WWE: What were the company’s top 10 Matches of 2020?

Roman Reigns, WWE SmackDown (photo courtesy of WWE)
Roman Reigns, WWE SmackDown (photo courtesy of WWE) /
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3. Ilja Dragunov vs. WALTER (NXT UK October 29th)

This match was brutal. Every chop and suplex had me wanting a CT scan booked on myself as I spent half of the contest cheering and applauding and the rest wincing and cringing at every impact. As an MMA fan, I enjoy watching wrestling that I can show my fellow fans when they question how I can go from the octagon to the squared circle so easily, and gain sizeable satisfaction when they leave enough said following the answer.

Another nuance that makes this match even greater is going into it, and although I hate to admit, I had no clue who Ilja Dragunov was. Following this battle, I made sure to scour the internet and now I know exactly who he is and I want to see more from him in the future. This is what a title match is about: an exhibition of the two talents and what they bring to the table.

Dragunov entered the match relatively unproven in WWE, and even in defeat, he left the ring demonstrating exactly why he deserved to be standing opposite one of the best, if not the best, wrestlers to come out of Europe at the moment.

It doesn’t look like there is anyone ready to take the belt off of WALTER, and even in the presence of this fact, Dragunov managed to step up to the point where you wouldn’t have been perplexed if he had taken the title home. This is what made the match feel legitimate; both men fought like their life was on the line and that helps to build the prestige of a brand and its flagship title, the NXT UK Championship.

It’s a testament to the ability of performers that they managed to deliver a brutal enough match without an added gimmick or removal of the rules. WWE has a theme of ramping up the ante of a match by adding a no holds barred stipulation, but with these two, there was no need. Their bodies were their weapons and it typified again the gold standard we have come to expect from NXT.