Backstage Reacton To Ilja Dragunov Injury Angle On 12/19 WWE NXT

Ridge Holland has a history of causing accidental injuries in the ring, which is why WWE fans were concerned on Tuesday when a DDT from Holland led to "NXT" Champion Ilja Dragunov being stretchered out of the "NXT" arena. As previously reported, the injury is a storyline playing off of the real-life mishap that saw former WWE Champion Big E suffer a fractured C1 and C6 vertebrae at the hands of Holland in March 2022.

According to Fightful Select, "WWE NXT" producers were happy with the way the injury angle played out on television — not just the way it was filmed and the performances of both Holland and Dragunov,  but also the deathly silent response from the shocked arena. Fightful's report also states that producers felt fans were made aware of the fictitious nature of the injury by how quickly the taping moved on to begin the episode of "NXT" that will air on December 26, and which was set to be taped after the December 19 edition.

Many fans were understandably upset with the storyline, as Big E still has not returned to wrestling since the injury. Moreover, Holland has already weathered attacks from fans after the injury initially occurred, with Big E's New Day compatriot Xavier Woods having to step in and stand up for Holland. "NXT" has yet to make it clear how the injury will effect Dragunov's upcoming "NXT" title defense against 2023 Men's Iron Survivor Trick Williams at "WWE NXT: New Year's Evil" on January 2.