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Xavier Woods thinks his PhD is more important than his winning the WWE title would be

One of the joys of watching WWE since WrestleMania has been watching The New Day faction go from a divisive babyfaces that many, including myself, saw as a lazy racial stereotype to an entertaining heel group where each member is getting a chance to display their personality and talents.

We've talked quite a bit here at Cageside about Big E, and Kofi Kingston made quite an impression on The Generalearlier this week. Now it's Xavier Woods time to shine, as the NXT and TNA alumnus talked to The PodNasty Wrestling Podcast as he was promoting the ESPN E:60 documentary that premeired on Tuesday, May 5th.

In the interview, Woods talked about their initial idea behind the positivity gimmick - and his version doesn't include Vince McMahon or Kevin Dunn telling the trio to dance or impersonate Tyler Perry:'s maybe one of the only positive things on television, because you turn on the news and there's death, murder, car crashes and everything. Here's a positive thing with three guys, all college educated, all college athletes, all very eloquent so we'll preach a positive message like ‘do well in life and go to school, make sure you work out you could be big and strong like E, make sure if you stretch a lot you can be flexible and agile like Kofi and make sure if you read your books you could be smart like Woods.'

And then we realized after a few months it turned into ‘people don't like those who are happy. So it's kind of like a play on society, essentially, people of American society.

Back in the 80s, if someone's happy, someone's doing well, someone's getting hardships, you cheered for that person. But now it's 2015, and they don't like that. They want someone who's grimy and who doesn't like people and who doesn't smile and isn't happy and wants to punt a puppy across a football field. If that happened, people would be watching and it would get 3 million views on YouTube because it's something that's horrible so essentially society has created this thing where people like to see car wrecks, and they want to see a hot mess and they want to see a fall from grace. So if you don't have those things people are going to boo you because that's not entertaining to them, they want to see a mess, they want to see somebody fall on the sidewalk and bust their lip on the ground. They don't like nice things.

Now, I'd disagree with X on a few things, and not just because he's dancing on the line of "fans don't get it" that we've covered several times in the past few months. It's not that people won't embrace positive images, it's that WWE didn't give us the background he does here. Fans weren't presented with a whole lot of "be strong like E, be agile like Kofi and be smart like Woods". We got dancing and clapping and Big talking like one of Arsenio Hall's characters in Coming to America.

Regardless, it seems WWE and the fans agree that, however we got to the current version of the characters who hold the tag titles, it was a good thing and an example of what happens when Creative listens to the audience:

I'm not sure why things changed, but in light of recent developments of New Day it's great that they did because to me rather than someone just coming out and the character just being there, it's nice to be able to see that character evolve over time.

Which is exactly, The New Day have characters, whereas before they were caricatures.

An example of the kinds of things that may have helped crowds embrace the good guy version of the group is Woods' feelings about his real-life academic accomplishments as opposed to scripted wrestling ones:

I feel like we have the opportunity as WWE Superstars to make some sort of impact on lives whether it's one kid or whether it's an adult. Yes, guys have been WWE World Heavyweight champion, and it's amazing...

But if there's a kid who's out there in the world watching wrestling and they see me and they know I have my PhD while I was wrestling, that could possibly inspire them to not drop out of school, to not drop out of college, to go and obtain that type of educational status, and that to me means a lot more.

However we got here, the future looks bright for Xavier Woods and his stable-mates.

What do you think about X's views on the group's progression from loathed babyfaces to beloved heel champs?

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