Carmelo Hayes Details Conversation That Earned Him Shawn Michaels’ Respect

3 weeks ago by Connel Rumsey

Carmelo Hayes Details Conversation That Earned Him Shawn Michaels’ Respect WWE

Carmelo Hayes finally reached the top of the NXT brand back at NXT Stand & Deliver, when he defeated Bron Breakker to become the NXT Champion.

Hayes has been one of the brand’s top stars since he won the Breakout Tournament back in 2021, quickly becoming a favourite of NXT booker Shawn Michaels when he took over the show in September 2021.

Speaking on WWE After The Bell, Hayes discussed his NXT career, watching the late era of Black and Gold and thinking that something was missing from the show that he could have added.

He said:

“I knew when I first got there, I wanted to be something different. I remember black and gold era. Everybody talks about and romanticizes the black and gold era so much and it was great. It was awesome in the peak, but right after the whole thing with COVID in that ThunderDome era of WWE and NXT, it was kind of on a decline in a way.

“I remember watching the show as a brand new signee and I’m thinking, man, there’s so much missing here that I feel I could bring to this show. There just needs to be something like, nobody’s doing this, nobody’s doing this, nobody’s doing this. I’m like, man, I just need the opportunity. So I worked hard for like four or five months in the Performance Center just getting ready and working the little live event shows that we had.”

Hayes then discussed facing off against Kushida for the Cruiserweight Championship, and how he spoke to Shawn Michaels after the match.

Hayes discussed a conversation that he had with Shawn that he says earned his respect.

He said:

“Finally they gave me a shot, they gave me my name, and then two days later they gave me a shot against Kushida for the Cruiserweight title in my debut. After that match, I had done really well, but I remember talking to Hunter after. I was like, ‘Man, I know I could do so much better.’

“Then I remember talking to Shawn and I was telling Shawn straight up, I said, ‘Man, I really want to be a top guy. I don’t want to get like, nothing wrong with 205 Live. I know I’m undersized, but I don’t want to be a 205 Live guy.’ Shawn will even say to this day that he kind of respected that I had the balls to come up to him and tell him that, and here we are. I bet on myself at that very moment and that was something that I just believed. It was like, I know I have a lot to offer for this brand. Just give me the ball.”

Hayes and Breakker are set for a rematch at NXT Battleground on May 28 in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Breakker defeated Trick Williams on this week’s episode of NXT.

Here’s a rundown of what happened on the May 9 episode of NXT:

Tiffany Stratton def. Gigi Dolin in the NXT Women’s Championship tournament

Mark Coffey & Wolfgang def. The Dyad to retain the NXT Tag Team Championship after distractions on the outside including a brawl between Ava and Ivy Nile

Duke Hudson def. Javier Bernal

Eddy Thorpe def. Damon Kemp

Ilja Dragunov def. Dijak via DQ when Dijak attacked Dragunov with a steel chair and continued the attack post-match

Charlie Dempsey w/Drew Gulak def. Tyler Bate w/Wes Lee after Joe Gacy came out and punched Bate

Josh Briggs & Brooks Jensen def. Hank Walker & Tank Ledger

Lyra Valkyria def. Kiana James in the NXT Women’s Championship tournament

Bron Breakker def. Trick Williams, then continued to attack Williams post-match before Carmelo Hayes tried to make the save, but Breakker laid him out as well

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