Carmelo Hayes wrapped up his 2023 on two strong notes: Competing in the WWE United States Championship Tournament and picking up a win over Lexis King. The latter of those achievements took place at WWE NXT Deadline, where his friend Trick Williams won the men’s Iron Survivor Challenge match. With that win, Williams earned a shot at the WWE NXT Championship, a title Hayes once carried.
In a recent interview with Vibe, Hayes was asked about the trailblazing black pro wrestlers who paved the way for talents like him and Williams to succeed.
“I feel like every Black wrestler that I’ve met has just shown so much love,” he beamed. “Like Booker T, even Big E, just from top to bottom. It’s just like an unspoken camaraderie in a lot of ways. Booker, for example, he wants the best for all talent, but Black talent as well. Booker T’s has been a huge advocate for helping with my progress.”
One notable group of proud and powerful black WWE Superstars that fans gravitated toward during the pandemic era was The Hurt Business. Currently, Bobby Lashley can be seen mentoring The Street Profits on WWE Friday Night SmackDown. Before being paired with the popular tag team, he was flanked by Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander and their manager, MVP. The Hurt Business reuniting has been brought up ever so often after officially being disbanded last year, and Hayes was asked if he would be interested in being part of that faction if it were resurrected.
“Shoot, that’d be cool,” he replied. “Right now I’m so focused on what I got going on here in NXT. It’s going to take a lot more than just showing up and dapping me up to get me over there. I’m not thirsty for any membership. If they want me, they can holler at me and we can talk business. Respect to them [,though,] because they’re my brothers for real.”