Ilja Dragunov Dethrones Carmelo Hayes To Win NXT Championship

Just over two years on from ending Gunther’s historic 870-day NXT UK Championship reign at NXT TakeOver 36, Ilja Dragunov has now reached the very pinnacle of NXT. The Russian-born star defeated Carmelo Hayes in the semi-main event of NXT No Mercy and in doing so, captured the NXT Championship for the very first time. This marks Ilja’s first title reign in over a year after he was forced to vacate the NXT UK title due to injury in July 2022.

Carmelo previously retained the black and gold brand’s world championship over Dragunov in the main event of NXT The Great American Bash two months ago. In their rematch tonight, however, Dragunov emerged victorious. The two clashed a hard-fought battle that swung back and forth in momentum, but ultimately Dragunov secured the win with an H-Bomb from the top rope which allowed him to pick up the pinfall victory. After the bout, the newly-crowned champion brought Hayes to his feet and the two shared an intense handshake followed by a hug.

Ilja wasn’t the only star to win championship gold at No Mercy: Dominik Mysterio’s 75-day reign as NXT North American Championship also came to an end at the Premium Live Event at the hands of Trick Williams. Despite Mysterio’s dirty tactics throughout, Williams managed to hit a knee strike on Mysterio to secure a pinfall win and capture the first championship of both his WWE and overall wrestling career.

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