Carmelo Hayes says he'd like to move away from NXT's rainbow championship.
Hayes made his NXT debut in 2021; at the time, NXT still featured established stars like Adam Cole. In a matter of months, the brand went through plenty of changes with the 2.0 revamp, and young competitors like Bron Breakker quickly rose to prominence. Plus, NXT shifted from its black and gold look to a rainbow-based color scheme.
During the 2.0 era, Breakker and Hayes became the faces of NXT, and they have remained the brand's top stars, even as NXT has somewhat transitioned into a new chapter. Breakker is the reigning NXT Champion, and WWE previously introduced a new title that incorporated the rainbow design. Hayes will challenge Breakker for the NXT Championship at NXT Stand & Deliver, and the bout will be the youngest WrestleMania weekend main event in WWE history.
Speaking on the March 22 episode of WWE's The Bump, Hayes was asked about giving the NXT Championship a custom look if he beats Breakker. Hayes initially noted that he has been focusing on the match itself, but he stated that he'd like to get away from the rainbow championship. Hayes expressed that the title defines the Bron Breakker era, and he wants to move into his own era.
"All I’m thinking about is that match with Bron. I’m not really thinking about much other than the match. I mean, I’d like to get away from the rainbow championship. I think that that defines that generation of Bron Breakker, and we’re gonna move way past that and go into the Him Era, which is my era, the Carmelo Hayes era. So it is a possibility, but I need to get to LA and I need to get to Stand & Deliver before we start talking about those types of things," Hayes said.
Hayes' loss at NXT Stand & Deliver 2022 came up in the conversation, and the former NXT North American Championship emphasized that he has grown a lot since then. He stated that he is at the top of his game, and Breakker is the one who will have to prove himself when they clash at NXT Stand & Deliver.
“The fact that you bring up last year, if you look at who I was last year as a competitor, I was a completely different competitor. I’ve learned so much from my mistakes over the last years, and there’s very few mistakes that I’ve made. But I’ve learned from each and every one of those ones. But coming into this Stand & Deliver, I’m stronger than I’ve ever been, I’m smarter than I’ve ever been, I’m at the top of my game, man. A lot of people talk about Bron Breakker and me having to beat Bron Breakker. But the real question is, can Bron Breakker beat me? I’m the one to beat in this match. He has to understand that. He’s never beat a Carmelo Hayes, he’s never been up against a Carmelo Hayes. So I’m a whole different beast, I’m a whole different animal coming into this match. He can’t block me, he can’t guard me. I’ve shot the shot 1,000 times. I really am him," Hayes said.
Hayes previously described how Shawn Michaels has had to rein him in sometimes. Check out his comments here.
Catch up on our coverage of the March 21 episode of NXT here.
Check out the card for NXT Stand & Deliver here.
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