Carmelo Hayes is one of WWE’s fastest-rising stars. After making his NXT debut in June 2021, he went on to win the inaugural Breakout Tournament before capturing the North American Championship twice.
Speaking exclusively to Digital Spy ahead of NXT Deadline on Saturday (December 10) where he’ll compete in the first-ever Iron Survivor Challenge, Hayes credited William Regal with helping him get his break in WWE.
Regal, who was WWE’s Director of Talent Development until he was released in January, has been working in AEW for the past year but he’s heading back to WWE next year after Tony Khan granted his request not to pick up the option on his one-year contract.
When asked about Regal’s return to WWE, Hayes said: “I’m not 100 percent sure about the return, I don’t know if it’s confirmed or anything but Regal was a big part in getting me into WWE actually.
“So I have so much respect towards Regal, I learned so much from Regal before he left here. He was one of the guys that would take me aside and give me so much knowledge early on.
“So if he is coming back I’m super excited and it’s great for NXT, especially the new talents coming in that never got to work with Regal,” he continued.
“He’s just an Encyclopedia of knowledge and he truly cares. I don’t think anybody loves the business more than he does.”
Hayes also spoke about his bond with NXT head and WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels, saying it is a “blessing” to get to work with him.
“He loves us, that man loves NXT and he loves his talent. It’s one of those things where you’ll go to war for that type of person. He he truly cares about each one of his talents and I’m so fortunate, so grateful.
“Sometimes I have to step out of my shoes and realize that’s the Heartbreak Kid because you see him and you get used to him and I go, ‘Shawn what’s up’ but then you’re like, ‘that’s Mr. WrestleMania!’
“But he’s so humble you wouldn’t know. It’s a blessing is truly a blessing.”
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