Ilja Dragunov is back from injury and made a surprise appearance to confront one of NXT’s top champions on the latest episode!
Long before it was announced that NXT UK would be coming to an end, the brand had already been struck down by bad luck. Back in early July, the brand’s champion Ilja Dragunov was forced to relinquish the title due to injury.
Dragunov won the championship at NXT TakeOver: 36 where he became the first man to defeat Gunther (then known as WALTER) in a WWE ring.
With Dragunov out of action, a tournament was held to decide a new champion. Tyler Bate eventually won the tournament, and the victory gave the Dudley-born star the unique honor of being the brand’s first and last champion. Almost as soon as Bate captured the title it was announced that NXT UK would be ending and replaced by NXT Europe in 2023. As a result a number of UK-based stars have now headed stateside.
On the latest episode of NXT 2.0, Tyler Bate faced JD McDonagh in the main event to determine who will be the next to face NXT Champion Bron Breakker for his title. JD McDonagh got the victory, and as he faced off with Breakker in the ring, Ilja Dragunov shocked the crowd by returning from injury to confront both men.
— WWE (@WWE) September 21, 2022
Elsewhere on NXT 2.0, Shawn Michaels stripped Solo Sikoa of the NXT North American Championship and declared that a ladder match would be held to crown a new champion at Halloween Havoc. As the most recent man to hold the belt, Carmelo Hayes was granted entry into the ladder match, and the debuting Oro Mensah earned his way in after defeating Grayson Waller.