Wrestling & MMA

WWE’s Xavier Woods hopeful of leading sports entertaining tag champs The New Day into Night of Champions

WWE superstar Xavier Woods stepped up his game, leading The New Day, the entertaining WWE tag team champs. The New Day hopes to defend the titles at WWE Night of Champions on Sunday, Sept. 20. Promoting The New Day, WWE and 2K, Woods participated in a ‘WWE 2K16’ video game event during WWE SummerSalm Weekend in NYC.
WWE superstar Xavier Woods stepped up his game, leading The New Day, the entertaining WWE tag team champs. The New Day hopes to defend the titles at WWE Night of Champions on Sunday, Sept. 20. Promoting The New Day, WWE and 2K, Woods participated in a ‘WWE 2K16’ video game event during WWE SummerSalm Weekend in NYC. Photo By Nick Mayberry

Xavier Woods is enjoying his best run to date in WWE as a member of the entertaining championship tag team The New Day.

The charismatic trio is also consists of Big E and Kofi Kingston. Together they have developed into one of most entertaining staples on the roster. This success came after the superstars wondered what would be next for their respective careers.

“There was a course of six or seven months where we weren’t really on TV and hanging out all the time,” Woods said. “We were trying to get the ball rolling on stuff. We would have meetings with Vince [McMahon]. Before we debuted on TV, we thought this was not something that may not work, but will work regardless of what it is because our chemistry will make it happen.”

The New Day was initially pushed as fan favorites, but the audiences weren’t buying what they were selling. They talented performers embraced the disdain and used it to their advantage.

“Initially, it didn’t go the way people thought it would go,” Woods said. “We wanted to capitalize on the heel stuff, which is something we kind of wanted to begin with. So everything worked out together, I feel like it worked out in our favor because if we were to come out doing this from the get-go it wouldn’t’ be as effective and feel as fun. That’s why this evolution and journey we’ve been on in trying to get where we are means a lot more to us. I feel it also means a lot to the fans because they can feel how they’ve effected the change in us.”

Whether fans are clapping and chanting, “New Day rocks!” or, “New Day sucks!” the group is eliciting a strong reaction. Within the business of sports entertainment, either translates to a pro wrestler doing his job. WWE rewarded the athletes’ progress with tag team gold as a group of three, much like the legendary Fabulous Freebirds. Whether its Woods playing the trombone or The New Day doing its own rendition of Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” at SummerSlam, they like to be creative.

“We just do stuff,” Woods said. “It can come out of nowhere. When we go out, we have an idea and our music hits, then it’s like we just go and do whatever pops in our head. Then stuff happens to stick. That’s why we keep doing it. I like to clear my mind and not think about where I’m going. I like to let my body do what it wants. Kofi is the same way, as is Big E. We have very good chemistry. So whatever my brain ends up doing, they’re brain is going to do something that will compliment it and vice-versa. It’s worked out very well.”

Woods describes his persona, which includes doing his own commentary and yelling clever quips during matches, a mixture of Deadpool, Spider-man and Jimmy Hart. This makes sense when you consider the 29-year-old isn’t just a pro wrestling nerd, but a comic book and pop culture nerd. His love of Power Rangers is well documented. Woods says he bonded with Big E and Kingston because have similar personalities and upbringings, as well as share an interest in music and movies.

Outside the ring, Woods is also an intellectual with a bachelor’s in philosophy, master’s in psychology and pursuing a doctorate in educational psychology. He continued his schooling while honing his craft working the independent wrestling scene. Woods got his the first taste of television as Consequences Creed in TNA Impact Wrestling. Every experience helped provide the foundation when he was signed to WWE’s developmental territory Florida Championship Wresting. FCW evolved into NXT, which has now grown into its own brand. Woods is happy to see the progress.

“It’s awesome because that was what the goal always was and what we were trying to do down there,” Woods said. “Everybody wanted to get to the main roster, so we said that we are going to kick the door in and do our thing. So it has blown up. We were down there and in the trenches together. Now people are seeing that there are guys down there who are hungry, guys who are wanting and guys down there who can go.

“It’s now its own living, breathing thing. They sell-out shows in big venues, which is great. One of my best friends in wrestling is Tyler Breeze, so to see that evolution where he is now. The work that we put in to create that gimmick and character, I mean he was on his last leg. They didn’t know what to do with him. So we sat down and cranked this out.

“We came up with Tyler Breeze and filmed these vignettes, and I edited it together so we can have something. To watch him go from Mike Dalton to Tyler Breeze is awesome. And now he gets to work with [Jushin Thunder] Liger, and I was there because I had to see my friend get beat up by Liger. It was awesome.”

Another fact about Woods is he is also a major fan of video games. You can see his love shine through in “UpUpDownDown,” a YouTube show he hosts with WWE superstar guests.

“Video games were my haven,” Woods said. “I just didn’t talk to humans at all. I was very socially awkward, so all I did was video games. Then when I started to play video games with other kids. That was the time I talked to people. So those kids brought me out of my shell and really helped me. Without them I would still be up against the wall playing my N64 not talking to anyone. So it really drew me out and made me who I am today. So I really owe my life to video games.”

At the top of his list of favorite titles are, surprise, the WWE series. He is always impressed with the franchise’s newest edition of the game. It’s no different than with “WWE 2K16,” which arrives in North America on Oct. 27 and internationally on Oct. 30.

“The game play is cool,” Woods said. “There are many aspects that have been drawn out of it with a couple of changes. For example, you have this different reversal system. So those who have played it in the past will be able to pick it up, and people who are new to it will still be able to play it and have fun. Then if they want to learn more things they can. So it’s really for everyone to play… It would be a new kind of awesome for me to see our New Day entrance in a video game. That’s what we want because we are nerds. If we can see that ridiculous entrance on Xbox, then we made it.”

- If The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E, Xavier Woods) successfuly defends its tag team titles on WWE Monday Night Raw, The New Day will face the Dudley Boyz at Night of Champions which starts 8 p.m. EST Sunday, Sept. 20 on WWE Network and pay-per-view from the Toyota Center in Houston.

Also, Seth Rollins defends the WWE World championship against Sting and the United States title versus John Cena.

Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and TBA vs. The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper and Braun Strowman).

Rusev with Summer Rae wrestles Dolph Ziggler.

And more.

- Visit https://wwe.2k.com/ for the latest “WWE 2K16” video game announcements.

- Follow Xavier Woods on Twitter @XavierWoodsPHD

- Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN

- Pro Wrestling On The Web

http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/fighting/

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