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The New Day (professional wrestling)

The New Day is a professional wrestling stable in WWE, consisting of Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods (with Woods currently inactive due to injury). They compete on the SmackDown brand, where Big E and Kingston are representing The New Day as the current SmackDown Tag Team Champions in the stable's record setting fifth reign (individually the fourth reign for Kingston and record fifth reign for Big E). As tag team champions, The New Day generally defend the titles under the Freebird rule, with all three members being recognized as champions.

The New Day
The New Day WrestleMania 32 Axxess.jpg
From left to right: Woods, Big E, and Kingston at WrestleMania Axxess in April 2016
Stable
MembersBig E
Kofi Kingston
Xavier Woods
Name(s)The New Day
Billed heightsBig E: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Kingston: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Woods: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Combined
billed weight
702 lb (318 kg)
DebutJuly 21, 2014
Years active2014–present

The stable originally debuted on the July 21, 2014 episode of Raw, but made their official television debut as The New Day in November 2014. In April 2015 at Extreme Rules, they won their first WWE Tag Team Championship. They lost the championship to The Prime Time Players the following month at Money in the Bank, but won it back in August at SummerSlam; their second reign became the longest in the title's history, the first to last more than a year, the last with the title being the sole tag team championship in WWE, and subsequently the first to hold the title when it was renamed to Raw Tag Team Championship in September 2016. On December 14, 2016, they became the longest reigning tag team champions in WWE history (beating Demolition's 28-year-old record of 478 days with WWE's original World Tag Team Championship) and, at that time, the longest reigning champions for any WWE championship over the last two decades; they lost the title four days later to Cesaro and Sheamus. After being drafted to SmackDown in April 2017, the stable went on to capture the SmackDown Tag Team Championship on a record five separate occasions, making The New Day seven-time tag team champions.

The early months of the stable were marked by largely negative reactions to their personas from fans and critics alike, but after turning into villains in April 2015, they began to receive acclaim for their entertainment value, as well as for their in-ring performances.[1][2][3][4] In 2015, the trio were collectively named "WWE Wrestler of the Year" by Rolling Stone, while also being recognized as the "Best Gimmick" of the year by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.[5][6] Additionally, they became the first trio to win the Pro Wrestling Illustrated award for "Tag Team of the Year", doing so in 2015 and 2016 (the first two wins in a row in this category for two decades). Their popularity resulted in the trio reverting to fan favorites in early 2016.

HistoryEdit

Background and formationEdit

After wrestling in WWE's developmental territories Deep South Wrestling (DSW), Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) and Florida Championship Wrestling, Kingston made his debut on ECW in January 2008 and has since won many championships in WWE such as the Intercontinental Championship, United States Championship, World Tag Team Championship and WWE Tag Team Championship. Big E began his career in FCW and NXT, becoming the second NXT Champion after defeating Seth Rollins.[7] On the December 17, 2012 episode of Raw, he made his main roster debut attacking John Cena and aligning himself with Dolph Ziggler and AJ Lee. In November 2013, he won the Intercontinental Championship. Woods signed to WWE in 2010 and worked in FCW and NXT until the November 18, 2013 episode of Raw, when he made his main roster debut.[8]

The Rise of The New Day (2014–2015)Edit

On the July 21, 2014 episode of Raw, after Big E and Kingston suffered another loss as a tag team in a recent losing streak, Woods came down to address the two and he declared that they could not "get ahead by kissing babies and shaking hands", and that it would be "their time to shine".[9] The duo then joined Woods and on the following day on Main Event, Woods managed Big E and Kingston to a decisive victory over Slater-Gator (Heath Slater and Titus O'Neil).[10] However, the group disappeared from television soon after (although they continued to make appearances together at house shows).[11][12][13][14]

 
The New Day appearing in their original blue outfits on Main Event in January 2015

From the November 3 episode of Raw, WWE began airing vignettes for Big E, Kingston and Woods, with the stable now being billed as The New Day, displaying a heroic black gospel gimmick.[15] The New Day made their in-ring debut on the November 28 episode of SmackDown in a winning effort against Curtis Axel, Heath Slater and Titus O'Neil.[16] On the December 1 episode of Raw, Kingston and Woods competed in a tag team turmoil match to determine the number one contenders for the WWE Tag Team Championship, eliminating Gold and Stardust, before being eliminated by Tyson Kidd and Cesaro.[17] At the TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pre-show on December 14, Big E and Kingston defeated Goldust and Stardust.[18]

On the January 5, 2015 episode of Raw, while Big E was on his way to a victory against Adam Rose, the team of Kidd and Cesaro, masquerading as Rosebuds, interfered by laying out Woods on the outside and performing their finisher on Big E in the ring.[19] At the Royal Rumble, The New Day's winning streak came to an end when Tyson Kidd and Cesaro defeated Big E and Kingston.[20] A fatal four-way match for the WWE Tag Team Championship took place on the WrestleMania 31 pre-show on March 29, including The New Day, but they failed to win the championship.

