NXT North American Champion Carmelo Hayes seems to have suggested he turned down AEW in favor of joining WWE.
Carmelo Hayes has burst onto the scene this year and in the space of just a few months has won the NXT Breakout Tournament and more recently the North American Title.
He only signed with WWE this past February, and in an interview with DailyDDT, he said:
“I didn’t think I’d get here this round. I thought I’d have to go somewhere else and then from there get here because everybody knows WWE is kind of like the land from far, far away. It’s that tip of the iceberg in that way. You don’t just take one step and pop up in there. You look at the guys that are in NXT now. They’ve come from other companies, years from experience on TV here or there.
“I thought that would be my route, so I was totally okay (doing that). But then I had a change of heart and thought, ‘You know what? I’m going top two and it’s either WWE or somewhere else. Those are my two that I’m going for. That’s all it’s going to be and I’m going to get there somehow, some way’. I had both opportunities right around the same time and I chose WWE and to come here.”
It looks like Hayes’ first North American Championship defence will be against Johnny Gargano in the coming weeks.
He also spoke recently about the trust Shawn Michaels and NXT Management have put in him to be “cool” and attract a younger demographic of viewers, which you can read about at this link.