A recent episode of Talk is Jericho with Chris Jericho features the former WWE Tag Team Champions Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Xavier Woods—“The New Day!”
The conversation starts with an explanation as to how the “New Day” came about in the first place. Xavier says that all three men were “floundering” on the main roster, and all seemed to be getting their asses kicked by Rusev. Jericho says that Rusev seems to be New Day’s mortal enemy. They laugh and Xavier says: “We live Rusev now. We like ‘Emo Rusev.’” Big E says that they take pictures of Rusev looking sad backstage and post them in social media. All three men were good friends already and even wore match tracksuits as a joke. Big E and Xavier were the first ones on board, because they felt Vince would never let Kofi turn heel. Kofi was instantly hooked on the idea and they spent months tweaking the concept and presenting it to creative. Kofi says that when Vince was talking about “Millennials not grabbing the brass ring,” he wasn’t talking about them.
Their initial idea was sort of a “funny APA” known as the “Problem Solvers.” They filmed their own vignettes which were said to be very popular with people, even Vince McMahon. After about three weeks Vince called them into his office and said: “I’ve been giving this a lot of thought. And I want you guys to be preachers.” Xavier says that there are “three archetypal black characters in wrestling”—the angry black man, the foreign black man, and the dancing black man. He says, “Vince invented a new stereotype that day.” Xavier gets credit with inventing the clap rhythm; he and Big E joke about sending videos back and forth to one another with different claps. Big E says that he embraced the Preacher gimmick because he was already speaking with a Gospel-like inflection in his voice. In fact, Big E’s father is a preacher, and Big E spent time doing the same in his youth.
The group was intended to be a babyface faction because Vince was convinced they’d be received as fan favorites. The members of the trio knew better, and within a matter of weeks, the fans turned them heel organically. Xavier remembers an 8-man tag team match the night after WrestleMania and the crowd completely turned on them. They went through the curtain and told Vince it was time to pull the trigger on the switch, and Vince agreed. The group was presented with a number of different names to choose from including: House of Positive Energy (HOPE), KBX (Kofi, Big E, Xavier) and “Fresh Coat of Paint.” Their original music was also said to be pretty terrible; all the nerdy white guys in creative wanted an old timey Gospel theme, that Big E says “sounded like something from the 1940s.” They presented them with some “new Gospel” including Kirk Franklin, and the CFO$ created their current theme. They say that they defend their titles using the “New Day Rule”—and Kayfabe-scoff at the mere mention of “Freebird” Michael Hayes. They said that they generally have a say in who competes, but generally rotate.
Chris gets into individual interviews starting with Xavier Woods who says his favorite match he’s ever had was his PPV debut against Petey Williams for the TNA X-Division Championship. He remembers his Consequences Creed character fondly and says that Apollo Creed is the “greatest character ever created from anything.” He says his favorite wrestler growing up was Yuji Nagata, and goes on to say that he preferred WCW over WWE. He got his big break down in DSW when he cut class and drove all the way down from South Carolina. He walked in during a session wearing a “big suit” with his resume in hand. One of the developmental wrestlers was Kofi Kingston. Jody Hamilton gave him a try out match the following week, and Xavier was signed just days before WWE pulled out of DSW. Xavier then did the same thing—with the same suit—down at Florida Championship Wrestling. Kofi was also there, and spoke up to the trainers about how Woods was legit.
Big E says that he always loved wrestling as a kid and grew up watching WCW because he was in the south. His favorite wrestler was Goldberg; Big E remembers meeting Goldberg at a signing and says that he couldn’t have been a nicer guy. When he mentioned that on Twitter recently, Goldberg retweeted him saying: “Pay it Forward.” Big E says that his journey to the WWE isn’t very glamorous and calls himself a “failed football player.” He says that one of his coaches knew Jim Ross, so he sent some “really weird half naked pictures” to Stamford, and was subsequently sent down to Florida Championship Wrestling. His favorite match that he’s ever had was against CM Punk on Monday Night Raw. Big E was working with AJ Lee and Dolph Ziggler for some time, and then was left with nothing, so Punk requested the match. They joke about how he used to be known as “Big E Langston,” and name all of the other wrestlers that have lost either their first or last name. He says that Vince told him “Big E sounds tougher.”
Finally Kofi Kingston talks about getting into the business and the genesis of the Jamaican accent. He says that he was listening to a lot of Damian Marley—particularly his critically acclaimed “Welcome to Jamrock” album. One day he was working on promos in his wrestling school, and started speaking with a Jamaican accent. From that point forward, he was forced to keep the accent up. He says that he and Santino Marella often joke about how they’re the only two guys that have to keep the character up 24/7. Kofi laughs and says that he’d get calls from people with WWE and he’d have to change his voice mid phone call so as to protect the gimmick. He finally dropped the character when a reporter from the BBC contacted him and grilled him about his ancestry. Kofi gave the reporter no information, so he called Kofi’s mother, who gave the entire act away. He says that when the “Trouble in Paradise” vignettes started airing, Vince was none too happy. Kofi was backstage listening on headset to Vince direct the show, but Vince had no idea who was listening. After Kofi’s first vignette Vince said, “That was barely passable.”
They close things up by talking about their friendship and how they pass the time. Big E and Xavier were born in 1986, and therefore call Kofi Kingston—who was born in 1981—“Pops.” They remember back to Halloween 2014 when they were stuck in a city with nothing to do, so they went to the mall. Xavier says, “I was blown away that kids trick-or-treat at the mall—but Kofi was downright disgusted.” Kofi says that taking your kids trick-or-treating at a mall is “offensive” and is an example of “bad parenting.” They say that Kofi is capable of dozens of accents, not just Jamaican, and really showcases his ability when going through fast food drive-thru’s.