Carmelo Hayes sees greatness for himself.
Hayes scored the biggest victory of his career on Tuesday's NXT when he cashed in his NXT Breakout Tournament contract to defeat Isaiah "Swerve" Scott and win the NXT North American Championship.
Even before the NXT revamp to 2.0, Hayes was spotlighted with matches against Kushida and Adam Cole before winning the NXT Breakout Tournament.
Speaking on Busted Open Radio, Hayes discussed his mindset and wanting to be the top guy.
"This is something I've been preparing for. When I signed to WWE, I had the mindset of, 'whatever comes, I'm going to make the most of it and take it.' I had a conversation early on with Shawn about how I wanted to be a top guy eventually. He was like, 'Alright, we'll give you the ball and you can run with it and we'll get you to where we need to get you,'" he said.
Hayes said that being a top guy means being able to do everything and to be a leader.
Hayes continued by saying, "When I first came in, we weren't really sure if I was going to be babyface or heel. It was more or less, 'see how they react to you in the match with Kushida.' It took awhile, but I think after the Adam Cole match, I think people started to get more respect for me. Definitely after the NXT Breakout Tournament, I felt like I earned the respect of the crowd. I really didn't play too much of a babyface or heel, I just went out and tried to be myself and that was something that resonated with the people and I hope that's why they got behind me. It's been pretty wild. They gave me the ball and I've just been trying to make plays every opportunity I got."
When asked what the conversation with Shawn Michaels was like, Hayes said, "The conversation happened where I explained to him, this was back in June with a lot of things going on with 205 Live and I really didn't want to be a 205 Live guy, especially being smaller, just because I saw more for myself. Not saying anything is wrong with 205 Live, I just didn't want to get pitched into that category. I spoke up and I truly believe that if you speak up, closed mouths don't get fed. I spoke up the first opportunity I had and said, 'Shawn, I see myself becoming a top guy. Help take me there.' I think that gave him like the, 'Okay, this kid is a little different.' On top of that, my mindset is every time I go out, it's WrestleMania, no matter what. I'm not just happy to be here. I truly want to be great. Through my work, actions, attitude, training at the PC and gym, I'm just working hard and I want to work harder than anybody else."
Hayes said that he was told early by William Regal to "live in the moment" and that's what he's trying to do.
If you missed anything from Tuesday's NXT, check out Fightful's report on the show by clicking here.
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