Carmelo Hayes Hints He Turned Down AEW To Sign With WWE
Hayes had other opportunities
Carmelo Hayes has cemented himself as one of WWE's rising stars in recent weeks, having first won the NXT Breakout Tournament before he cashed in his championship opportunity on October 12 to win the North American Title from Isaiah "Swerve" Scott.
It emerged back in February that the then Christian Casanova had signed with WWE and Hayes revealed to Daily DDT that talks with WWE began in late 2020.
"It was around December I had an interview with Canyon Ceman, a phone interview, and from there on they mentioned they'd probably bring me in after WrestleMania. I said to him, 'Hey, if you can get me in sooner, can you please get me in as soon as possible?' He told me, 'We have a class of 20 people coming in, so we don't know if we can get you in this round.' They hustled and got me in with that February class. Everything happened really quick. I feel like everything does happen for a reason and timing is everything because it could have been a bad time a year ago. It might not have been who I am today or who I was in February," Hayes said.
The new North American Champion had other opportunities outside of WWE and Hayes heavily hinted that he turned down an offer from All Elite Wrestling to sign with Vince McMahon's company, having mentioned he had the option to go to the "top two."
"I didn't think I'd get here this round. I thought I'd have to go somewhere else and then from there get here because everybody knows WWE is kind of like the land from far, far away. It's that tip of the iceberg in that way. You don't just take one step and pop up in there. You look at the guys that are in NXT now. They've come from other companies, years from experience on TV here or there," Hayes continued.
"I thought that would be my route, so I was totally okay [doing that]. But then I had a change of heart and thought, 'You know what? I'm going top two and it's either WWE or somewhere else. Those are my two that I'm going for. That's all it's going to be and I'm going to get there somehow, some way.' I had both opportunities right around the same time and I chose WWE and to come here."