One of Gunther’s former rivals has admitted he isn’t even slightly on the Ring General’s level.
Before joining the main roster, Gunther spent years dominating NXT UK where he reigned as the United Kingdom Champion for an astonishing 870 days. During that time he overcame challenges from the likes of Tyler Bate, Rampage Brown, and Tommaso Ciampa, but there was one man who was able to finally bring his dominance to an end, Ilja Dragunov.
The NXT UK Title is long gone, but Dragunov is still going strong and at No Mercy in September 2023 defeated Carmello Hayes to capture the NXT Championship for the first time.
Meanwhile, Gunther has taken the Intercontinental Championship to new heights, first smashing the record for longest reign with the title at 455 days, and more recently surpassing 500 days as champion.
Could Ilja Dragunov dethrone Gunther again?
In a recent interview with Haus of Wrestling, Dragunov was asked if he could once again break The Ring General’s dominance, this time to end his Intercontinental Title reign.
The Mad Dragon explained that was difficult to answer, and questioned whether he was even near Gunther’s level.
“It is the hardest question to answer, to be honest, because you just gotta see and look at him and how good he is.”
“I know, I’m good. I know that, I do, and I do enough to prove that again and again and again. But knowing how great he is, and to have this feeling inside myself that I’m not even slightly on his level at the moment. That is something that is, on one side, driving me extremely crazy, but on the other side, is motivating you really, really hard.”
Dragunov sees his rivalry with the Austrian star as a perfect underdog story, and says if he does get the chance, he will do everything in his power to pull off the victory.
“I think this is a thing that is kind of magnetic to each other because every time we step together in a ring, it was brutal, and it was a perfect David and Goliath story, apparently, underdog tries to overcome the impossible story, and I’m the perfect underdog.
“I’m one of those guys; I’m one of a dying breed. A really good brutally fighting underdog and the absolute final boss that you see in Gunther, and we both embrace our personas so well that this is the perfect mixture.
“This is something people want to see; it doesn’t matter how often it will happen. So, if I’m the one who’s able to do this, actually, I can’t say if I really know this, but if I get the chance to, you can make sure that I’m going to do everything I can to be that guy.”
H/T to Haus of Wrestling for the above transcription.