Originally published at Carmelo Hayes had an opportunity with another wrestling company, chose WWE
The new North American Champion explains why he chose WWE.
In August, Carmelo Hayes emerged victorious from the NXT Breakout tournament and as the reboot of NXT into NXT 2.0 got underway, he came the brand’s North American Champion.
Just one week into his run as champion, Carmelo’s next challenger stepped forward in the form of Johnny Gargano. It was in June that Hayes debuted in NXT and during an interview with Daily DDT, he shared that he could have ended up in another wrestling company. He said he had an opportunity with a top company and opted to join WWE.
It was around December I had an interview with Canyon Ceman, a phone interview, and from there on they mentioned they’d probably bring me in after WrestleMania. I said to him, ‘Hey, if you can get me in sooner, can you please get me in as soon as possible?’ He told me, ‘We have a class of 20 people coming in, so we don’t know if we can get you in this round.’ They hustled and got me in with that February class. Everything happened really quick. I feel like everything does happen for a reason and timing is everything because it could have been a bad time a year ago. It might not have been who I am today or who I was in February.
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 . 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.
In recent interviews, Hayes has talked about the open line of communication between he and Shawn Michaels and how supportive Michaels has been. Hayes stated that Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque was great to him as well before taking time off following his health issue.
Even when Hunter was here, Hunter was great to me, too. I think it just came down to my confidence and the way I carried myself and speaking up for myself what I wanted out of NXT and what I brought to the table, so there were conversations like that. I feel like that built his confidence in me that I had so much confidence in myself.