Wow! Just, wow. On the day of Sunday, July 7th, Walter retained the Unified PROGRESS Wrestling World Title in an absolute war against his old wXw foe Ilja Dragunov.
On day two of this year’s Super Strong Style 16 tournament, World Champion Walter and Atlas Division Champion (205 lbs and above) Trent Seven put it all on the line to create a unified title. The Ring General was victorious, although he won in somewhat controversial circumstances (Seven’s foot was on the ropes for the finish). As a result of this, in addition to his signing for WWE, Walter has undergone something of a stealth heel turn. Becoming even more aggressive than usual, the Austrian giant is every inch the unstoppable monster.
His opponent, Ilja Dragunov, made his name by taking on unstoppable monsters. The crowd was at an absolute fever pitch prior to the opening bell. Dueling chants for champion and challenger straight through the introductions created an atmosphere to savor.
From the off, there was a feeling out period with neither man willing to make a commitment to any big moves. Dragunov played the crowd like a fiddle, striking a Neo pose and daring Walter forwards. Soon after, both men took to each other with stiff offense – forearms, kicks, and, of course, the loudest chops in pro wrestling. Two bruised and bloodied chests were soon on full display, with Unbesiegbar giving Walter as good as he got.
The middle part of the match saw Walter grinding his opponent down with tightly-wound submission holds. An STF, bow and arrow, and a particularly nasty-looking standing half crab all combined to stretch the sinew of the Russian underdog. Indeed, it really can’t be overstated just how good Dragunov is at being the babyface in peril.
The final stretch saw the big moves come into play. An exchange of bruising lariats saw no result for either. The Champ nailed his challenger with a brutal German suplex! Only for Dragunov to respond in kind – an impressive display of power. A jumping tombstone from Walter yielded only a two count, as did a huge powerbomb from Dragunov. The finish saw Ilja nail Torpedo Moscow, only for Walter to roll to the outside to avoid a pinfall. One sitting tombstone and a final thunderous lariat saw Walter remain PROGRESS Unified World Champion.
All signs point to a clash between David Starr and Walter, likely at September’s big show at Alexandra Palace. His dominance has been asserted to such an extent that it seems difficult to predict who could possibly topple the big man. Dragunov has to be in with a chance of taking the title at some point in his stay in PROGRESS. It must surely only be a matter of time.
You can read our exclusive retro Progress Prerogative series right here!