Felger & Mazz

Felger & Mazz

Felger & Mazz

Carmelo Hayes works his first match in TD Garden in March 2023

James Stewart and Mike Riley spoke to NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes about NXT’s upcoming Battleground Premium Live Event in Lowell, MA, on May 28th. Carmelo Hayes is defending the NXT Championship against former champion Bron Breakker. Carmelo talks about his time working local wrestling shows, his path to the WWE / NXT system, his relationship with Shawn Michaels, how he became a wrestling fan and more. 

  • NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes with James Stewart

  • His Time in Chaotic Wrestling:

  • “It was a great learning experience. I’ll say that I learned a lot at Chaotic, a lot of fundamental type of things that set me up for everything I’m experiencing now in WWE as the one thing that I got to give credit to Chaotic for as far as with promos and backstage things and in a lot of format things that that are very similar to what WWE does. So when I came here, I almost felt a little bit more comfortable because I’d had that experience doing a lot of the same things I’m doing now. So I owe Chaotic a lot to help set me up for success here in WWE.”

  • The origin of “I Am Him:

  • “When I initially got on the scene, you know, I, you know, start with Melo. Thomas Yeah, that was kind of like that got me off the ground. And then I had won the North American Championship. And my whole logic behind that was that was a championship. That was the A championship. So I had kind of pushed that agenda that I was the champion. Once I lost that championship, I became what a championship needs. So I started to push that agenda. And then after losing that again for the second time, it was one of one. And then moving forward, it became, I’m the next guy in line. I’m the final stop. I’m him. If there are any questions as to who’s next up if there’s any questions as to who the guy is. And then next, it’s me. I’m him. So it goes so much deeper than just a catchphrase. It goes, you know, as my body of work. You know, if you’re looking at somebody, you know, hey, you’re watching next, you’ve got to watch Carmelo Hayes. He’s him. And that tells you all you need to know. That’s the guy, especially in pop culture and sports culture today. You guys would know you call yourself him when you achieve something great, you know, you do something awesome, you’re him. And that’s everything that I’ve done in an act, you know, that makes me HIM.”

  • Bron Breakker’s Aggression:

  • “I don’t think there’s a counteracting that needs to be done because I think what I was doing is working to get, you know, I, I beat him for that championship. I think people forget that man. People think, oh, man, this new Bron Breakker is great, but people forget that I’m one of the very few people that have ever beaten Bron Breakker, regardless of how it was done, you know, it was still done. So, you know, I applaud Brian for finding himself. And you know, now that he can say, you know, screw the fans and you guys all turned on me and I’m going to turn on you, you know, that’s cool. You know, that’s cool. But being a champion is about defending the championship successfully. And that’s something that he didn’t do in L.A. So, you know, the question now, I think, becomes who’s the better man who’s really number one? And I think that, like I said previously about this championship if Bron is in my situation is it’s not about the championship anymore in his eyes. So it’s not about the championship in my eyes anymore. It’s about proving that I deserve the spot that I have, which is that number one spot.”

  • Training with Cody Rhodes:

  • “It was easy because I felt like he was already ready to go. I think he just had it, like, you know, like, dot the I’s and cross the T’s and do everything as far as, like, medical clearance goes. But I learned more from him. That’s why when people help Cody, I was like, Cody, help me. Yeah, you know, And it was just cool to just build that bond with him and just pick his brain on a lot of things. And him and I, you know, we just wrestled around and we worked, you know, and it was like it was a learning experience for me because I’m like, okay, well, this is like working with a top level guy is it feels like and, and it feels good and it feels right. And it’s like, oh my, oh, yeah. I’m like, I can’t wait to get, get to this level with these guys because this is easy. I mean, you know, Cody is a phenomenal talent and his brain and I love the way he thinks. And he still to this day checks up on me and stays in touch with me.”

  • NXT Champion, Carmelo Hayes with Mike Riley

  • Relationship w/ Shawn Michaels & Triple H:


  • “Great. Now, I mean, me and Shawn, we talk regularly and he’s always coaching me on everything. And, you know, he’s on top of it, you know? I mean, same thing with whenever I see Hunter, always, you know, says something really cool. I mean, last time I saw him, he’s like, Man, you’re killing me now. And I was just so reassuring to hear because thank you is so reassuring to hear because it’s kind of like me. Okay, You’re paying attention. You’re watching what I’m doing. And he had said something really cool to me after my match at Stand and Deliver last year that I’ll never forget. So, yeah, it’s is great.”

  • Being Back Home:

  • “Leading up to me getting signed to WWE had I had worked in this area for so many years and I had won championships in this area, I had won championships in Lowell, defended championships in Lowell and same formula, you know what I mean? You show up and you show out and you perform to the best of your ability. And that’s what got me signed. So I mean, nothing’s really changed. I feel very comfortable, especially being home. Everybody’s been showing me so much love. A lot of you guys have been so great to me, and I expect that when we’re at Tsongas Center in Lowell, you know, these fans, all the hard work I put in, you know, they’re going to and they’re going to give it right back to me. That amount of love that that I showed them, they show it right back. So I expect big things on on Sunday.”

  • Favorite Match of All Time:

  • “Rock and Hogan at WrestleMania 18, Shawn Michaels and Undertaker. It’s the moments. There’s so many great moments in that and and just knowing, like I said, knowing what I know now, watching Hogan vs Rock, listening to the crowd reaction and just seeing like the level of of a professional that those guys were at that moment, I was just like, wow, this this is pro wrestling.”

  • Dream Match:

  • “Shawn Michaels. It truly would be, you know, I mean, he he’s just I see a lot of like my style with his style I think I would win that great match on top of that.”

  • NXT Battleground is coming to Lowell, MA on May 28th, headlined by NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes defending against former champion Bron Breakker. You can get your tickets at the Tsongas Center Box Office.

    Tsongas Center

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