New Day: From YAWN…To Unicorn!
By Robert Horton - @robhorton86
When Vince McMahon and the WWE creative sat in a darkened room, and decided to throw Xavier woods, Kofi Kingston and Big E Langston into a stable and present them to the WWE universe as the NEW Day, I felt my stomach churn more than it did when Mae Young gave birth to the Hot Chocolate Mark Henry’s hand-child.
Having sat through the weeks of teaser trailers and watching our three zeros prancing around in front of a gospel choir proclaiming the word harder than James Brown in the Blues Brothers, I couldn’t help but think to myself how the moments of their origins went down in the WWE creative department.
Vince: Hey! I know what we’ll do with our three generic black guys! We’ll put them into an evangelical gospel group where they can be… three generic evangelical black guys!
Creative: Yes Master! This is better than your annoying Bunny angle to help lift Adam Rose into the upper mid-card.
And so they became the ethnic equivalent to the Three Man Band: a laughing stock; a mockery of years and years of hard work to make it in the biggest wrestling franchise in the world. Granted, I wasn’t their biggest fan as solo superstars to say the least, but I couldn’t help pitying them. Their baby-face get-up was so cliché and their promos so preachy, it was like Big E was spending his free time (between the gym and wiping away at his sweaty brow) watching Martin Luther King Jnr speeches on Youtube, pressing repeat, and then practicing in front of the mirror to make sure he had the tone and pitch just right.
Of course, the inevitable happened: rejection; rejection on a major scale. If I’m being honest, I think it’s fair to say they were awful. Out they’d come one by one and hit a ridiculous pose as if they were three variations of Apollo Creed only for a badly timed pyrotechnic blast that seemed to be apologising for itself, like a man with erectile dysfunction- an anti-climax to say the least. And what happened? They were beaten in three.
I mean, come on! Really? What felt like months (and it really did feel like months) of build-up, to be beaten in a tag team tornado match by the Road Warriors. Sorry, I meant the second coming- The Ascension. Inevitably, they dwindled, became nothing more than a slot-filler or a squash match; it felt increasingly like New Day’s day was done.
Now, I don’t know what goes on behind closed doors at WWE HQ and how much credit Triple H actually deserves, but one thing I do know is that he was (and still is I presume) very keen on reinvigorating the Tag-team division, so he stuck with New Day even though they were being treated like heels by the waves of WWE fans at any number of house shows that they happened to be working. But what I will argue is that Kingston and Langston should be very grateful to Xavier Woods.
Of the three, he was the one who made the best of an increasingly bad situation. Let it be said that Kingston and Langston are solid workers in the ring, and although Woods is none too shabby in the ring himself, it’s the charismatic work he does out and around the ring that has helped project this team of generic evangelical black men from yawn, to the back of a unicorn that has carried them to the main event of WWE.
Exhibit A: New Day Rocks (CLAP CLAP)!
This cheer/ chant/ clap goes beyond annoying- that Vince probably wishes he had it in place for the Spirit Squad. But boy does it work! It’s irritating, people don’t want to join in. of course they don’t. Instead, in typical WWE fan fashion they change the key word ‘Rocks’ to ‘Sucks’- John Cena must be grateful for the day off! But did Xavier Woods let this dissuade him? Nooooo! He helped correct the fans. Heel 101, if you want an audience or fan-base to detest you more than they already do, patronise them- and Woods with his nasally, whiney voice played this to perfection.
