WWE superstar Carmelo Hayes has been making the most of advice from legends like The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels.
The 28-year-old star – who building a great reputation for himself and is the current NXT Champion – signed with the company in February 2021 and has enjoyed getting to learn from the veterans coming through at the Performance Center in Orlando, Florida.
‘I’ve been so fortunate to get so much time from these people that I used to look up to. The Undertaker sat down with me for 30 minutes, and talked to me.
‘So, there’s certain people, like Edge and MVP, everybody, I’ve been able to sit and have conversations with them and pick their brains. I’m extremely fortunate to be able to have those guys around.’
Melo admitted there have been ‘so many’ people offering to help, ranging from main roster stars to the NXT and PC team, including boss Shawn Michaels, commentator Booker T, and coaches Matt Bloom, Terry Taylor, Norman Smiley and Fit Finlay.
When it came to the Dead Man himself, the rising star had to contain his excitement as he had a chance to pick the brain of someone he grew up admiring as a fan.
WWE NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes at Stand & Deliver in April 2023
‘The cool thing is, he knew who I was. That was the thing where I was like, “Oh my God!” I was like, “Hey, how are you doing?” He was like, “Yeah, I know who are you.” Inside, I’m like, “Holy…”‘ he laughed.
‘The cool thing is, he was so chilled. Not like he wouldn’t be chilled, but you just never know. But he’s just so cool, he was just so relaxed and broke it down in a way – sometimes you’ll hear the same thing said a different way from somebody else, and it clicks.
‘He had told me one or two things that I was like, “Oh Shoot! Yeah, that’s pretty much what they’ve been telling me but not like that!” Taker was cool, man, and I’ve seen him a couple times since and he’s always being very cool.’
Despite being keen to take any and all advice on board, Carmelo admitted it can sometimes be difficult because the helpful legends are speaking after decades of experience to someone who isn’t on that same level within the business yet.
WWE superstar Carmelo Hayes faces Bron Breakker for the NXT Championship at Stand & Deliver in April 2023
He added: ‘Yeah, sometimes it’s tough because you’re like, I can see how that would apply to someone who had a decorated career like an Undertaker where it’s easier to kind of get away with certain things.
‘I think about where I am at now when I’m on the way up. This a big thing from Shawn too, it’s a lot different on the way up than when you’re already there, as far as your in ring work – as far as lot of things go, you have a different level when you make it, make it.
‘So, to make it, make it, you have to do things a certain type of way. That’s the only thing I’m adjusting to now.’
Carmelo explained how veterans like The Undertaker have given him tips on all areas of the sports entertainment world, from honing his in-ring craft to more ‘personal’ aspects.
‘There’s a bunch of things, like a bunch of in-ring type of things, but there’s a lot of personal type of things too. One of the bigger things is to take care of your body, because your body is money, at the end of the day,’ he said.
‘Down the road, their bodies are breaking down on them and they realise they can’t do what they do, so a lot of it is staying mentally tough, making your money and physically keeping your body in good shape.’
WWE NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes
And while they have also delved into the secrets of the trade, Carmelo stayed tight lipped on what he’s been told, insisting he instead wants to focus on improving and building his legacy.
He added: ‘There’s more that I learned from them as far as in-ring psychology and stuff that I could say, but I’d rather just apply and keep it to myself. It’s just been great to have those guys on call if I need them.’
That progression is Melo’s focus, and he is maintaining that amid a lot of pressure from fans wanting to see him move up to Raw and SmackDown imminently.