NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes
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Carmelo Hayes Discusses Staying In NXT, What He Still Needs To Work On

NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes shares his thoughts on staying in NXT after the 2023 WWE Draft.

Several NXT stars, including some reigning champions, were called up to the main roster throughout the WWE Draft, but Hayes remained on NXT. The champion is the face of the brand, and he is determined to do the best he can in NXT as long as he’s there.

Speaking with Peter Rosenberg on Cheap Heat, Hayes was asked whether he thought it was his time to get drafted, or if he knew he’d be sticking around in NXT. He noted that the outcome didn’t bother him either way, and he’s focused on building his legacy as the NXT Champion.

“It didn’t bother me one way or another,” Hayes said. “Obviously, we all want to go, we all want to move up and be able to experience main roster and that grind and everything, but I had just been focused on everything I was doing now. People keep asking me, ‘Are you upset you didn’t get drafted?’ I’m like, my time is my time, and when my time comes, that’s when I’ll go.

“I’m trying to do the best I can possibly do down here in NXT before I leave, leave a legacy, have a couple banger title defenses, and just go out on top. It would have been too early for me to get pulled up at that point, I think.”

Later in the interview, Hayes was asked to describe what he still needs to work on in NXT. He explained that he’s still finding the fine line between being a babyface and a heel. Hayes also noted that he’s a perfectionist, and he chases perfection every time he performs.

“There’s a lot. I don’t want to expose too much about everything in-ring stuff, but being a babyface is a lot different than being a heel, obviously. There’s a lot of small, little things that you can do as a babyface that you can’t do as a heel, or you can do as a heel that you can’t do as a babyface. So I’m still trying to figure out that fine line without fully leaning too much on being a complete babyface. I want to kind of stay in the middle. It’s hard for me to explain without breaking it down in the sense of wrestling terms.

“But I’m never satisfied. When I watch my matches back, I find four or five things every time that I’m like, dang. Even my promos, like, ‘Ah.’ I should have said it like this, I should have let it breathe here. I truly am a perfectionist, and sometimes it hurts me. Shawn gave me a great quote, he said, ‘Perfection is the enemy of progress.’ So he’s more concerned like, hey, man, as long as you’re progressing, you’re doing well, but stop trying to be perfect. I’m far from it, but I strive for it every time I go out there.”

In a recent interview, Hayes named the opponents he wants to face in NXT. Check out his comments here.

Hayes will defend the NXT Championship against Bron Breakker at NXT Battleground. WrestleZone will have coverage of the show as it airs.

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