Longest-reigning Tag Team Champions (2015–2017)Edit

On the March 30 episode of Raw, they were involved in an eight-man tag team match alongside The Lucha Dragons (Kalisto and Sin Cara) against Kidd, Cesaro and The Ascension.[21] During the match, the live audience responded negatively to The New Day with loud "New Day sucks!" chants which carried over into the following weeks.[22] When asked about the crowd's disapproval of them in a backstage interview on the April 6 episode of Raw, The New Day claimed that they were hurt and responded in a more aggressive tone, yet maintained their upbeat nature. During their following match against The Lucha Dragons, Kingston attempted a cheap shot from the outside, even though he was not actually involved in the bout, turning all three men into heels in the process.[23] On the April 20 episode of Raw, The New Day defeated The Lucha Dragons via countout to become the number one contenders for the WWE Tag Team Championship after Woods held onto Sin Cara's feet to prevent him from re-entering the ring.[24]

At Extreme Rules on April 26, The New Day defeated Kidd and Cesaro to capture the WWE Tag Team Championship; Big E and Kingston were the participants in the match, but WWE also recognized Woods as champion under the Freebird Rule, in which any two members of a stable can compete for the titles.[25] At Payback on May 17, Big E and Kingston defeated Kidd and Cesaro in a two-out-of-three falls match to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship after Woods pinned Cesaro, despite not being a legal participant in the match.[26] At Elimination Chamber on May 31, all three New Day members competed in the first-ever tag team Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Tag Team Championship, where they lastly eliminated The Prime Time Players (Darren Young and Titus O'Neil) to retain their titles.[27] However, at Money in the Bank on June 14, Big E and Woods lost the championships to The Prime Time Players. Big E and Kingston then lost their rematch at Battleground on July 19.[28] The New Day would regain the championship after they defeated Los Matadores (Diego and Fernando), The Lucha Dragons and The Prime Time Players in a fatal four-way match at SummerSlam on August 23. The following night on Raw, they were attacked by the returning Dudley Boyz, with Woods being put through a table.[29] This started a feud between the two teams, setting up a title match at Night of Champions on September 20, where Big E and Kingston lost by disqualification, though, by rule, they retained their titles. They lost via disqualification to retain their championships again in a rematch against The Dudley Boyz at WWE Live from Madison Square Garden,[30] but defeated them via pinfall at Hell in a Cell on October 25 to retain the titles, thus ending their feud.[31] The New Day led their own team at Survivor Series including Sheamus and King Barrett, but left the match prematurely to tend to Big E after his elimination.[32] At TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs on December 13, they retained the WWE Tag Team Championship against The Lucha Dragons and The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) in a triple threat ladder match.[33] The New Day then successfully defended their titles against The Lucha Dragons on the special December 22 episode of Super SmackDown Live![34] and against The Usos on January 24, 2016 at the Royal Rumble event.[35]

 
Kingston, Big E and Woods inducting The Fabulous Freebirds into the WWE Hall of Fame in April 2016
 
The New Day appearing on the Raw after WrestleMania 32

At Fastlane on February 21, The New Day began mocking The League of Nations (Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, Rusev and King Barrett), calling them the "League of Booty".[36] They then continued to mock The League of Nations in various segments and skits while simultaneously feuding with other teams and turning into fan favorites in the process.[37] The New Day then retained their titles at Roadblock against Sheamus and Barrett on March 12[38] and the following night on Raw against Del Rio and Rusev, but were attacked by the entire League of Nations afterwards.[39] This led to a non-title six-man tag team match between the two stables at WrestleMania 32 on April 3, where The New Day lost,[40] but Big E and Kingston retained their championships once again against Sheamus and Barrett the following night on Raw.[41] At Payback on May 1, the final match of the tournament to determine the number one contenders for the WWE Tag Team Championship between Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady and The Vaudevillains (Aiden English and Simon Gotch) ended in a no contest after Amore suffered a legitimate concussion during the match.[42] As a result, The New Day faced The Vaudevillains for the WWE Tag Team Championship at Extreme Rules on May 22, where they successfully retained their championship after Kingston interfered.[43] On the May 30 episode of Raw, The New Day defeated The Vaudevillains in a non-title match via disqualification after they were attacked by Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, sparking a feud between them.[44] At Money in the Bank on June 19, The New Day defeated Gallows and Anderson, The Vaudevillains and Enzo and Cass in a fatal-four-way match to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship and, as of that victory, they hold the record for the longest combined reign as a tag team.[45] On the June 20 episode of Raw, The New Day confronted returning The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan and Braun Strowman) and interrupted Wyatt's promo, thus starting a feud between the two teams[46] that would lead to a non-title six-man tag team match at Battleground on July 24, where they would lose.[47][48]

