WWE NXT can kick off 2024 with a big match between Trick Williams, Ilja Dragunov, and Carmelo Hayes at the top of the card for New Year’s Evil.
WWE NXT has a compelling story happening at the top of the card. Ilja Dragunov is a dominating force as champion. The “Mad Dragon” remains one of the best wrestlers in the world, putting on award-worthy matches nearly every time out. But while he holds the NXT Championship, the story between Trick Williams and Carmelo Hayes comes with all the intrigue of angles from years ago like Bret versus Owen or Triple H versus Shawn. The outcome is going to set the stage for what should be the final sendoff for Hayes and potentially Dragunov while setting up Williams as the top champion of the brand.
On Thursday, December 14, stories began popping up on social media that Dragunov was injured at the hands of Ridge Holland. Dragunov apparently landed awkwardly on his neck and was stretchered out while in a neck brace. But, as with many things in professional wrestling, this is a work that is set to further the angles going on at the top of the NXT card. And that door opens some interesting paths to take.
NXT New Year’s Evil 2024 is expected to be headlined by a big match. Williams will get his title shot against Dragunov, hoping to not only get revenge for a previous win but to take that championship off his waist at the same time. But Dragunov’s injury will throw that match into question – potentially forcing Shawn Michaels into question. Michaels has shown a willingness to book champions out of titles without taking a loss, see Roxanne Perez, and the same could happen here. If Dragunov is forced to vacate or not, expect Hayes to be the man who ends up in the match opposite of Williams.
Now, Trick Williams versus Carmelo Hayes should be a match that happens on WrestleMania Weekend. Book this contest for NXT Stand & Deliver on Saturday, April 6. Instead, for New Year’s Evil WWE must find a way to create Dragunov vs Hayes vs Williams. That triple-threat match would set the 2024 tone for NXT. The brand has been doing great work since Michaels took over and showcasing these three at the top of the card to kick off the new year would be the right call. This would allow the company to get the championship off Dragunov, and protect him for the eventual main card introduction while setting up Hayes’s last big feud in NXT.
WWE NXT is doing some splendid work at the top of the card. Ilja Dragunov, Trick Williams, and Carmelo Hayes have the backing of all the fans who tune in each week. Building to a big match between the three for New Year’s Evil would create massive excitement for not only that showcase but for what would come next.