Exhibit B: the Trombone
The first time I saw this I laughed because I thought it was just sheer stupidity. When I realised that Woods was parodying himself I laughed harder, particularly when he’s trying to play his theme song (among others- John Cena Sucks!) without moving the slider. Genius! If his annoying manager/ in ring competitor character couldn’t be more intolerable, he gives himself a voice during matches when otherwise he’d be silent at ring-side, pulling the odd leg for a distraction. The trombone also doubles up quite nicely as a weapon, but for me, allowing Woods a voice for projection during a match, as well as his superb mic work keeps the fans thinking about the team- his segments, alongside Bray Wyatt, are in my opinion the strongest on the card, but of course, for entirely different reasons. It’s also worth mentioning that having a trombone/ Kazoo off with Edge and Christian shows just how much faith WWE now have in this tag-team. The Dudley’s were also present in this segment and the Hardy’s were mentioned. The Music battle was funny, really funny. But placing New Day with these brilliant tag teams is a testament to the hard work paying off.
Exhibit C: Save the Tables
The Best thing to happen to New Day, along with Xavier Woods’s new found confidence, is undoubtedly the return of The Dudley Boys. Instantly, their presence projected the tag team division forward as recognised legends of the business, and immediately established themselves as oppositions to the New Day. So what happens? A masterclass in whiney bad guy by Woods. The Save the Tables Campaign is absurd, and entertaining; it’s something Stephen Richards would have tried to achieve during the run of the Right to Censor.
As is standard in the professional wrestling soap opera, we as fans crave the moment the manager gets their comeuppance; whether it be Paul Heyman, or indeed Vicki Guerrero. When Bubba Rey and D-Von put Woods through a table on at least two separate occasions the fan base went mad!Woods’s capitalisation on this was excellent. The promos he cut, alongside Langston and Kingston, in regards to saving the tables were brilliant.
The fact that he appeared so genuine in his cause only added to his delusions and our enjoyment. It ten-folded his annoying-ness, to coin a term, but also showed some well-deserved faith from the WWE creative department in letting him run with this campaign. The New Day, are here to stay!
Exhibit D: the Unicorn Horn
Whoever can be credited with this catchphrase is a bona-fide genius! Off the back of the Save the Tables campaigns and the increasing delusions of the New Day, comes the Unicorn Horn! But of course, as with the rest of this article, my bias sways towards Woods. Hospital bed, bandaged up, grimacing… Unicorn Horn. All uploaded on Twitter. What more could any wrestling fan want?
The comedy factor of this alone deserves to keep the New Day as champions for longer. But utilising Twitter to extend the storyline and keep it fresh in the fans minds is smart to say the least. Over the last few years WWE have been really good at getting their superstars to update regularly on social- networking sites in character. Although this may not be as memorable as the Rollins insta-gate scandal- it certainly adds to the New Day movement.
It’s also the irony of the Unicorn Horn that works so well. It’s blindingly obvious why they do it! But they carry off their naivety so well! For those who love the New day, they can wear their Unicorn horns loud and proud; and for those who think they’re dickheads, well, they can do that to.
In closing, I get it, I’ve completely fan-girled Woods (except in the final paragraph where I was slightly more balanced), but I hope not too much at the expense of Kingston and Langston- they both fulfil their roles excellently, and have made something that looked like it was ready for the log-pile (alongside the Thee Man band) in to the most credible tag team, champions and all, that the WWE currently has to offer.
My only hope is that WWE don’t mess it up like they has with so many- Cryme Tyme and the Prime Time players come to mind. I didn’t actually intend to reflect so much on race, but my examples are such. These young black superstars are going places and the WWE need to be careful not to bury them- or turn them baby-face, you only need to look at once great prospects like Bobby Lashley or MVP. WWE have a history of not utilising their black talent and although I’ve commented on the generic evangelical gospel element to their personas, this is becoming less and less apart of their character- they’re moving forward as a team with Woods spearheading the attack.
We laugh and boo at the New Day for all the right reasons- that needs to stay. Otherwise, they’ll turn them into a mockery, leaving Langston and Kingston as forgotten lower card wrestlers like R-Truth has become, and potentially, the next great WWE manager on the unemployment list, or worse, on his way to TNA.
Unicorn Horned and Proud!
Catch more of Robert’s pieces at Roberthortonblog.wordpress.com.
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