Xavier Woods achieved his dream his way.
Becoming King of the Ring in WWE has been Woods’ goal since the tournament sparked his wrestling fandom as a kid. He can finally call himself king after getting the win over Finn Balor in the final at the Crown Jewel pay-per-view in Saudi Arabia on Thursday.
The New Day member was the people’s choice. Woods, 35, built a groundswell of support on social media by being a vocal proponent of the bringing King of the Ring back and expressing how much a win would mean to him. After watching Kofi Kingston and Big E both win world titles in the past three years, Woods has a major singles achievement to call his own.
The Post caught up with King Woods after the big moment for some Q&A:
(Edited for clarity and length)
Q: This is a moment you have been dreaming about and talking about for a long time. Is there any way to describe what you’re feeling and what this meant?
A: I feel royal. I can tell you that. On a real note, this is what I cared about in wrestling. This is the first thing that I ever wanted. This is the only thing I ever wanted. So obviously we’re going to use this king situation to take over (WWE) and gain as much control as humanly possible, which will be total control because the SmackDown kingdom belongs to me now.
But as a kid, this is what I was obsessed with. It’s so cool to be part of a tournament because every match matters, every match means something. The fact that I even made it to the finals, it means so much in itself. But then to win and be crowded king, something I always dreamed of and it’s just surreal that it just happened.
Q: You’ve talked a lot about how this was a chance for you to shine as singles wrestler and get this moment. What’s that meant, even if you hadn’t won, to get this opportunity to show people what you can do on your own?
A: It means everything. Because as you stated, this was a chance to break out and show everybody in the company that I have worked in whatever capacity that I can be put in. I’m not just a tag team wrestler. I very much am a tag team wrestler, but I very much believe that singles competitors have a harder time transitioning into tag team wrestlers because tag team wrestling is so complicated and so intricate and there are so many more bodies. I feel like tag team wrestlers have a much better chance at becoming incredible single performers because they are used to so many more bodies and so many more things coming at you. You got to keep your head on a swivel at all time. You don’t know if you’re going to get hit from the left or the right. So for me to be able to translate my tag team success into singles success into become royalty is for me, in my career, literally the best case scenario.
Q: What was cooler, putting the crown on your head or hearing the announcer say, “All hail King Xavier”?
A: I would say putting the crown on my head because I refer to myself as King Woods. I’m going to have to have work with that man with the microphone because he said it incorrectly. It’s going to be very difficult to chant, Hail King Xavier. Too many syllables. So I think Hail King Woods because I want my people to have an easy time.
Q: Did the teenager in you come out grabbing and looked at that crown?
A: The five-year-old in me came out putting this robe on and grabbing the scepter, grabbing this crown. That’s why it meant so much to me because this wasn’t something that just came about in just high school. But this is something that in elementary school when (they ask) what do you want to be when you grow up and (I) say I want to be a pro wrestler, this is what I was thinking about. I wasn’t thinking about anything but the crown. And then later on in life I understood the concept of friendship that became such a big part of my life. That’s when I gravitated toward tag team wrestling but still always that idea of becoming king and having the crown as just the main goal in the back of my mind, that itch that I had to get scratched, the thing that would make me stay awake at night.
Seeing Kofi become heavyweight champion, seeing E become heavyweight champion, I’m so happy for my friends and their success and it’s just real love when you’re honestly happy for somebody to do something. I’m just glad that I was able to show the world that I’m pulling my weight in this group, too. We all have accolades that we can talk about. We are all success in our own right. It feels good to shut the haters down.
Q: What has it meant to just see the outpouring of support you’ve gotten, whether it’s from the fans, wrestlers in your company, in other companies? It just seems like there has been this push and love for what’s gone on with you in this tournament.
A: It’s nice, because obviously as you know, wrestling is very different from what it used to be 10 years ago, 15, 20 years ago. With the advent of social media, you can connect with people in positions like I am on television where people like me want to interact with people who are interacting with our product. So it’s cool to be able to talk to those people directly and let them know how I honestly feel about things and how much things really mean to me. Because I think everyone can relate to things like that. They can relate to somebody who has a goal, who has a dream that they’re trying to achieve. They’re seeing that person work hard just like that are in life, whether that’s to get a new job, whether it’s to get a promotion, whether it’s to get a significant other, to get a new car. So I think that people really resonate with the fact that I have unbashfully been screamed at the top of my lungs for King of the Ring to come back ever since I’ve been on the main roster. And I feel like that fact that in 2019 I got passed up for it, I took that hit very personally.
