This past week, WWE Superstar Xavier Woods, one-third of the WWE’s most popular attractions in the New Day alongside Big E and Kofi Kingston, appeared on the Corridor Cast podcast to discuss his career in the WWE. After telling how he created the concept of the New Day, by approaching two other underutilized WWE Superstars in Big E and Kofi Kingston, he talks about how he bet his entire WWE career on the New Day’s success in a wager with WWE head honcho, Vince McMahon himself.
It’s been a long road to the WWE for Xavier Woods. The 32-year old Georgia native began his journey in professional wrestling in 2005, training with 23-year Pro, Rob Adonis. He started out in the Georgia indies, debuting with Anarchy Wrestling in 2006 as Austin Creed. Over the next year, he would continue to work with Anarchy, as well as Full Impact Pro, Deep South Wrestling and others.
By the end of 2007, he was signed by TNA/IMPACT Wrestling, debuting as the newest member of former NFL player Pacman Jones‘ Team Pacman squad, replacing Jones in a TNA Tag Team title defense alongside Ron “The Truth” Killings (now WWE Superstar R-Truth). Debuting as Rasheed Lucius Creed, the unit lost their titles that night at TNA Bound For Glory 2007, but Creed was now a rising star with TNA.
He was almost immediately repackaged, now as Consequences Creed, and became a singles competitor in the TNA X-Division, where he routinely challenged for the belt, against contenders like AJ Styles, Sonjay Dutt, Alex Shelley, and Johnny Devine, as well as against then X-Division Champion Petey Williams. By the end of 2008, he returned to the TNA Tag Team division, pairing with Jay Lethal in the team Lethal Consequences and capturing the TNA World Tag Team Championship in December. But despite holding the belts for a short time, Lethal Consequences never got he full push they deserved, and after a short feud with new tag team Generation Me (better known as The Young Bucks) in early 2010, Woods departed TNA.
He returned to the Indies, winning the ECWA Super 8 Tournament that year, and headed to New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), where he competed in the 2010 Super Junior Tag Team Tournament, where he was paired alongside a young Kota Ibushi. By the end of the summer, he had signed with the WWE and assigned to their developmental system, Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW).
He originally debuted in FCW as Austin Watson, in a “brothers” tag team with now NXT commentator Percy Watson, but the Watson Brothers last barely a month before he was given his new WWE name, Xavier Woods. He would spend the bulk of the year in tag team action again, winning the FCW Tag Team Championships with Wes Brisco. In 2012, he returned to singles action, in matches against Cesaro, Adam Rose (then Leo Kruger), Bray Wyatt (then Husky Harris), Kassius Ohno, and others, before transitioning to NXT.
While he remained in NXT for another year or so, he would also flirt on the main roster, reunited with his former TNA partner R-Truth in a short-lived tag team, feuding against the team of 3MB (Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre & Jinder Mahal). The future was starting to look dim for the newest WWE Superstar and it had barely started.
In September of 2014, with his team with R-Truth now dead in the water, Woods had decided he needed to change. “I finally got to the main roster, wasn’t really doing anything at this point, I felt like I’d been wrestling long enough at this point where I trusted my instincts, and I’d been mentally not in a good place,” he told the Corridor Cast. “I was kind of downtrodden, kind of complaining about everything all the time. And then one of my friends…he told me ‘I’m really tired of you complaining about everything…listen, you’ve been complaining about the same stuff for three years. Shut up and do something about it.'” This was just the spark Woods needed to refocus himself.
“It’s kind of a thing like betting on yourself. So that’s when I approached E and Kofi and was like ‘Hey, I have this idea. I want to do this'”, he continued. “Kofi, obviously already established, one of the most decorated humans to ever come through the WWE, E had just come off being Intercontinental Champion, and I hadn’t done anything but get beat up by a ton of people for a few months.” Surprisingly, Kofi and E were down with the idea and after presenting it to the WWE brass, the New Day was given the green light.
“When they let us make the group, we were good guys,” he shared, “and we thought we should be bad guys. After a while, some things happened and people were chanting ‘NEW DAY SUCKS’ and it’s like, ‘Yes! This is cool!’ they’ll let us turn a corner and be bad guys now. And they thought that because Kofi had been a babyface for so long that they wouldn’t boo him.” It was then that Xavier decided to put all the cards on the time and take a gamble on his own career and he went right to the top to make that wager – to Vince McMahon himself.
“We’re in control of that. I went to Vince McMahon,” he continued, “and said if you give me a microphone for four weeks in a row, I guarantee you, that they’ll boo Kofi Kingston. And he’s like, ‘You really believe in this stuff that much?’ and I said ‘Yes, I believe that I can do it.’ And he goes “Four weeks? If you don’t do it in four weeks, then what happens?’ I said if I don’t do it in four weeks, you’ve got 60 dudes in developmental that deserve this spot more than I do. ‘So I can send you home? Get rid of you?’ I said ‘You should if I can’t do it.'” Vince took the wager, and the rest was history.
The New Day has now become one of the WWE’s biggest merchandise machines and whether they’ve won titles (and they’ve won five WWE Tag Team Championships, including the WWE record-setting 483-day reign) or not, they continue to be one of the most over acts in the WWE.
You can hear the entire interview below (the story above starts around the 26 minute mark).