Russian wrestler and world’s most terrifying man Ilja Dragunov has reportedly signed with WWE, leading him to pull out of indy bookings.
UK promotion Defiant have already been affected by the signing, as Dragunov was set to appear at future shows, shows which he has now pulled out of. This is further proof that new WWE signings will have to adhere to strict guidelines once their contracts have been signed.
Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, Ilja Dragunov is no longer able to compete on his scheduled Defiant dates in February.
As a result we are removing a segment on this week’s Loaded (taped January 5), meaning a slightly shorter episode will air this Sunday. pic.twitter.com/l2cfrGcTtC
— DEFIANT Wrestling (@DEFIANTwres) January 16, 2019
He is still booked for Wrestle Gate and Joey Janela’s WrestleMania weekend show, but of course signing for WWE would make appearing at the latter impossible.
Speaking on Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer said: “It hasn’t been announced, but he will be coming in for the NXT UK brand.”
Conflicting reports suggest he may be heading to NXT’s performance centre in Florida, but we await confirmation on this.
Dragunov has performed all over the world, but has spent much of his career in Germany with WXW and this year took part in a “Battle of Europe” match with Pete Dunne at PROGRESS’ Hello Wembley show.
He took part in a recent WWE tryout in Germany, but it is not clear whether the decision to sign him was made then or further down the line.
We will keep you updated with his movements and any official announcements in the coming weeks.