NXT North American Champion Carmelo Hayes has admittedly retrained his brain to focus more on promos and character development rather than just in-ring storytelling.
During his recent appearance on Busted Open Radio, Hayes said his priorities have gradually shifted since he joined WWE in February this year.
“Before I got here (to WWE), I always wanted to tell stories in the ring,” Hayes said. “I wanted to do it through my moves. Now that I’m here, I’ve realized you can get so much more out of (promos). I’m realizing now that the wrestling doesn’t matter as much (laughs). It truly doesn’t matter as much.
“They don’t tell you that (elsewhere), but when you get here, you realize that you can get more out of one live promo than three matches of 15 minutes each – in which you do all your high spots. I’ve really retrained my brain since I got here. So, 100% I rather just talk for a whole month and not defend my championship at all – before having a banger of a match with someone worthy.”
On last week’s NXT 2.0, Hayes cashed-in his Breakout Tournament contract to capture his first singles title in WWE. When asked if he was told ahead of time of his victory, Hayes said: “It came quick. It wasn’t something I was expecting to happen right away. Even the Breakout Tournament and all the other stuff came quick. My mindset has always been to be ready for whatever; you’re giving me the play, I’ll run the route. Anything you tell me to do.
“It was a crazy feeling (to win the title). I’ve just been trying to live in the moment because this is all happening pretty quickly; I don’t want to overlook these moments and things I’m experiencing right now. I was making sure I was present in that moment when I won. And when I looked at the title, I remembered all the hard work I’d put in to get to the WWE, and how much that meant to me.”
When asked to name the positives he’s noticing in the NXT 2.0 setup, Hayes pointed out that unlike the old Black & Gold brand, a lot of talents are more opportunities on TV.
“A lot of the guys here are working real hard for opportunities,” Hayes said. “Over the years, I’ve heard stories of so many guys taking over a year or two just to get on TV. Now, there are guys who’ve gone (from the Performance Center) to TV in 4 or 5 weeks. It’s really a sink or swim situation, and I think that’s the best way, at least for me. I think that’s how guys are gonna get good and get those opportunities. The biggest positive for me is guys are getting more opportunities.”