Carmelo Hayes has seemingly won some important fans backstage in WWE.
Per Fightful Select, the new NXT North American Champion has impressed Shawn Michaels, whom he'll work with at the Performance Center.
Wrestling Kushida in his televised NXT debut on 1 June opened Hayes up to further opportunities, though he had already caught the eye prior to that. Carmelo's match against Adam Cole on the 22 June episode of NXT was one such opportunity.
As far as Michaels go, the WWE Hall of Famer reportedly sees a lot of himself within Hayes, who defeated the outgoing Isaiah 'Swerve' Scott to become North American Champion on this week's NXT 2.0 show. Fightful have confirmed that this was done to establish Hayes as a new star while sending Scott off to the main roster, with Carmelo cashing in his guaranteed Breakout Tournament title shot a la Money in the Bank to make it a surprise.
Michaels posed for a photo with Hayes after the title win:-
Hayes, 27, has been with WWE since signing in February 2021. He is currently paired with newcomer Trick Williams, who helped facilitate Carmelo's 14 September heel turn after Hayes had originally debuted as a babyface.