Xavier Woods, one of the most charismatic superstars of the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), made his return to Manila since being part of WWE Manila 2016. Woods is one-third of WWE’s trio called The New Day, together with Kofi Kingston and Big E. The trio holds the current record of longest reign for the WWE Tag Team Championship. Xavier Woods is also the host of the YouTube video game channel Up Up Down Down, which was honored by the Guinness World Records for having most subscribed-to celebrity video games channel at 1.7 million subscribers.
Woods made a quick stopover to a media event where he gave us a great one-hour chat about Pro Wrestling, Video Games, and throwing pancakes. Here are some highlights of the interview.
On Kayfabe and the Evolution of Pro Wrestling
Woods said that he believes Kayfabe (term used to make staged events/character as ‘true’ in real life) has been dead since 2002. He admitted that while it was important for the industry at one point in time, “it might handicap a lot of people who want to bleed into other worlds…that means I can’t put up a YouTube channel because in kayfabe land I’m in the clouds with unicorns and pancakes and will cut me off from making a job source for myself after wrestling.”
He mentioned how people complain online that wrestlers nowadays use more superkicks these days and say that “[in the past]…superkicks beat people”. Xavier said, “well, before superkicks beat people, suplexes (a move that’s now used as a normal offensive move in wrestling) beat people…and things change…and probably in the next twenty years…there would be 619s (finisher of Rey Mysterio)…like 12 of them to beat someone!” Woods added that, “Wrestling is where it is because it is constantly evolving and it’s a breathing and living thing.”
How UpUpDownDown and Video Games changed the WWE Locker Room
Xavier said that UpUpDownDown made the locker room go “a complete 180.” Before, video games were not allowed inside the locker room. Only recently, due to the popularity of UpUpDownDown, did WWE allow wrestlers to bring their video game consoles. Woods said that video games are now a means of relaxation for them. “Back in the day, it would be cards”, he recalled, “…now, we just do it on a screen. And for us, it has upped the morale a hundred percent…not that we wouldn’t hang out with each other, but there are guys who might not have been as close as each other had they not had a Tekken battle…it helps them in that respect.”
His Different Outlook on Pro Wrestling
Woods mentioned that his stint with the New Day gave him a different look or perspective on Wrestling. Xavier Woods said that “the least important thing about wrestling is the wrestling…[the most important thing about wrestling is] how to get people to be emotionally attached and then they will care about the wrestling.” He would use the in-ring segment of “This is your life, Rock” between Mankind and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as an example that grabbed a LOT of attention and gave WWE high ratings during the height of the WWE vs. WCW ratings war.
Woods and the rest of his compatriots from The New Day have been throwing pancakes to the crowd in the past year during their entrance routine. Xavier Woods explained that it all happened during a lumberjack match between The New Day vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn where he was the ‘chief lumberjack’. When WWE didn’t allow him to wear a fake beard and axe, they thought of what a Lumberjack would eat. Kofi Kingston said lumberjacks eat flapjacks (pancakes). The trio would request a plate-full of pancakes from catering before the match and they would throw said pancakes to the crowd that night. A week later, they would try to do it again after Vince McMahon’s approval and they would keep doing it since then. Xavier explained that, “there’s literally NO reason [why we throw pancakes] other than it’s funny to us.”
Advice to Aspiring Content Creators
Asked about what advice he could give to aspiring content creators, Xavier Woods told us an advice that was also given to him: Do not do it for the money, but because we enjoy doing it. Woods said that if we focus on making content for money then it becomes more of a job or a hassle. He told us to “do it if you enjoy it”.
Our time with Xavier Woods was the most fun experience I had in interviewing a celebrity. He was very funny, animated, and super energetic during the entire time he was with us in the media room. Xavier even serenaded us to start this media panel, and that’s quite awesome for me.
We would like to thank WWE South East Asia and Centaur Marketing Media Relations for inviting us to the Media Roundtable Interview with WWE’s Xavier Woods. I really hope that Xavier and the rest of the WWE crew would return to Manila for one show in the near future.
WIM Photos by: Hub Pacheco