Backstage Details On Who Knew Carmelo Hayes, Kiana James Would Be Drafted From WWE NXT

While there was little movement of magnitude between the rosters of "WWE Raw" and "WWE SmackDown" during night one of the 2024 Draft, a handful of "WWE NXT" names were called up. Fightful Select has reported on the backstage process behind the Draft, indicating that talents were unaware of where they would be headed until Friday. 


There was reportedly an expectation that Carmelo Hayes would be drafted to "SmackDown" as he was on the travel list for that day and on internal rundowns throughout Friday afternoon. On the flip side, Kiana James was said to be genuinely surprised with her call-up and had not been told which brand she would wind up on. Fightful's Corey Brennan further learned that her video package had been prepared earlier in the week, so the wheels were set in motion well ahead of "SmackDown".

James briefly held the NXT Women's Tag Team Championship alongside Fallon Henley last year, and had been booked on the periphery of the main event in proxy feuds with Becky Lynch and Lyra Valkyria throughout last year's NXT Women's Championship program between them and Tiffany Stratton. Fightful notes that James was dubbed as among the best on the roster by one talent. 


Meanwhile, Hayes finished his feud with new NXT Champion Trick Williams in recent weeks to clean the slate ahead of his call-up. He had also been involved in training The Rock ahead of WrestleMania 40 after several main roster looks over the past year, so his call-up seemed inevitable.