It wasn’t that long ago when Carmelo Hayes was kicking around Florida as part of NXT. Since joining the main roster though the WWE has been to France, Saudi Arabia and Scotland.

Now, Carmelo Hayes finds himself in Canada as part of the men’s Money in the Bank match tonight.

“It’s wild! Now I’m kind of getting a little almost too used to it. (laughs) I’ve been super fortunate to be able to just go along with the ride and have big moments in all these different countries. Before that truly, honestly, bro, I had never left the country. I’ve been in Smackdown for three months and now I’ve been to four different countries,” said Hayes also commenting that Toronto was a beautiful city.

Spending time with kids as part of the WWE’s event at the MLSE LaunchPad in downtown Toronto, Hayes says the experience really brought him back to when he was a kid at the Boys and Girls Clubs in the USA and what is really important in life.

“I love the fact there is something like this and the community type vibe! I grew up in Boys and Girls Clubs. The fact that they have such a structured environment, such a safe environment with all these different resources is so heart-warming,” he said.

“Coming here and seeing the kids makes you take a lot of things into perspective. How grateful we should be and how lucky we are,” he continued adjusting his sunglasses, just a little bit.

Hayes having fun with kids and staff at the MLSE LaunchPad. Photo: STEVE ARGINTARU, Slam Wrestling, TWITTER/IG: @STEVETSN.

Hayes was drafted to the Smackdown brand as the third overall pick this year. Moving from NXT to the main roster has been a big learning experience for him..

“It has been a huge learning curve just for the fact that I was ‘The Man’ in NXT! I had accomplished everything! Everyone knew me. That crowd was very familiar with Carmelo Hayes. Now, I am coming to a bigger landscape which is Smackdown. I am having to re-introduce myself to a lot of people. That is something I am going to try and figure out,” he said about his main roster journey so far.

Hayes knows it is an uphill battle on the main roster but he is more than willing to put in the work to make a name for himself there.

“You hope there’s a pocket of people that were NXT faithfulls but a lot of people are casuals. It is the first time they are coming to see a WWE show live. They could be Cody Rhodes fans, LA Knight fans or Randy Orton fans. They are seeing them wrestling someone who is a nobody in their eyes. I have to win them over in eight to ten minutes,” he explained.

Hayes is hoping that Money in the Bank show will be his breakthrough moment, opportunity to cement his name on the main roster.

“There have been opportunities. I have pinned Randy Orton. I was in there with Cody Rhodes. Those are huge opportunities that I would never take for granted but Money in the Bank is more my speed. This is more my lane and my style. I have got a lot to prove,” said a determined Hayes.

TOP PHOTO: Carmelo Hayes, Chelsea Green and Tiffany Stratton at MLSE LaunchPad in Toronto, on Friday, July 5, 2024. Photo by Steve Argintaru, Twitter/IG: @stevetsn