Ilja Dragunov Injured, Relinquishes NXT UK Championship

Ilja Dragunov backstage

Ilja Dragunov has relinquished the NXT United Kingdom Championship due to injury at the most recent set of tapings.

At NXT TakeOver 36 in August 2021, Ilja Dragunov overcame the then-undefeated WALTER – now known as Gunther – to capture the NXT United Kingdom Championship for the first time.

The two had previously clashed over the title back in October 2020 in a match that was praised by fans and critics alike. The violent encounter was deemed an instant classic and awarded a five-star rating by Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer.

Before the loss, WALTER had held the NXT United Kingdom Championship for an unprecedented 870 days.

Since winning the title, Dragunov has successfully defended it on six occasions, most recently defeating Jordan Devlin in a Loser Leaves NXT UK match in May.

However, as reported by Inside The Ropes, at the NXT UK tapings on July 7th, Ilja Dragunov appeared in the ring wearing a protective boot and announced that he was relinquishing the title, ending his reign at 319 days. At the time of writing, there have been no details given on the exact nature of the Russian star’s injury.

The taping also saw an eight-man tournament announced to crown a new champion. In the first round of matches Tyler Bate, Mark Coffey, Trent Seven and Oliver Carter advanced to the semi-finals.