In an exhilarating turn of events on Monday's Money In the Bank kick-off edition of WWE RAW, Carmelo Hayes, the reigning WWE NXT Champion, made a noteworthy debut in the red brand ring, marking a notable occasion despite his loss to wrestling heavyweight Finn Balor.
The atmosphere in the arena was electrifying when World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins acknowledged Hayes in the audience. He expressed gratitude for Hayes' support during last week's NXT, which followed a successful title defense against the formidable Bron Breakker.
As the night unfolded, Balor launched an unexpected attack during Rollins' RAW promotion. Displaying his loyalty, Hayes stepped in, saving Rollins for a second time. Consequently, an unanticipated match was set between Hayes and Balor, preceded by an engaging video vignette on Hayes.
Backstage Applause for Hayes' Debut
Following the match, a report from insider source Better Wrestling Experience revealed a palpable sense of anticipation had enveloped the backstage before Hayes' in-ring debut. On his return, Hayes was greeted with a heartening round of applause at the Gorilla Position, further cementing the high regard with which he is held.
Looking ahead, Hayes is set to defend his NXT Title against free agent Baron Corbin on the forthcoming NXT Gold Rush Week 2 episode. In a candid post-RAW interview with Byron Saxton, Hayes admitted he's not at his full potential going into the title defense, possibly a narrative twist referring to Corbin's surprise attack on the May 30 NXT that led to Hayes' week-long absence from television.
Despite his loss to Balor, Hayes remained unyielding, stating, "Finn is one of the best in the world…if I have to take a loss from one of the best, I can accept that." He emphasized the importance of his upcoming match, saying, "The critical thing is tomorrow and Baron Corbin for the NXT Championship.
I might not be 100%, but I can defeat Baron even at 25% of my strength." He confidently concluded, "I might have taken a loss, but when I look in the mirror, I'm still Carmelo Hayes, and that's a win."
• Bully Ray Discusses CM Punk's Omission of AEW in WWE Raw Promo• CM Punk's WWE Raw Return Rallies Record Viewership• CM Punk Sparks 'PG Punk' Trend with Controversial WWE RAW Promo on 11/27• WWE Raw 11/27: Last-Minute Changes and Adjustments Detailed• Randy Orton Triumphant Return to WWE Raw After a Year, Assisted by Jelly Roll• Jelly Roll's Surprise Visit at WWE RAW on Nov 27