Being in the tournament off the rip, I felt incredible. So every time I advanced that feeling grew and I think that people felt that with me because when someone is genuine and they tell you how they really feel it’s really hard to not roll with that because you can relate in some shape or form.
I really think social media gave me that opportunity. Doing things like (the show) “Up, Up, Down, Down” gave me that opportunity. Being in a gaming space and not a wrestling space gave me that opportunity. There are a bunch of gaming nerds who I relate with and we’re relating on a different level. When I make those kinds of friends and those kind of fans in the gaming space, they go “Oh you wrestle?” and they start watching wrestling and they go, “What’s King of the King?” And then through my social media I’m able to explain that to them so they can understand it, even if they don’t watch the product yet. When they see that I’m in a match and I’m excited and I’m ready to go and this is the most important thing in my career, they tune in because we have that connection. It’s not something that you gain from seeing someone on TV. It’s a personal connection with meeting with them, from conversing with them on Twitter, Instagram, whatever it is. So when these things happen, I think that people really feel it. And that, to me, is the new version of pro wrestling. Everything doesn’t have to be done on screen on the show.
I think that me winning this crown is an extremely good example of that. While in promos every once in a while would drop hints of the King of the Ring. I think 85 percent of what I did was on social media, or “Up, UP, Down, Down” or in the gaming space. To see the effects of it, it tells me that what I’ve been doing, being weird and not being the traditional type of guy, not just falling into whatever mold I was given but being myself first and foremost and having people tell me, no you should be tougher, you could be angrier, you should do this, you should do that. I absolutely refused because that stuff sucks to me. I don’t want to do that. It doesn’t suck in general. For some people that’s fantastic. I don’t want that. I want to use different tools in my tool box to build the same house and show people you don’t have to follow the same path. You can carve a new path for yourself. Just because somebody tells you it’s not gonna work or they don’t believe in it doesn’t mean you can’t do it and this is a prime example.
Q: You didn’t get a moment on camera with Big E or Kofi. I’m assuming E was back at Gorilla (Position) for his match when you cane through. Did you guys get a moment?
A: I got to see E. Kofi unfortunately was not here, but I’ll see him very, very soon. E’s match was next, so yeah, just waiting there with a big old hug and his heavyweight title around his waist ready to go out and do some damage. It was fantastic to be able to see him. There really was like one other person I wish was here and he knows I’m thinking about him.
Q: Who is that?
A: Tyler Breeze.
Q: Why Tyler?
A: That’s my guy. We were in developmental all the way together. We lived together. We were like attached at the hip for so long and everything that I’ve done in my career he’s been there and was right next to me when I did everything. I was there next to him and when did everything. That’s somebody that I wish was able to be here and share this with me. But I’m going to go call him right now after I go call the family. Call the wife and kids, let them know they’re royalty, too.
Q: Where do you hope to go from here? Do you hope this becomes a chance for you to do more singles matches, to go after a singles title?
A: The thing that’s interesting about the word hope, is people who hope to do things are not kings. The people who do do things are kings. I’m going to make sure that I have more opportunities in whatever realm I chose, whether that’s in tag team or single competition. I’ll tell you right now, in whatever sense it happens, I’m gonna pop off. I’m about to pop off hard in a very non-traditional way. Because if you’ve followed my career, it’s something that drives me and this is what passion is. This crown is a physical representation of all the work that I’ve done and everything that I’ve been attempting to achieve for so long. Now that I have it, people have to see it. People have to recognize it. It feels amazing. I’m going to use that to do literallywhatever I want. I hope you’re ready for it because I am.
WWE’s “Friday Night SmackDown” airs Fridays at 8 p.m. on Fox and the “Monday Night Raw” will have its season premiere this coming week (8 p.m., USA Network).
Credit: Source link