In an exciting development for WWE fans, Shawn Michaels, the Senior Vice President of Talent Development Creative, has confirmed that former NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes is set to compete in the ongoing WWE United States Championship tournament on WWE SmackDown.
This news adds an intriguing twist to the highly anticipated event.
The current WWE United States Champion, Logan Paul, initially revealed the eight-man tournament on the December 1 episode of SmackDown. This tournament, designed to determine Paul's next challenger, began with the Tribute to the Troops special episode of SmackDown.
Intriguingly, Paul had hinted at the inclusion of an NXT talent in this high-profile tournament, sparking widespread speculation among WWE enthusiasts.
Tournament Lineup Shifts
The tournament's initial lineup boasted a formidable array of competitors: Santos Escobar, Dragon Lee, Karrion Kross, Bobby Lashley, Grayson Waller, Austin Theory, and Kevin Owens.
However, the dynamics of the tournament have already seen significant shifts, with both Lee and Kross being eliminated, while Escobar and Lashley have successfully advanced to the next round. Carmelo Hayes enters the tournament on a high note, having recently triumphed over Lexis King at the NXT Deadline PLE.
This victory came amidst a contentious storyline where King accused Hayes of orchestrating an attack on Trick Williams. Despite these allegations, Hayes emerged victorious and denied any involvement in the attack, simultaneously seizing the spotlight in his first WWE PLE event.
Hayes, a remarkable talent in WWE, is not only a former NXT Champion but also a two-time NXT North American Champion and a former NXT Cruiserweight Champion. He has been a part of WWE since February 2021 and has already made a significant impact on the main roster, notably facing Finn Balor earlier this year on WWE Raw.
Hayes' inclusion in the United States Championship tournament is a testament to his rising star in WWE. His participation not only heightens the excitement around the event but also showcases the seamless integration of talent between NXT and the main WWE roster.
Fans are eagerly anticipating his performance in the tournament, looking forward to seeing how this dynamic competitor fares against some of WWE's most seasoned athletes.