We don't know anything for sure yet, rumors are swirling that WWE has decided to not go forward with the alliance between Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston and Big E that started on Raw in July and continued onto Main Event before disappearing from our screens.
Maybe the faction is just cooling their jets along with Stardust, Goldust and the cosmic key, waiting for SummerSlam to pass and mid-card minutes to become available.
But the Dusts have still been granted occasional vignettes to keep their story in fans' minds, and Stardust hasn't been jobbing as Cody Rhodes in the meantime. If there are still plans to push the threesome, the past couple of weeks - including solo losses from E on last Friday's Smackdown and Kofi on last night's Main Event while working face - is a curious way to set it up.
So this post works off a premise based on what WWE has shown us since July...that there was a plan to unite former Intercontinental champs Big E and Kofi Kingston under the leadership of a repackaged Xavier Woods, but that plan has been scrapped.
Why? Conventional wisdom has it that race issues that are always simmering in America have hit the front pages with Eric Garner's death in New York while in police restraint and the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, also by law enforcement officials. Based on the company getting hit from the right and the left over the heel characters of Jack Swagger & Zeb Colter and Rusev & Lana in the past few years, and with their handling of internal racism/racial insensitivity in the news lately due to Alberto Del Rio's dismissal, public relations and/or legal advice lead to the decision to not launch another "black power" storyline given WWE's current standing and the climate of current events.
While most fans assumed that Woods' recruitment of the two African-American men was leading to a storyline where the group complained they were being kept out of the main event due to their race - the internet wrestling community quickly dubbed them "the new Nation" in reference to the Attitude Era stable the Nation of Domination lead by Ron Simmons in his Faarooq character - nothing in the content of Woods' promos explicitly stated that their issue was racism, kayfabe or real.
Count me among the many who were concerned about WWE tackling a difficult topic like racial justice. The Real Americans have either been isolationist xenophobes or good old boy patriots with little shading or nuance, and the thought of black activists being painted with the same broad brush was not something I was interested in seeing during my weekly sports entertainment.
But why is that the only idea Creative had for putting the three men together? Each of them is talented and in need of a storyline direction, and the roles they were cast in for this story fit their history and strengths. Xavier is a doctoral candidate who hasn't had a chance to show his smarts in pro wrestling, E is a power lifter pushed too fast without a plan and Kingston is a steady hand capable of amazing feats who has never broken through to the main event.
All of those things remain true if you have no idea what color their skin is.
Couldn't they have been disgruntled for those reasons alone? Add Damien Sandow and Zack Ryder to the mix, and you eliminate discrimination on the basis of color as their core grievance.
All three have been defeated repeatedly by Rusev. Why not have them become a different kind of patriotic stable? One that says anyone can be a great American, and that's why they love America? They could have feuded with Rusev and Swagger!
Wouldn't it have been amazing if they defied expectations and made them a Revenge of the Nerds stable? Woods' NXT character was largely based on his love of 90s anime and Super Sentai. E is a hilarious online presence whose more famous offerings have involved My Little Pony and Toys 'R' Us. Kingston is a comic book fan.
Any idea that Creative could come up with for banding three or more wrestlers together could have been used here.
The problem isn't that they pulled the plug on the "new Nation".
The problem is that "new Nation" is all they could come up with for three guys who just happen to be black.