Carmelo Hayes is the breakout performer halfway through 2022


Halfway through 2022 and wrestling fans have witnessed a lot of great matches, debuts, moments, and title reigns. But with six months left in the year, who has stood out as the breakout performer with the first six months done? When looking across the wrestling landscape, Carmelo Hayes stands out as the breakout wrestler as everything he’s touched has turned to gold for WWE.

Think about the midcard championships in the WWE. The United States and Intercontinental titles were once considered the “workers” belts. There’s hope that those days may be returning, but it’s certainly not like it once was. Hayes is holding what should be considered a midcard title in WWE NXT, but he’s elevated the WWE NXT North American Championship to a level that’s on par with the NXT Championship. In many ways, Hayes’s title run is akin to what the AEW TNT Championship was like early in its inception.

This year, Hayes has put together a catalog of great matches. His run includes contests with Roderick Strong, Pete Dunne, Santos Escobar, Tony D’Angelo, and a back-and-forth feud with Cameron Grimes. Looking toward the future of the year fans want to see him in action against the likes of Wes Lee, Apollo Crews, and Nathan Frazer. His matches consistently stand out and have shown the potential to get people to tune in to see him perform.

But it is not just his matches that have elevated Hayes on the roster. His character work with Trick Williams is among the best on the roster. Rather than the mundane promos that are all too commonplace in WWE, they’ve found a way to infuse their characters with a sense of uniqueness that comes across well during their talking segments. All too often, fans take to social media to post one-liners from their promos, highlighting their growing skill with comedic delivery.

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With half the year of events and matches remaining, there’s a lot of professional wrestling left to take in. One thing is true, Carmelo Hayes is doing an exceptional job capturing the attention of wrestling fans with his abilities both in and out of the ring. At this point, he’s having a career year and deserves recognition as the breakout performer halfway through 2022.