Carmelo Hayes reflects on journey with Trick Williams: Him winning the NXT Title feels like an accomplishment for me as well

Originally published at Carmelo Hayes reflects on journey with Trick Williams: Him winning the NXT Title feels like an accomplishment for me as well

Hayes discussed navigating his way through the different variations of NXT. 

As a part of the 2024 WWE Draft, Carmelo Hayes was moved to Friday Night SmackDown in the first round. With the selection came an end to his time in NXT which included an NXT Title reign in addition to becoming North American and Cruiserweight Champion

Hayes’ on-screen run with NXT wrapped up with Trick Williams getting the better of him on back-to-back occasions before Williams went on to become NXT Champion. While guest appearing on The Ringer Wrestling Show, Hayes said Williams winning title felt like an accomplishment for him as well. 

Yeah, I think him (Trick Williams), the culmination of it all and him winning the NXT Title, it feels like an accomplishment for me as well. Just bringing him in early on and getting his feet wet and kind of helping him along the way and seeing him reach the top, you know what I mean? It was a very kind of proud moment in a way. Despite all the in-between and the this or that. It was a proud moment. It was just like, wow, who — not who would’ve thought… you can’t predict that it would’ve went that smooth. We both reached the pinnacle. Just us two dudes. We had got just kind of thrown together and I’ve said it before, that’s what that was. It was kind of like, boom! Hey, let’s get these guys TV time and see what happens and you know, along the way, creatively, we were able to make things happen to sway ‘em that way and thankfully with my skill and the wrestling-wise, I was able to make things happen and reach the top and then, you know, help him up as well so I mean, like I said, it was just a very kind of poetic justice type moment of like, wow, who would’ve thought us two dudes dapping up, ‘Oh, you bout it-bout it?’ The beginning of the rainbow NXT, where everyone wanted to see us fail and here we go. These two dudes made history.

Elsewhere in the chat, he further opened up about the transition from NXT Black and Gold to 2.0 to the current version of NXT. Hayes remembers Shawn Michaels telling him that he could not have done it without Hayes, Bron Breakker and a couple of other names. 

Yeah, absolutely (I think we elevated the NXT brand). Shawn (Michaels) has told me straight up, like, he couldn’t have done it without Bron (Breakker), myself and a couple of other guys. I mean, I came in right on the tail end of Black and Gold and I just remember those guys kind of looking at us — I came in a class of 20. That class was crazy, you know what I mean? With all the guys that are pretty much doing it right now and I remember all those guys looking at us like, man, who are these freaking guys? It’s half indie people, a bunch of athletes and I remember that. Like you said, it was that Black and Gold kind of stigma and then they switched everything around. They brought that whole rainbow era in there into NXT and that’s when people were like, ‘Bro, this is gonna suck! Wow.’ They hated that. We were ridiculed so bad. But I do remember just getting through that and wanting to be different. I had the same game plan even before, when it was Black and Gold and I looked at the landscape, I’m like, dude, what’s missing? Me. I need to do something different and I brought it into 2.0 and we got out the mud with 2.0 and then with the new White and Gold and that’s when we started taking off, bringing main roster talent up and down, back and forth and showcasing us on main roster and things like that and now it’s bigger than it’s ever been I think.

On Hayes’ first night as a member of SmackDown, he was in the main event and went one-on-one with Undisputed WWE Champion Cody Rhodes. 

The 5/3 SmackDown featured a segment with Hayes and Bobby Lashley having an encounter in Nick Aldis’ office.

If the quotes in this article are used, please credit The Ringer Wrestling Show with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.