wrestling / News

Ilja Dragunov on Bringing Out a Different Side of Carmelo Hayes in the Ring

September 30, 2023 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
WWE NXT Carmelo Hayes Ilja Dragunov Image Credit: WWE

– During a recent interview with Fightful’s Jeremy Lambert, WWE NXT Superstar and top title contender Ilja Dragunov discussed his first matchup against Carmelo Hayes and more ahead of tonight’s No Mercy event. Below are some highlights from Fightful:

Ilja Dragunov on his first match with Hayes: “I think I bring out a lot of different things out of a lot of people because what I do in the ring is so entirely different compared to a lot of other different performers next to me. When I step into this ring will certainly feel something, because I feel something. Because as soon as I step into this ring everything is real to me, even before this. Everything is real to me. When I step in, I’m coming for a fight. I’m coming into break absolutely everything. The entire passion that I carry around with myself that everybody feels. Yeah, I bring different sides out of people because you need a lot to get me down. I’m not going to make it easy for you.”

On if Hayes brought out a different side from himself during the match: “Most definitely. You look at the struggle that was there, you look at the entire back and forth between us—most definitely. Because he’s the champ. He needs to bring out different sides of different people. It is absolutely necessary. If you can’t do that, you shouldn’t be champion. He’s gotta prove himself towards me. He did, I think. The people were absolutely excited to see that match that you can just hear the noise in the arena. There is something that people, I think, absolutely remember.”

Ilja Dragunov challenges Carmelo Hayes for the NXT Championship later tonight at WWE NXT No Mercy. The event is being held at the Mechanics Bank Arena and will be broadcast live on Peacock.