The NXT UK brand continues to grow.
Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer reports that Ilja Dragunov will be signing with WWE and join their NXT UK brand. Dragunov was part of the WWE tryout in Germany back in November. WWE wrote the following about him at the time:
Ilja Rukober, better known by the ring name Ilja Dragunov. Born in Russia, Rukober was trained by SmackDown Superstar Alexander Wolfe and made his pro debut six years ago. A former Shotgun Champion for the German-based Westside Xtreme Wrestling, he won the promotion’s 16 Carat Gold Tournament in 2016 and, more recently, wrestled WWE U.K. Champion Pete Dunne in a match for PROGRESS Wrestling.
Dragunov was recently pulled from upcoming DEFIANT shows due to circumstances beyond the company's control.
Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, Ilja Dragunov is no longer able to compete on his scheduled Defiant dates in February.— DEFIANT Wrestling (@DEFIANTwres) January 16, 2019
As a result we are removing a segment on this week’s Loaded (taped January 5), meaning a slightly shorter episode will air this Sunday. pic.twitter.com/l2cfrGcTtC
This was a big indicator that Dragunov was WWE bound as contracted NXT UK talent are restricted from working with non-WWE partner promotions. It is unknown when Dragunov will be starting with WWE.