During his recent appearance on Busted Open Radio, new NXT North American Champion Carmelo Hayes was asked about how he’s managing newfound success in NXT 2.0.

“I’m taking it in stride, but this is something I’ve been prepared for,” Hayes said. “When I signed with WWE, I had the mindset that I’m going to make the most of whatever opportunity comes my way.”

Hayes went on to disclose details of a recent conversation he had with WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels, who is reportedly running the operations at NXT due to Triple H’s absence.

“I had a conversation earlier with Shawn (Michaels) about how I want to be a top guy eventually,” Hayes revealed. “He was like, ‘alright, we’ll give you the ball and you can run with it. We’ll get you where we need to get you.'”

When asked to delve further into his conversation with Michaels, Hayes said: “The conversation happened back in June. I was assigned to 205 Live and I really didn’t want to be there. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with 205 Live, but I didn’t want to get pitched in as a small guy category. So, I spoke about, and I truly believe you should speak up (when you’re unhappy).

“I told Shawn that I see myself as a top guy. I told him, ‘take me there.’ And I think that (conversation) is what gave him the belief that, ‘OK, this kid is a little different.’ And on top of that, my mindset is every time I step out, it is WrestleMania. I’m not one of those guys whose just happy to be here. I truly, truly want to be great – through my work, actions, attitude, and training. I’m just trying to work harder than everybody else, and I think it’s showing.”

Since the launch of NXT 2.0, Hayes has aligned himself with Trick Williams. When asked if the duo is afforded creative freedom with promos, Hayes said he has earned the trust of Michaels & Co. in NXT brass.

“They give us bullet points. But I’m big on trying to say stuff that I would truly say. So a lot of the stuff you’re hearing is 100 percent from me – with their direction. I’ve been lucky enough to where they’ve trusted me, to say what I want. That’s really the direction they’re going in now, they are trusting guys, especially down here in NXT 2.0. They are trusting guys to be authentic.

“We are trying to reach a different demographic, and Shawn has said to me straight up, ‘I don’t know what cool is, so I am counting on you to tell me.’ And that’s the biggest thing I’ve been able to take away from this. I’m being allowed to be myself and help us reach a different demographic.”

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