Ilja Dragunov Taken Backstage On Stretcher During WWE NXT Taping

Fans live at tonight’s WWE NXT taping reportedly experienced a scary moment when WWE NXT Champion Ilja Dragunov landed on his neck during a match against Ridge Holland, with Dragunov having to be placed in a neckbrace and taken to the back on a stretcher. At this time, it is not officially confirmed whether Dragunov’s injury is legitimate or part of a storyline. However, in the aftermath of the moment, Fightful’s Corey Brennan reported that Dragunov’s injury is, in fact, part of a storyline involving Holland.

As one might expect, there is already plenty of discussion online surrounding the moment. If Dragunov’s neck injury is part of a storyline, it would be hard to deny the decision is in poor taste. Last year, former WWE Champion Big E received a severe neck injury during a match with Holland. Thus far, Big E has yet to return from the injury and has cast doubt on his ability to return to wrestling at all. Though Holland has been in the ring for several injuries in the past, no blame has been passed on to the 35-year-old from performers like Big E or Elton Prince of WWE’s Pretty Deadly.

While the storyline might be questionable, that is certainly a better alternative than Dragunov suffering an actual injury. The Russian is currently reaching new heights in his career, especially after capturing the NXT Championship from Carmelo Hayes at NXT No Mercy in September. Since then, Dragunov has successfully defended against Hayes as well as Baron Corbin this past Saturday at WWE NXT Deadline. At the same event, Trick Williams won the Iron Survivor Challenge to become the new number-one contender, with the match scheduled to take place at WWE NXT New Year’s Evil. At the same time, Hayes is still heavily interested in the NXT title picture.

Stay tuned to Haus of Wrestling for further updates on the status of Ilja Dragunov.