NXT Star Told Shawn Michaels He Didn’t Want To Be “A 205 Live Guy”
Current NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes seems destined for big things in WWE but he has recalled his early days in the company and telling Shawn Michaels that he didn’t want to be part of a forgotten brand.
205 Live was WWE’s attempt to showcase their cruiserweight stars on their very own show following the success of the 2016 Cruiserweight Classic and the re-introduction of the Cruiserweight Championship. However, in 2019, the focus of the brand moved from WWE to NXT stars, and by the beginning of 2022, the show was no more.
Speaking to Corey Graves on After The Bell, NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes has reflected on the beginnings of his WWE career and he recalls gaining a measure of respect from Shawn Michaels with his candid thoughts on being a potential part of the 205 Live roster:
“I knew when I first got there, I wanted to be something different. I remember black and gold era. Everybody talks about and romanticizes the black and gold era so much and it was great. It was awesome in the peak, but right after the whole thing with COVID in that ThunderDome era of WWE and NXT, it was kind of on a decline in a way. I remember watching the show as a brand new signee and I’m thinking, man, there’s so much missing here that I feel I could bring to this show.
“There just needs to be something like, nobody’s doing this, nobody’s doing this, nobody’s doing this. I’m like, man, I just need the opportunity. So I worked hard for like four or five months in the Performance Center just getting ready and working the little live event shows that we had.
“Finally they gave me a shot, they gave me my name, and then two days later they gave me a shot against Kushida for the Cruiserweight title in my debut. After that match, I had done really well, but I remember talking to Hunter after. I was like, ‘Man, I know I could do so much better.’ Then I remember talking to Shawn and I was telling Shawn straight up, I said, ‘Man, I really want to be a top guy. I don’t want to get like, nothing wrong with 205 Live. I know I’m undersized, but I don’t want to be a 205 Live guy.’
“Shawn will even say to this day that he kind of respected that I had the balls to come up to him and tell him that, and here we are. I bet on myself at that very moment and that was something that I just believed. It was like, I know I have a lot to offer for this brand. Just give me the ball.”
Carmelo Hayes was actually the man that killed off the most recent incarnation of the NXT Cruiserweight Championship when he unified it with his North American Title by defeating Roderick Strong back in early 2022.
Hayes will have his second defence of his NXT Championship when he puts the gold on the line against Bron Breakker at Battleground on May 28th.