Ilja Dragunov
Photo Credit: WWE

Ilja Dragunov Defeats Roderick Strong In NXT Open Challenge

Roderick Strong is so sure of himself that he issued open challenge on the 8/17 episode of NXT, but “The Messiah of the Backbreaker” didn’t expect Ilja Dragunov to answer the call. That’s how NXT kicked off after Malcom Bivens hyped his client in Strong. The original plan was for him to face KUSHIDA, but the Cruiserweight Champion wasn’t medically cleared to compete. That cued Dragunov to saunter out as he prepares to challenge for the NXT UK Championship at TakeOver 36 on Sunday.

There were some heavy strikes and suplexes delivered by the two competitors as Dragunov seemed to have Strong’s number until a distraction allowed the Diamond Mine leader to send the NXT UK star into the steel steps. After the break, Ilja found himself donning the crimson mask, but he hit his Torpedo Moskau finisher for the 1-2-3.


After the match, Dragunov yelled for NXT UK Champion WALTER to come out and answer his call, but he did not.

RELATED: WWE NXT Results (8/17/21)