Ilja Dragunov Outlasts Tony D'Angelo At WWE NXT Stand & Deliver, Retains NXT Title

Though he may be "The Don of NXT," Tony D'Angelo is still not the top dog of the brand, as Ilja Dragunov retained the NXT Championship in a hard-fought battle that culminated in a show of mutual respect between champion and challenger at Stand and Deliver. D'Angelo was put through the ringer, taking an H-Bomb on the floor outside the ring, through the Spanish announce table, and then a Super H-Bomb before Dragunov secured the victory.


The story of the match seemed to be D'Angelo both refusing assistance from his confidant Channing "Stacks" Lorenzo and being unable to secure the upper hand over Dragunov for any length of time, perhaps teasing a shift in character from the purported mob boss soon to come. At one point, with D'Angelo compromised in a neck crank by Dragunov, Lorenzo ascended to the ring apron looking to interfere, only to be turned back by his "don." Later, Lorenzo had a pair of brass knucks at the ready but as he went to hand them to D'Angelo, he was refused once more, being told, "I don't want that."

Dragunov took full advantage, maintaining the upper hand and seemingly finding a common ground in an uptick in violence with D'Angelo as they hit the outside, both grabbing the Spanish announce table's cover, and clearing the monitors and microphones in tandem, as if to say, "Yessir, let's do this." D'Angelo came up on the wrong side of that head-to-head, however, and the series of H-bombs from the champ was ultimately the deciding factor.