Following a classic match at NXT’s Great American Bash, Carmelo Hayes and Ilja Dragunov received a lot of praise from a WWE veteran.
In the main event of last Sunday’s WWE NXT Great American Bash Premium Live Event, Carmelo Hayes retained the NXT Title in a fantastic match against Ilja Dragunov, who proved to be Melo’s toughest challenger to date.
There was a controversial finish to the match because Dragunov jumped onto Melo’s friend Trick Williams while on the floor and while Trick was holding the NXT Title. On NXT TV this past Tuesday, Dragunov blamed Trick for the loss and swore he would get revenge against Trick as well.
The match was rated 4.75* by the Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer and 4.5* (out of five) by yours truly while fans of WWE loved it as well.
Corey Graves Praises Carmelo Hayes And Ilja Dragunov For Their Match
On the WWE After The Bell podcast, Raw brand announcer Corey Graves praised the Hayes-Dragunov match heavily.
“Ilja Dragunov and Carmelo Hayes, man. Unbelievable. Those two gentlemen tore it up. The athleticism, the physicality. I’ve droned on about Ilja Dragunov a few times on this podcast over the years. The guy gives me anxiety when I watched him compete, and I mean that in a great way. Dragunov is like a cyborg, let me correct myself. He’s a cyborg who can emote. The intensity that just pours from Ilja Dragunov anytime he’s on screen, it’s palpable.”
“You can feel the intensity, but the way he just soldiers forward, he gets his head kicked off and he turns around and he fires right back, and credit to Carmelo Hayes. Because I think there are probably a few doubters in the WWE Universe who think for one reason or another okay, well, Melo, he hasn’t caught fire like Bron Breakker did. Granted he had to defeat Bron Breakker to become NXT champion.”
As he continued, Corey Graves talked more about the futures of Hayes and Dragunov.
“But there are still those questions, is Melo the next guy? When it comes to Raw or SmackDown does he have what it takes? Is he gonna sink or swim? Well buddy he was doing backstrokes in the Atlantic at The Great American Bash because it was real. Just the physicality, these two dudes felt like they were trying to harm one another. Not just when physically incapacitate and harm each other. It felt dangerous, it was brutal. Oh my God KP, you know it takes a lot to get me all wound up especially when I’m not on the air. And I was buzzing for that main event.”