Carmelo Hayes is getting a big push in WWE.
The NXT star has been crowned the new WWE North American Champion after defeating Isiah 'Swerve' Scott in a huge shock.
Hayes, of course, had won the chance to challenge any champion in NXT by winning the Breakout Tournament.
And after Scott beat long-time rival Santos Escobar, Hayes came down to the ring to help the champ fight off both Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza.
However, he turned on Scott, and laid him out with a clothesline before deciding to challenge him to a title match there and then.
It was a very similar move to cashing in the Money In The Bank contract, when wrestlers can call their shot whenever they want, and Hayes was crowned champion.
It is the first time that Hayes has won a championship in WWE since signing for the company in February 2021, and it made sense too, with Scott and the rest of Hit Row called up to SmackDown in the recent WWE draft.
And Fightful Select has now shared some big news on exactly why the switch happened, revealing that Shawn Michaels, who works backstage on NXT, "sees himself" in the new North American champion.
That makes sense, too, given that Hayes posted a picture of himself on Twitter after the match, with the belt around his waist and Shawn Michaels giving him a big hug.
Fightful have reported that Hayes has been turning heads in the WWE Performance Center, particularly HBK, and that he is being groomed as a top star of the future.
"Carmelo Hayes has impressed some people of influence within NXT and the Performance Center. We're told by WWE Performance Center sources that Carmelo Hayes specifically caught the eye of Shawn Michaels, and was viewed as a "project" of his by many. Hayes had already impressed many, but a match with Kushida in early June opened up a lot of opportunities for him, including the follow-up match with Adam Cole. Another high level NXT source said that they believe Shawn Michaels sees a lot of himself in Carmelo Hayes, which seems to be backed up by Shawn Michaels taking a celebratory photo with Hayes following his NXT North American Title victory."
Explaining Scott's loss, Fightful also reports that the way the match was booked was designed to protect him ahead of his run on the main roster.
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