Ilja Dragunov Reflects On WWE NXT And AEW Going Head-To-Head – Exclusive

Earlier this month, due to scheduling issues with the MLB playoffs, AEW Dynamite went head-to-head with WWE NXT in a rare Tuesday night battle. As Haus of Wrestling exclusively reported ahead of the big night, Paul “Triple H” Levesque, who is now squarely back in charge of WWE creative, and Shawn Michaels wanted to use the opportunity to send Tony Khan a message in regard to AEW’s drawing power as compared to WWE’s. To that end, NXT was loaded up with big-name stars who shared the ring with up-and-coming talents like current NXT Champion Ilja Dragunov, Bron Breakker, Carmelo Hayes, and Roxanne Perez.

In an exclusive Haus of Wrestling interview, I asked Dragunov whether he felt the WWE NXT crew was more motivated going head-to-head with AEW Dynamite and with all the marquee names on the show.

“I don’t think so because if there’s one thing I know from the atmosphere in NXT, it is that it’s always an atmosphere of excited people, hard-working people, motivated people, and there’s no exceptions to that,” he asserted. “Of course, you got absolutely outstanding, huge iconic names like The Undertaker, like John Cena on the day of that show, and that makes, of course, things different, and the atmosphere changes, of course, in a certain way. But every day at work at NXT is like a day with fully motivated colleagues who are absolutely willing to put on the best job possible.”

Ilja Dragunov defends his WWE NXT Championship tonight against Carmelo Hayes on Halloween Havoc Night Two, airing at 8/7c on the USA network.

My full conversation with WWE NXT Champion Ilja Dragunov is now available on the Haus of Wrestling YouTubepodcast feed, and X account.

If you use any quotes from this article, please give a h/t to Haus of Wrestling and link back to this post