Ilja Dragunov discusses Gunther.
Since arriving in WWE, Gunther has been one of the most dominant stars in the entire company. Currently, 'The Ring General' is on a tear with his record Intercontinental Championship reign on the Raw brand.
Ilja Dragunov, who is one of NXT's hottest stars, is one of the few men in WWE that hold a victory over Gunther. Dragunov unseated Gunther as NXT UK Champion back in August 2021, as he defeated him at NXT Takeover 36.
In a new interview with Fightful, Dragunov was asked to reflect on Gunther's recent body transformation
"Definitely, he is in the shape of his life. As a performer, you always need to continue to work. There’s so many areas where you can work on. Just having ring skills is by far not everything you need to put work in. You need to put work in your training. You need to put work in your health. You need to put work in how you talk, how you dress, how you carry yourself. There’s so many different dimensions that you need to work on to be a complete performer, to be a complete artist. In his regards, I have nothing left for him than just a huge amount of respect because he is one of a kind. You can see that his absolutely outstanding mentality just transfers for everything he does. It’s just amazing to see. That’s the bar I set for myself, too."
Dragunov was then asked if Gunther hit harder when he was larger or if he hits harder in his current form.
"He hits hard always. He’s the person who hits me the hardest and pushed me the hardest and taught me the most. There’s not enough flowers that you can praise him with."
Dragunov previously stated that he wants to fight Gunther at WrestleMania, citing that he thinks they are destined to fight forever. Fightful asked Dragunov about the possibility of facing Gunther at WrestleMania 40.
"I don’t know about it. Let’s say it’s a dream. I don’t plan, I can’t see it. I’m not sure how fast it’s gonna happen. I just have a feeling it will be the right thing to do because there is just two perfect opposites. He’s like a final boss. Everybody sees it. Everybody feels it and I’m the ultimate underdog. I’m one of a dying breed. I’m one of those guys you can punch and kick and slam as much as you want to, and you just don’t keep me down. There’s enough examples to believe that. How can these [two] things not work out? How can they not attract the entire attention of the audience?"
Elsewhere in the interview, Dragunov reflected on his first match with Carmelo Hayes. Fans can learn more by clicking here.
Fans can see Fightful's full interview with Dragunov linked above.