Ilja Dragunov will survive losing to Jey Uso on WWE Raw

The IWC is back in a rage, this time over Ilja Dragunov taking a defeat to Jey Uso. But when you break it down, it's perfectly OK that he suffered a loss.
Monday Night RAW
Monday Night RAW / WWE/GettyImages

Monday Night Raw continued its series of excellent professional wrestling with this past episode. One of the more talked about matches saw Jey Uso pick up a big win over Ilja Dragunov to move on in the King of the Ring Tournament. After teasing the match multiple times, wrestling fans will have to do something that’s super hard for them – practice patience. Dragunov is not hurt by this win and it’s best for the big trilogy match to be delayed by a slight bit. This is what’s best for business.

Dragunov is in his third match on Monday Night Raw. While it is understandable that fans wanted to see him pick up a big win over a main-event player, it is OK that he didn’t. The gnashing of teeth online is yet another overreaction to a match not going a particular way. And while there are instances when that reaction is warranted, this isn’t one of them.

First, the third match between Dragunov and Gunther should not happen on free television without a major build. Yes, WWE has done a better job of giving fans great wrestling action each week. But this is a main event battle on a PLE-level matchup. Look back at the first two matches. Daily DDT writers voted both matches the Match of the Year in their respective years. They are instant classics, worth a re-watch. Putting them on free television would then force multiple ad breaks, and rush time, while creating the issue for several other problems to arise.

Second, Gunther has been built as one of the biggest stars in WWE. He’s playing at another level right now. Dragunov isn’t quite there, yet on the main roster. Can he be? Sure, but give him some time to pick up big wins before getting a crack at perhaps the biggest personification of professional wrestling that the promotion has on the roster today.

Third, WWE has the perfect event on the schedule for this match to main event. WWE Bash in Berlin is scheduled for Saturday, August 31. There’s no reason this card should not be headlined with Gunther versus Dragunov. Gunther will be coming off his King of the Ring victory, hopefully holding a future title shot in his back pocket. While Dragunov will be coming off a meaningful angle of his own. Giving this iteration of WWE several months to build to this match is the right call. Look at the story the two men were able to tell in WWENXT and the near-invisible WWE NXTUK. With the full power of WWE’s creative team behind the third contest, it only makes sense to wait a bit.

It is understandable why so many fans are upset that Ilja Dragunov did not defeat Jey Uso to advance to the semifinals of the King of the Ring tournament. This entire tournament means something and the big match with Gunther was dangled in their face. But practice patience, because when that match does come, it will be something special.