It was announced during last night’s edition of NXT UK that Walter will defend the NXT UK Championship against Ilja Dragunov in three weeks time.
The match has been in the works since April 2, when Dragunov competed in and won a 20-Man Battle Royal to determine the number one contender to arguably the most prestigious prize in WWE today. At the culmination of that match, Dragunov last eliminated Tyler Bate.
Walter vs. Ilja Dragunov was mooted as a possible main event for NXT UK TakeOver: Dublin – the other option was Walter vs. Finn Balor – before the event was postponed due the COVID-19 pandemic. Now NXT UK is up and running again, we can finally have the pay-off to a rivalry six months in the making.
Fans were relieved to see that the storyline hadn’t been dropped upon NXT UK’s return with the inaugural episode of the re-launch opening on Dragunov’s thirst for the gold and ending with a staredown between champion and challenger.
The rivalry continued last week when the Russian came to the aid of Pete Dunne who was under attack from Imperium and will reach simmering point next week when Dragunov and Dunne team to battle Walter and Alexander Wolfe.
By the time the brand reaches its first major NXT UK Championship Match on October 29 since its return, Walter will have been champion 574 days – including the day of the bout – and closing in on Pete Dunne’s historic 685 days reign which the Austrian ended on April 5, 2019, at NXT TakeOver: New York.