Creed II was one of the better sequels that the larger Rocky franchise has ever produced, but that film itself was dependent on what is probably the most popular sequel in the franchise Rocky IV. Creed II revisits that movie with a focus on how the events of Rocky IV had an impact on both men in the ring at the end of that film.
What Creed II doesn’t do, somewhat unfortunately, is put Rocky Balboa and Ivan Drago up against each other once more, although it very nearly did. A scene was filmed for Creed II between Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren that would have had their characters get involved in an old fashioned fist fight, rather than a sanctioned boxing match, but the scene was cut from the film. Dolph Lundgren recently revealed that the decision to remove the scene apparently really upset Stallone…
The scene follows the first match between Adonis Creed and Viktor Drago. Creed wins the fight when Drago is disqualified for hitting him while he’s down, but Creed is hurt badly and is in the hospital. The fight promoter arrives at the hospital with Ivan and Viktor to confront Adonis, but Rocky stops them in the hospital lobby, leading to the altercation. The scene is available on the video release for Creed II, but Stallone also showed off the behind the scenes work for the scene on social media a few months ago.
While it would have been great for old school Rocky fans to see Stallone and Lundgren go toe-to-toe one more time, the fact is that Creed II didn’t really need it. The movie isn’t about the last fight, it’s about the next generation dealing with the trauma that came from the first one. While Drago certainly has a reason to want to punch Rocky in the face a few times, it likely would have distracted the movie for little reason beyond fan service.