NXT's Ilja Dragunov Says He Would Not Be The Person He Is Today Without One WWE Star

Tomorrow at WWE NXT No Mercy, Ilja Dragunov will challenge Carmelo Hayes for the "WWE NXT" Championship. However, the WWE star admits he didn't get to that position by himself. Speaking on WWE's "After The Bell" podcast hosted by Corey Graves and Kevin Patrick, Dragunov revealed that he holds one fellow WWE performer in particular responsible for helping him in his career and in life.

"One thing I can say, I would never be the person I am today with [GUNTHER]," Dragunov said. "There is not one person who pushed me that hard, shaped me this way, who taught me more. The only reason I am this good, right now, and making a name for myself, is because of him. There's not one person like him."

Dragunov and GUNTHER have had a number of matches together, both within and outside of WWE. The two clearly think highly of one another, with Dragunov calling GUNTHER "one of a kind" not long ago. Thankfully for fans, Dragunov doesn't seem to believe their rivalry is over.

"I absolutely don't think so," Dragunov said after being asked by Graves if fans had seen the last of the two in the ring.

GUNTHER recently broke the record for the longest WWE Intercontinental Championship reign in the title's history, surpassing the Honky Tonk Man as of earlier this month. He and Imperium are engaged in a feud with Tomasso Ciampa, with Ciampa recently having overcome both Giovanni Vicci and Ludwig Kaiser in an attempt to get a shot at GUNTHER. As for Dragunov, whether or not he wins his "NXT" title shot tomorrow will have a strong effect on his plans in the immediate future.