, but the challenger was not to be denied. Dragunov laid in more stiff strikes before locking in the Sleeper once more forcing WALTER to submit.
Prior to being defeated, WALTER had held the NXT United Kingdom Championship for 871 days.
In the days following the bout, it has now become the highest rated WWE match ever on cagematch.net.
The match is currently rated as the 21st greatest match of all-time with a rating of 9.69. The pair’s clash from October sits at number 37, with a rating of 9.64.
The Undertaker’s clash with Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 25 is the second highest ranked WWE match, while CM Punk vs. John Cena from Money In The Bank 2011 is third.