 
The New Day making their entrance in September 2016

During the 2016 WWE draft, The New Day were drafted to the Raw brand, making the WWE Tag Team Championship exclusive to the brand.[49] In parallel to a lengthy feud with Gallows and Anderson over the titles, The New Day became the longest reigning WWE Tag Team Champions in the title's history, breaking the old record of 331 days previously set by Paul London and Brian Kendrick[50] and, after the creation of the SmackDown Tag Team Championship for the SmackDown brand,[51] became the last people to have held their championship as the sole tag team title in WWE and the first to hold it under its new name of Raw Tag Team Championship.[52] The New Day would continue to successfully retain their championships against Gallows and Anderson in the following months, such as SummerSlam on August 21,[53] Clash of Champions on September 25[54] and the following night on Raw, ending their feud in the process.[55]

After their feud with Gallows and Anderson, The New Day began feuding with Cesaro and Sheamus and at Hell in a Cell on October 30, The New Day were defeated by Cesaro and Sheamus via disqualification, but they retained the titles as a result.[56] On the October 31 episode of Raw, The New Day revealed that they were made captain of Team Raw for the 10-on-10 Survivor Series Tag Team Elimination match at Survivor Series.[57] At the event on November 20, they made the first elimination, but were then eliminated themselves by The Usos.[58] However, Team Raw still won the match thanks to Cesaro and Sheamus.[59] On the two following Raw episodes, The New Day successfully retained their titles against Cesaro and Sheamus and then Gallows and Anderson, respectively.[57][60]

On the December 12 episode of Raw, after successfully defending their titles in two successive triple threat tag team matches – first against Cesaro and Sheamus and Gallows and Anderson, and then against the team of Chris Jericho and WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens, and the team of Seth Rollins and United States Champion Roman Reigns – The New Day broke Demolition's 28-year-old record to have the longest single-run with any tag team championship in WWE history.[61] Demolition held this record with WWE's original World Tag Team Championship and still hold the specific record for that (defunct) version of the titles.[62] At Roadblock: End of the Line on December 18, The New Day's reign ended at 483 days after they lost the championships to Cesaro and Sheamus.[63] On the December 26 episode of Raw, The New Day received a rematch, but failed to reclaim the championships.[64] The New Day would go on to host WrestleMania 33, and the following night on Raw, lost to the debuting team The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder). After the match, Kingston was attacked by The Revival, resulting in a legitimate ankle injury.[65][66]

SmackDown Tag Team Champions (2017–present)Edit

 
The New Day at WrestleMania 34

On April 11, 2017, The New Day were moved to the SmackDown brand as part of Superstar Shake-up; however, they did not appear for several weeks due to Kingston's ankle injury. After appearing on Talking Smack on May 23, the trio fully returned on May 30, setting their sights on The Usos' SmackDown Tag Team Championship. In the two teams' first encounter at Money in the Bank, Big E and Kingston won the match by countout, but not the title. In a rematch at Battleground, Kingston and Woods captured the titles; this marked the first time that Woods took an active part in winning a championship and his first championship-winning pinfall in WWE. They lost the title back to The Usos on the SummerSlam 2017 pre-show, regained it on the September 12 episode of SmackDown Live in a Sin City Street Fight, and lost it again in a highly acclaimed Hell in a Cell match at the pay-per-view of the same name. In the build-up to Survivor Series, The New Day helped the rest of the SmackDown roster attack the Raw roster. They also engaged in a rivalry with The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins) of the Raw brand, and on the November 6 episode of Raw, The New Day alone invaded Raw for the second time, ultimately costing Rollins and Ambrose the Raw Tag Team Championship to Cesaro and Sheamus. At Survivor Series, however, The New Day lost to The Shield in an interbrand six-man tag team match.

