Trick Williams Pays Respect To Top NXT Star

Trick Williams WWE NXT Champion

Trick Williams is the new WWE NXT Champion and he’s showing love to the former champion Ilja Dragunov.

When Trick Williams signed a developmental deal with WWE three years ago in February 2021, he walked into the Performance Center as a former American football player looking to find his place in WWE.

The NXT 2.0 brand launched in the fall of 2021, Trick was paired with Carmelo Hayes soon after and spent years as a sidekick to Melo until his breakout in 2023. Trick would become the NXT North American Champion and he had a brief run holding that title.

After it was revealed that Carmelo Hayes did a heinous attack on his buddy Trick out of jealousy, Trick had to overcome his former best friend on his quest to become the champion. Trick Williams went on to beat Carmelo Hayes in the main event of NXT Stand & Deliver and again in a Steel Cage Match on the April 16th edition of NXT.

On this week’s NXT episode on April 23rd, Trick Williams was in a do-or-die situation against NXT Champion Ilja Dragunov, who had beaten Trick three times in the past. Trick would either leave the match as the NXT Champion or he would have to leave the NXT brand forever. Trick got the predictable with the Trick Shot knee to the face leading to the pinfall. After the match, the “Mad Dragon” Dragunov hugged Trick and kissed him on the cheek as a sign of respect.

Trick Williams Credits Ilja Dragunov For Getting Him To The Next Level

During an appearance on WWE’s The Bump one day after his NXT Title win, Trick Williams spoke about the experienced Dragunov helping him a lot over the last year during their epic rivalry.

“Me and Ilja went to war four times, and I credit Ilja Dragunov as the opponent who’s taken my career to the next level on multiple occasions. The first time we had a match was probably around two years ago. That was the first time I think I was accepted as a true performer here, that I belonged in this business.”

“Second time after that was Heatwave. We went to war, and everybody saw that, ‘Oh, Trick Williams, he’s the real deal.’”

“Last time was Vengeance Day, when Melo turned on me, but another banger. So for me to finally get the win over Ilja Dragunov in the fourth one, man, no doubt about it, that’s my brother. I love Ilja Dragunov. The things he’s done for me in my career has been nothing short of amazing, so I forever will appreciate him for that. He’s second to none.”

Now that he’s the NXT Champion and the NXT brand will likely be without Carmelo Hayes, Ilja Dragunov & Bron Breakker moving forward, Trick Williams is firmly entrenched as the face of the brand and a very bright future ahead of him.

H/T Fightful