The February 6 edition of WWE NXT is set to stand around Carmelo Hayes. The former NXT Champion made the turn that everyone saw coming. He assaulted Trick Williams repeatedly, confirming he was the man who wanted to take his friend out of the picture back in October. This isn’t a new story being told in professional wrestling. In fact, the man behind the scenes, Shawn Michaels, is all to familiar with this type of angle. The question is, can Carmelo Hayes tap into that Michaels' Magic and make it all his own for years to come?
Wrestling fans of a certain age remember where they were when they watched the January 11, 1992, episode of Wrestling Challenge. Michaels hit the superkick that kicked off all superkicks, tossing Marty Jannetty through the plate glass window. The world was introduced to “The Heartbreak Kid,” and the rest was history as they say.
Hayes didn’t need the window to get the message through to Williams and the millions that have seen the assault that occurred on NXT Vengeance Day. He did have a similar black leather jacket that all but sealed the deal when he started wearing it months ago.
But Hayes also has a few other strengths that Michaels had in his younger days. The man is a near-perfect professional wrestler. His in-ring skills could match anyone in the business today. Fans of any organization would be hard-pressed to find someone that Hayes couldn’t deliver from bell to bell. Fans have also had the opportunity to watch his character skills develop as well. While some may have raised their eyebrows when he first approached Adam Cole as an introduction to the WWE Universe, that is a far throw from where he is in 2024.
Now, it’s time to see if Hayes can take the first steps in walking a path that many will compare to Michaels. That’s a tough test. We’re talking about a multiple-time champion. A Hall of Famer. A man that some may consider the greatest professional wrestler of all time. And he’s still contributing today, just in a different way. To put that pressure on Hayes to match that run would be unfair.
But it is also important to recognize that he has the pedigree to do something special in his own right. If given the “keys” to WWE, Hayes should be one of the pillars this brand is built around for years to come. It’s expected that he and Williams will be one of the featured angles heading into NXT Stand & Deliver. To be quite honest, their feud already has more cache than any other title match that could be created for that night. However, Williams and Hayes have shown the early flashes of a duo that could stand across from each other as a main event battle for a WrestleMania years down the line. Think about the importance and reaction to that moment coming full circle.
Carmelo Hayes is one of the best young professional wrestlers in the industry today. Few would argue that. He’s been correctly tagged as a name for the future, and that future begins on February 6 as the biggest story in NXT stands to really kick off.