At Fastlane, The New Day faced The Usos for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship, but the match ended in a no contest after interference from The Bludgeon Brothers (Harper and Rowan). At WrestleMania 34, all three teams competed in a triple threat tag team match for the titles, which The Bludgeon Brothers won.[67] After failing to win the title at SummerSlam, when they defeated the champions by disqualification, The New Day defeated The Bludgeon Brothers in a No Disqualification match two days later on SmackDown to capture the titles for a third time. They held the titles until October 16, 2018, when they were defeated by Cesaro and Sheamus on SmackDown 1000 after Big Show attacked Kingston outside the ring.[68] They would fail to regain the titles at Crown Jewel event. Two weeks later, they made up part of Team SmackDown in a 5-on-5 tag-team elimination match at Survivor Series, in which they defeated Team Raw. At TLC, The New Day would again fail to win the championship from The Bar, in a triple-threat tag team match also involving The Usos. On the January 1, 2019 episode of SmackDown Live, the entire New Day announced their entry into the Royal Rumble match at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view on January 27.

On the February 12 episode of SmackDown Live, one member of The New Day was scheduled to replace Mustafa Ali in the WWE Championship Elimination Chamber match at the namesake pay-per-view after Ali suffered an injury, and Kingston was selected as his replacement. Kingston then participated in a Gauntlet match to determine the last entrant in the Chamber match, where he started off with WWE Champion Daniel Bryan. Kingston lasted over an hour all while eliminating Bryan, Jeff Hardy and Samoa Joe, before being eliminated by AJ Styles.[69] At the pay-per-view, Kingston entered the Chamber match as the third entrant, and managed to eliminate Randy Orton, and lasted until the final two, before being eliminated by Daniel Bryan.

After pinning Daniel Bryan in a in a six-man tag team match, Kingston was granted a WWE Championship match at Fastlane,[70] but was replaced during his contract signing by a returning Kevin Owens per the order of Mr. McMahon.[71] On March 10 at Fastlane, Kingston was apparently added into the title match by McMahon, but after entering the ring, it was instead announced that he would face The Bar in a handicap match, which Kingston subsequently lost.[72] On the SmackDown Live following Fastlane, Kingston was faced with yet another challenge set forth by McMahon. This time, to face Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 35, Kingston would have to defeat Sheamus, Cesaro, Rowan, Samoa Joe, and Randy Orton one after the other in a gauntlet match the following week. Kingston would succeed in the gauntlet match before McMahon told him that he had one more opponent in Daniel Bryan, to whom he would ultimately lose. On the March 26 episode of SmackDown, McMahon announced that Big E and Xavier Woods of The New Day would compete in a tag team gauntlet match, and if they defeated every team, Kingston would go on to WrestleMania to face Bryan for the WWE Championship. Big E and Woods would go on to defeat Gallows and Anderson, Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev, The Bar, The Usos (who forfeited), and the team of Daniel Bryan and Rowan. Mr. McMahon would confirm at the end of the show that Kingston would indeed face Bryan at WrestleMania for the title.[73] At WrestleMania, Kingston won the match to become the WWE Champion for the first time in his career. In doing so, he became the first African-born WWE Champion.[74] On the April 16 episode of SmackDown, Kevin Owens became an honorary member of the stable in the absence of an injured Big E. Kingston, Owens and Woods won their first match together as a team the same night in a six-man tag team match against Cesaro, Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura. The following week, Kingston faced Nakamura in a non-title match where Kingston won via disqualification after Rusev interfered. After the match, Owens attacked both Kingston and Woods thus, disbanding him from the group. The following week, Kingston then challenged Owens to a match at Money in the Bank with his title on the line where Kofi emerged as victorious.[75]

At Extreme Rules, Kingston retained the WWE Championship against Samoa Joe, while Big E and Woods won the SmackDown Tag Team Championship by defeating former champions Daniel Bryan and Rowan, and Heavy Machinery (Otis and Tucker), making The New Day record-tying four-time SmackDown Tag Team Champions (though Kingston was not recognized for this reign due to being the WWE Champion[76]).[77] They lost the titles to The Revival at Clash of Champions,[78] and Kingston lost the WWE Championship to Brock Lesnar during SmackDown's 20th Anniversary on October 4.[79] The New Day then regained the SmackDown Tag Team Championship on the November 8 episode of SmackDown, becoming record five-time champions as a stable with Big E a record five-time champion individually (Woods is not recognized for this reign as he is inactive due to injury).[80]

Characters and receptionEdit

Initially characterized as stereotypical black gospel characters, The New Day received overwhelming negative reviews from fans and critics alike. Jim Ross noted that "today's wrestling fan may be a little hard on the talented trio" due to them "espousing such positivity".[81] ProWrestling.net wrote that The New Day "seem to be all about smiling and dancing; one of the three racial stereotypes WWE assigns to their African-American performers".[3] Entertainment website The A.V. Club called the gimmick "racist" because "they literally pantomime shooting dice when they get into the ring".[82]

