It's not every day that you get a completely new match type in WWE, but NXT is hoping its newest creation, the Iron Survivor Challenge, will end up being a yearly tradition for years to come. The new match type will make its debut at this Saturday's NXT Deadline, and the Men's match boasts a talented lineup, including the A Champion Carmelo Hayes. ComicBook.com had the chance to speak to Hayes all about being a part of the first-ever Iron Survivor Challenge, as well as the process of turning the North American Championship into the A Championship. As for the Iron Survivor Challenge, Hayes is ready to deliver a high bar this Saturday, one that others to aspire to for years to come.
"Yeah, I feel a responsibility to set the bar really high. I think all of us do," Hayes said. "And looking at the talent pool inside of this match, like you said, man, JD McDonagh, Grayson Waller, Joe Gacy, and Axiom, I think you couldn't have picked a better five guys to put in a first-time match to headline this premium live event we've got coming up."
Hayes takes that responsibility seriously, and he's excited for fans to see how it all comes together this Saturday. "I got a pretty good strategy. I looked at the rules a couple times. Took me a little bit to wrap my head around it, but I think when you guys see it all come together on Saturday, I think we're going to do something pretty special here," Hayes said.
Whoever wins the Iron Survivor Challenge will get a shot at the NXT Champion, which is currently Bron Breakker, though he will face Apollo Crews for the NXT Championship at Deadline, so that could very well change.
If Hayes does secure that shot at the NXT Championship, he will look to build even more prestige around the Title, something he achieved in spades with the North American Championship. On Twitter he said that his time as the NXT North American Champion wasn't just a chapter, but a whole book, and during his time as North American Champion, he always wanted to make it the biggest attraction of whatever event he was a part of.
"Yeah, I mean, I had just said it in a tweet and I didn't know how I was going to do it, but I just had mentioned when I won the title, I said, 'This is going to be the new A Championship.' And then, thank God, they gave me that first promo and I said what I said about, as long as it's around my waist, the A Championship. And I think it was an energy that I carried about it being the most important thing on NXT," Hayes said.
"And then I proved, or I don't want to say I proved, but I provided... I backed it up with my in-ring work, I guess you could say. I made sure that at least if this isn't the most important Title, the A Title, that I'm going to have the best match on the show every single time with this Title, surrounding this Title. So yeah, I'm just glad that came into fruition, and like I said, man, I didn't know really what I was going to do, I was just like, I'm going to say it and hope for the best and it ended up working out pretty good," Hayes said.
You can find more from our interview with Hayes soon, and you can see him in action and the first-ever Iron Survivor Challenge at NXT Deadline, which streams on Peacock this Saturday at 8 PM EST.
Are you excited for NXT Deadline? Let us know in the comments or as always you can talk all things wrestling with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!