#AndNEW: Carmelo Hayes Unifies NXT North American and Cruiserweight Titles at New Year’s Evil

Carmelo Hayes Unifies NXT North American and Cruiserweight Titles
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The first episode of NXT 2.0 was the 2022 New Year’s Evil special. Opening the show in question was a bout between NXT North American Champion Carmelo Hayes and NXT Cruiserweight Champion Roderick Strong. The winner of this match would unify the two titles, phasing out the latter. Following a competitive contest that went 9 and a half minutes, Carmelo Hayes unified the North American and Cruiserweight titles, effectively becoming the NXT Unified North American Championship.

Carmelo Hayes Becomes NXT Unified North American Championship

The match between Carmelo Hayes and Roderick Strong ended with a big-match hype video, featuring Hayes being accompanied by Trick Williams and Strong by his allies in Diamond Mine. Following several minutes of in-ring action between two hungry champions, the match approached its conclusion when Hayes hit his signature diving axe kick from the top rope. One pinfall later and Hayes emerged with both the North American and Cruiserweight title belts in his possession. Hayes would celebrate his victory with Williams by his side.

With this victory, Hayes has become the first Unified North American Champion in the history of the NXT brand. Furthermore, he is only one of two people to have won each title, the other being Strong himself. Hayes signed with WWE in February 2021; in June, he officially debuted on the brand. He won the North American Championship this past October, besting Isaiah “Swerve” Scott to do so.

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