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Did WWE do the right thing by breaking Ilja Dragunov's NXT character?

Published at :June 13, 2024 at 4:47 PM
Modified at :June 13, 2024 at 4:47 PM
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(Courtesy : WWE)

Nik O'Connor


Ilja Dragunov was always seen as a formidable force of nature during his run in NXT.

WWE RAW made a spectacular selection in the WWE Draft 2024 by adding the hard-hitter Ilja Dragunov to their roster. The Mad Dragon began his stint in WWE NXT UK a few years ago, which saw him make a huge impression in that developmental territory, notably against opponents like Gunther.

Following that, Ilja Dragunov moved to WWE NXT in Florida to test his mantle against the competition in the Black and Gold brand. This led to a major run in WWE’s main developmental home and even saw his impressive run as the dominant NXT Champion.

All his past accomplishments made him a hot prospect for Monday Night RAW to pick him for their roster. Moreover, he got an impressive start as part of the WWE King of the Ring tournament last month, scoring an impressive win over Ricochet. That seemed to mean he would be poised for a monster push on the main roster, much like it happened in NXT.

Ilja Dragunov is a dragon, not a dragonfly

However, since his first victory, Dragunov’s character has experienced a downward spiral. This began with Ilja being knocked out of the King of the Ring tournament by Jey Uso, despite being a heavy favorite to win the entire tournament.

Furthermore, while many had expected him to be positioned in a major feud, he was paired with a mid-card talent like Ricochet, who is already on his way out of WWE after choosing not to renew his contract, making no sense for the storyline. Recently, he was involved in a huge physical encounter with another top RAW prospect, Bron Breakker.

Despite delivering a hard-hitting bout, Ilja Dragunov ultimately fell short of picking up the win over The Wolf Dog. Moreover, his vulnerabilities were shown as Breaker tried to launch multiple post-match attacks on Dragunov, but they were intercepted by Ricochet, who took the beatings for him.

While this could be a strategic move by WWE, the fans certainly do not appreciate them breaking Ilja Dragunov’s character, which made him a dominant force in NXT, so it will be interesting to see his journey on Monday Night RAW moving forward.

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