NXT Title Bout Postponed After Walter's Hand Injury from Ilja Dragunov Altercation

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 15, 2021

Photo credit: WWE.com

Ilja Dragunov will have to wait for his crack at NXT UK champion Walter.

WWE announced Walter suffered a "severe injury" to his left hand and will be unable to defend the belt on July 22. The promotion has yet to confirm a new date for their rematch.


BREAKING NEWS<br><br>WWE medical staff has confirmed <a href="https://twitter.com/NXTUK?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NXTUK</a> Champion <a href="https://twitter.com/WalterAUT?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WalterAUT</a> has suffered a severe injury to his left hand and has been deemed unfit to compete for his scheduled rematch with <a href="https://twitter.com/UNBESIEGBAR_ZAR?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@UNBESIEGBAR_ZAR</a>. <br><br>Stay locked in for more updates on this quickly developing story. <a href="https://t.co/0ikZn4t4NF">pic.twitter.com/0ikZn4t4NF</a>

During Thursday's episode of NXT UK, Walter and Dragunov staged a press conference to hype up their impending clash:


.<a href="https://twitter.com/WalterAUT?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WalterAUT</a> lays it all out for <a href="https://twitter.com/UNBESIEGBAR_ZAR?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@UNBESIEGBAR_ZAR</a> at the press conference ahead of their <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NXTUK?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NXTUK</a> Championship Rematch! <a href="https://t.co/AJ3Py4SIjv">pic.twitter.com/AJ3Py4SIjv</a>


"I redefined this sport, <a href="https://twitter.com/UNBESIEGBAR_ZAR?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@UNBESIEGBAR_ZAR</a>. And last time, you were just happy enough to be a part of it."<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NXTUK?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NXTUK</a> Champion <a href="https://twitter.com/WalterAUT?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WalterAUT</a> is laser-focused on the highly-anticipated WALTER/Dragunov II.<br><br>Get ready for another classic encounter. <a href="https://t.co/w2SWoRCzE6">pic.twitter.com/w2SWoRCzE6</a>

WWE said the two subsequently had an altercation backstage, which led to Walter's injury.

The two stars previously crossed paths last October and delivered a bout that was a Match of the Year contender for NXT. News of their rematch naturally got fans excited.

Given its close proximity to the press conference, it would appear that the injury is another twist in the storyline and not a legitimate problem that could shelve the champion for a prolonged period.

It would certainly be a shame if the injury forced Walter to relinquish the belt. His reign is clocking it at 831 days and counting after he defeated Pete Dunne at NXT TakeOver: New York in April 2019.