Last week, Roderick Strong laid down a challenge for a shot at NXT UK Champion Ilja Dragunov. Dragunov will certainly agree to a Roderick Strong NXT UK title shot, the match most likely happening during WrestleMania week.
Strong issued the challenge after his match against Wolfgang as part of a special appearance on NXT UK. Strong’s appearances will add some extra eyes during the few weeks building to the WrestleMania Week edition of NXT UK on March 31. If last year’s NXT UK Prelude is anything to go by, this edition of NXT UK should be well stacked and the highlight of the year.
Roderick Strong NXT UK Title Match – A Deep Dive
An Uneven Talent Exchange
Strong’s trip to the UK marks a positive change in the talent exchange between NXT/NXT 2.0 and NXT UK.
Kassius Ohno had a brief stint in NXT UK and Alexander Wolf also joined the brand. However, Strong is the first established star to make a special trip from the U.S. brand especially to enhance NXT UK. On the other hand, countless NXT UK stars have either made appearances on the U.S. brand or moved over full-time.
A-Kid is currently competing on NXT 2.0 in what could signal a full-time move to the U.S. Ilja Dragunov, Jordan Devlin, Tyler Bate, and Trent Seven have all made appearances on the U.S. brand.
WALTER (GUNTHER), Pete Dunne, Kay Lee Ray, Toni Storm, Rhea Ripley, James Drake, Zack Gibson, Ridge Holland, Marcel Barthel, and Fabian Aichner all started in NXT UK before moving to the States. Hopefully Strong’s appearance in the UK will spark more stars coming across to NXT UK for marquee matches.
Dragunov Needs a Strong NXT UK Challenge
Strong’s appearance will also give Ilja Dragunov a much-needed serious contender to his NXT UK Championship. Dragunov – despite only winning the title in August 2021 – has already defeated Rampage Brown, A-Kid, Jordan Devlin and Nathan Frazer.
Essentially, Dragunov has already beaten anyone that could take the NXT UK Championship off him. Many NXT UK stars could one day win the title from Dragunov, but work needs to be done to get them to that level.
Roderick Strong is an established top name in NXT 2.0 and has held the NXT North American Championship, NXT Cruiserweight Championship, and NXT Tag Team Championship. He will give Dragunov his biggest challenge since he won the gold from WALTER/ GUNTHER. It will also garner the most attention of any of Dragunov’s defenses of the NXT UK Championship so far.
Simply put, Strong coming to the UK to challenge Dragunov for the richest prize in NXT UK is good for everyone.
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