Carmelo Hayes Getting Big Opportunity On WWE SmackDown

This past Saturday night at WWE NXT Deadline, Carmelo Hayes defeated a man who has been a thorn in his side for weeks: Lexis King. The former Brian Pillman Jr. has asserted for over a month that Hayes was the man to attack men’s Iron Survivor Match winner Trick Williams from behind in the backstage area. Hayes has vehemently denied the allegation, trying to cast the light back on King, but questions still linger for many WWE fans. Their suspicions may have only been heightened as Deadline closed with a slinking Hayes coming up behind Williams as he stared down WWE NXT Champion Ilja Dragunov to end the show.

Speculation around Hayes as the potential attacker of Williams aside, he still picked up a big victory over King, and it looks like he’ll have another opportunity to make a splash soon. Yesterday afternoon, Shawn Michaels released a video on X announcing Hayes will represent NXT as part of the WWE United States Championship Tournament on SmackDown.

“When it was announced that NXT superstar would be competing in the United States title tournament on SmackDown, there was a line outside my office door,” Michaels began. “And the man at the head of that line, and the man who will be representing NXT is Carmelo Hayes.”

Hayes will take on Grayson Waller in the opening round of the tournament, but no date has been announced for when that match will take place. The tournament winner will receive a WWE United States Championship shot against Logan Paul. Paul won the title at WWE Crown Jewel, defeating Rey Mysterio with the help of a pair of brass knuckles handed to him by a member of his entourage. This is the same way he defeated Ricochet at SummerSlam earlier this year and is possibly how he’ll fend off the winner of this tournament.