A few months before the launch of NXT 2.0, several reports noted how WWE’s third brand was set to prioritize larger than life wrestlers. The Wrestling Observer reported the exact wording of the new changes for NXT: “no more midgets, no one starting in their 30s. They want people that can be box office attractions and main characters.”
When NXT North American Champion Carmelo Hayes read such reports online, he was initially worried about his future in the WWE. However, those fears were quelled when Hayes was booked to defeat three bigger guys – Duke Hudson, Josh Briggs and Odyssey Jones – en route to winning the 2021 NXT Breakout Tournament.
“I’d read all the same things online, that NXT was going toward big guys and all this other stuff,” Hayes told Sports Illustrated. “So if that was true, I thought that Odyssey was going to win the whole thing. But I beat Briggs, Duke and then Odyssey, the three biggest guys in the tournament.”
Hayes then touched upon the trust factor he has built up with NXT management.
“They trust me and I trust myself,” Hayes said. “So I’m just going to keep working and keep grinding. I have one speed, and that’s full speed. That’s why I got this opportunity. I treat every day like it’s WrestleMania.”
This week’s episode of NXT 2.0 began with Hayes and Trick Williams being confronted by the returning Johnny Gargano and Dexter Lumis. Later in the night, Hayes and Williams tore up the locker room looking for the missing NXT North American Title belt. Williams then came across a drawing by Lumis, through which Lumis and Gargano invited Williams and Hayes to a Haunted House on next week’s Halloween Havoc to get the title back.