 
Xavier Woods' trombone "Francesca", "Booty-O's" cereal, and unicorn horns (all three appearing here on Woods) are an integral part of The New Day's gimmick

Upon transitioning away from the gospel aspect, The New Day developed their own unique identity of frequently excited proponents of positivity, which sees them usually encourage live audiences to clap along with them.[83][84][85] In 2015, Woods began bringing a trombone to the ring and playing it during the group's entrance and matches, later naming the trombone Francesca; after "she" was destroyed by Chris Jericho, Woods replaced her with her sister Francesca II in January 2016; he also introduced her Scottish cousin Agnes (bagpipes) at a Scotland show on November 2016.[86] Following Francesca II's destruction, she was replaced by Francesca II: Turbo, a nod to Street Fighter II: Turbo. Also in late 2015, a unicorn pony was incorporated into The New Day's newest shirt,[87] and the trio began making unicorn gestures, using their fingers as horns and even having interviewers claiming to perceive them having "unicorn magic".[88] The group also began wearing plastic unicorn horns during their ring entrance, and using a team signature move named Unicorn Stampede;[89] this was based on Woods being a fan of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.[90] Also in 2015, The New Day began using the word "booty" as their catchphrase and began occasionally using it to mock other wrestlers and the host city where WWE events would take place, such as calling Birmingham "Bootyham". In 2016, The New Day introduced their "Booty-O's" cereal, while claiming that "They make sure you ain't booty". At WrestleMania 32, the team emerged from a giant "Booty-O's" box wearing Dragon Ball Z-inspired armor (inherited from Woods's earlier gimmick). Later "Booty-O's" shirts became a successful article of merchandise. In early 2018, they also incorporated pancake or flapjacks in their gimmick, throwing it to their enemies or eating it.[citation needed]

In stark contrast to the gospel-based version of The New Day, the new positivity-based version of the group began to receive a very positive reception from fans and critics in mid-2015 after they turned heel and had a series of strong in-ring performances and promos. At times, crowds would chant "New Day rocks" along with the team even though they continued to portray villains on-screen. Kenny Herzog of Rolling Stone named the group as WWE's "Wrestlers of the Year" for 2015, describing them as "a hat-trick of pro-wrestling awesomeness" having "transformed from preachy dreck to a source of constant entertainment".[1] In early 2016, Aaron Oster of The Baltimore Sun described them as "the most entertaining wrestling act of the past few years".[91] Former WWE Champion CM Punk praised The New Day for getting over on their own, and claimed that although he no longer watched WWE-based product, and had also lost his passion for wrestling overall, he would only watch The New Day's segments.[92] At the end of 2015, the group won Wrestling Observer's "Best Gimmick" award.[93] However, some remained critical of the group, with both Jim Ross and Jason Powell from ProWrestling.net suggesting that The New Day should be trying to gain "heel heat" as opposed to being comedic, and in January 2016, following the Royal Rumble, James Caldwell of PWtorch noted that the group's babyface opponents came out "mainly to boos since New Day was too entertaining", adding that the group "don't act overly-heelish to get heat. So, their opponents continue to suffer opposite New Day".[94]

Other mediaEdit

The New Day wrote their first book titled The Book of Booty: Shake It. Love It. Never Be It. The New Day also had a cameo role in the 2016 WWE Studios film,

The Team made their video game debut in WWE 2K16 and have further appeared in WWE 2K17, WWE 2K18 and WWE 2K19.

In 2017, The New Day also made an appearance on the TruTV comedy series Adam Ruins Everything.[95]

Corey Graves announced on his podcast, "WWE After the Bell", that The New Day would launch their own new podcast (produced by WWE and Endeavor Audio) titled "The New Day: Feel the Power", which aired on December 2, 2019.

Championships and accomplishmentsEdit

 
The New Day are two-time and longest reigning Raw Tag Team Champions at 483 days, as well as having the longest combined reign at 532 days
Notes
  1. ^ During their first reign, the championship was called the WWE Tag Team Championship, but midway through their second reign, it was renamed to Raw Tag Team Championship following the 2016 brand split. For both reigns, all three members were recognized as champion under the Freebird Rule.
  2. ^ During the first three reigns, all three members were recognized as champion under the Freebird Rule. For the fourth reign, only Big E and Woods were recognized as Kingston was the reigning WWE Champion, and for the current fifth reign, only Big E and Kingston are recognized as Woods is inactive due to an injury.

ReferencesEdit

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