By Anthony Zevoteck
The New Day as we know today weren’t always about over-the-top twerking, unicorn magic and trombone solos.
Would you believe there was a time when they were resented by the WWE fans and had “go-away heat” as babyfaces?
It took some work to get from point A to point B but it has been done nevertheless and it’s time to celebrate the feat.
The feisty trio of Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods came to fruition on Jul. 21, 2014, but they officially adopted the “New Day” moniker on Nov. 3 that year.
To that point, all three guys had some main roster success, the most notable of the three being Kingston, who wowed us with his energetic, high-flying athleticism from his WWE-ECW days right on to reigns with the Intercontinental Championship, WWE World Tag Team Championships and the WWE United States Championship.
A close second was Big E, who was already the second-ever NXT Champion and an established Intercontinental Champion since debuting as Dolph Ziggler’s bodyguard in a major storyline in 2012.
Woods was newest to the spotlight, but had a following from his TNA days and swept fans with his solid in-ring skills and emphasis on intelligence, part of what was used to spark the “idea” of him offering to form the stable with Big E/Kingston.
At the time, the three had no momentum separately and appeared to be destined as Main Event and Superstars material until an inevitable release, but once fans got to see the spark of New Day’s wave of positivity and sleek in-ring chemistry, they had some hope.
On paper, New Day was a great pairing. Kingston was the high-flyer, Big E the muscle and Woods the smart, versatile one. Their spots were cool and won fans over by the end of matches.
There was one problem though.
Somewhere along the way though in early 2015, New Day’s positive gospel-esque gimmick was shot down by fans and critics alike. An early sign was at Royal Rumble 2015 when all New Day members were booed during their entrances when a babyface reaction was expected. Nobody wanted to cheer three happy guys with no personalities. It didn’t feel real. It wasn’t believable.
Fans booed anything New Day-related and feared the team winning the Championships, even turning the team’s trademark rhythmic clap into a “New… Day Sucks!” chant that began to catch on for the wrong reasons.
This appeared to be another case of Vince McMahon stubbornly sticking to his ideological guns, but with the rising popularity of heel tag team Tyson Kidd/Cesaro came the perfect opportunity to pull off a double turn during their rivalry and it worked out when New Day won their first Tag Team Championships via Kingston pulling on the tights at Extreme Rules 2015.
New Day began to cheat in other people’s matches and adopted self-righteous attitudes, emphasizing their positivity in a condescending manner. The fans’ anger was finally embraced and the trio began to think outside of the box with entertaining promos that both busted guts and insulted fans all in one.
Woods began to trash-talk at ringside during their matches, shouting terms like “Tricep Meat!” and all hell broke loose when a trombone was brought into the act, going full comedic. It was a smart move and one needed in the worse way.
After all, when a babyface gimmick doesn’t work, give it the old heel turn and more than likely, you’re in for a success.
Everything’s going fine for the “unicorns” that are constantly involved in some of the best Raw/Smackdown matches and there’s no reason this has to stop anytime soon. Continue to showcase the excellent in-ring and mic skills of this young group and it gives you heels that can be used at any spot on the show.
Their one-year anniversary was celebrated recently on Raw with a “country music jamboree” that proved to be another in a continuing line of wonderful segments that also included a Thanksgiving “potluck dinner” on Smackdown where we saw a surprise appearance by The Gobbledy Gooker. Is it possible for these guys to have a bad match or segment? Quite simply, no.
What’ll the future hold for The New Day?
Let’s start by saying that more gold’s the answer. A possible new Intercontinental or United States Championship run by Kingston would allow Big E/Woods the opportunity to control the tag team division while Kingston feuds with the likes of Neville, Cesaro (upon his return), and Ziggler. Think of the greatness that’d come from that.
They’ve recently been featured in major storylines, aligning with the newly formed League Of Nations, but they should have even more of a presence at the top of the card.
Why can’t a clash with The Usos for the Tag Team Titles main event a Smackdown? You can even put that high up on the Raw card sometime in the third hour.
For the team to truly be taken seriously though down the road, because this group holds potential WWE World Heavyweight Champions, they must drop the comedic aspect of the gimmick. While that’s hard to write, because I honestly laugh uncontrollably every time Big E dances with a ridiculous facial expression and shouts “Booty,” the World Champion should be a confident, serious individual.
The laughter must go away one day. Trust me, it’ll be worth it.
For now though, it’s hard not to feel the power of positivity as I hold my finger to my forehead unicorn style while gyrating my hips whenever the group graces my television weekly.
You fellow readers should join me in recognition of a positive influence on wrestling that’ll hopefully entertain us for years to come and be the true springboard for the careers of Kingston, Big E and Woods, who haven’t even touched their prime yet.
“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.
– The opening segment between Roman Reigns and WWE World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus was paint-by-numbers in terms of selling their Tables, Ladders and Chairs match at (where else?) TLC. We liked the idea of Reigns starting out by talking about growing up with his Uso cousins and how they bounced around the house, transitioning into the dastardly events that led to him losing his first Title in less than five minutes at Survivor Series. Sheamus was energetic on the mic, giving us glimpses of his old babyface days, going for the jokes, but something still didn’t click, even with all the canned heat. How many jokes did Sheamus make about Reigns’ short reign? Geez. Reigns tried to gain the advantage by challenging Sheamus to a fight while the heel Champion turned it down and called out Reigns’ failures once again, before Reigns described the weapons conveniently in the ring as a visual aid to what he looked to do at TLC. This didn’t advance the feud in any way, just reminded us of what we already knew. Yawn.