Gunther vs Ilja Dragunov is already a big deal for WWE Raw

Gunther and Ilja Dragunov needed only to face off to immediately make this the most anticipated match in all of WWE.
Monday Night RAW
Monday Night RAW / WWE/GettyImages

On the latest episode of Monday Night Raw, a big match between Gunther and Ilja Dragunov was teased multiple times. So much so, there was rampant complaining about Dragunov’s loss and Jey Uso as a whole in the days to follow. That noise aside, it’s clear WWE has already made the eventual match between Gunther and Dragunov a big deal. 

Dragunov and Gunther are the perfect story for this iteration of WWE Creative to tell. Since Dragunov’s arrival on the main roster, the two men haven’t said anything to each other. Them locking eyes when Dragunov was backstage, then Gunther smirking at him as he was on the outside of the ring after the main event was enough. The commentary team mentioned their past matches, but those who may not have watched those matches can tell from body language that the chemistry is there. 

This is a story that would have never been told under Vince McMahon’s creative direction. His ineptitude in the space was already driving Gunther in the wrong direction, and Dragunov probably wouldn’t have made it to the main roster. McMahon’s inability to create anything worthwhile in sports entertainment would have stolen what will be a great match when it happens. 

That is the big question. When will Gunther versus Dragunov happen? While it would have been great seeing these two men battle in the semifinals of the King of the Ring, Monday Night Raw isn’t the right platform for this match. One week isn’t enough time to build up to this match. Gunther versus Dragunov needs the complete backstory unpacked. Going as far back to their time as wXw tag team champions in 2019, there’s so much to unpack. WWE does a great job telling those stories with a sports entertainment tilt, like a big fight headlining a massive PPV. 

Dragunov is one of four men to pick up victories over Gunther. Even with Sami Zayn’s win at WrestleMania 40, there’s still something more special about what Dragunov and Gunther achieved in NXT UK, then in NXT that makes this story more appealing. Watching the full strength of the WWE machine tell that story is one thing that makes this looming match so appealing. Of course, the in-ring has the potential to be a match of the year candidate. But seeing the story told along the way is what will make this a fun ride for all to enjoy. 

Gunther and Ilja Dragunov have a story to tell. Fans will have to show a little bit of patience as it’s not going to happen during the King of the Ring. But when it does, WWE will have the full attention of the wrestling community because this already feels like a match of the year contest.