The New Day (professional wrestling)

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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
Members Big E
Kofi Kingston
Xavier Woods
Name(s) The New Day
Heights Big E: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Kingston: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Woods: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
702 lb (318 kg)
Debut July 21, 2014
Years active 2014–present

The New Day is a professional wrestling stable performing in WWE, composed of Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods. They compete on SmackDown brand. They are four-time tag team champions within the company, having won the WWE (Raw) Tag Team Championship} twice (with their second reign being the longest in WWE history at 483 days) and the SmackDown Tag Team Championship twice. As tag team champions, The New day defends the titles under the Freebird rule, with all three members being recognized as champions.

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, and the last with the title being the sole tag team championship in WWE. 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 renamed Raw Tag Team Championship four days later to Cesaro and Sheamus. After being drafted to SmackDown in April 2017, they went on to capture the SmackDown Tag Team Championship on two separate occasions.

The early months of the stable were marked by 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.


Background and formation[edit]

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] On the December 5 episode of SmackDown, Kingston and Woods defeated Kidd and Cesaro with a pendulum backbreaker and diving double foot stomp combination.[18][19] At the TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pre-show on December 14, Big E and Kingston defeated Goldust and Stardust.[20]

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.[21] At the Royal Rumble, The New Day's winning streak came to an end when Tyson Kidd and Cesaro defeated Big E and Kingston.[22] On the March 27 episode of Superstars, The New Day defeated The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor) with their pendulum backbreaker and diving double foot stomp combination.[23] 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.[24]

Longest reigning Tag Team Champions (2015–2017)[edit]

The following night on 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.[25] 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.[26] 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 and maintained their upbeat nature, but during their following match against The Lucha Dragons, Kingston attempted a cheap shot from the outside, though he was not actually involved in the bout, turning all three men into villains in the process.[27] On the April 20 episode of Raw, The New Day defeated The Lucha Dragons to become number one contenders for the WWE Tag Team Championship at Extreme Rules after Woods held onto the feet of Sin Cara, thus preventing him from answering the ten count.[28]

At Extreme Rules on April 26, The New Day defeated Tyson 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.[29] At Payback on May 17, Big E and Kingston defeated Kidd and Cesaro in a two-out-of-three falls match.[30] At Elimination Chamber on May 31, all three New Day members competed in the first ever tag team Elimination Chamber match, where they lastly eliminated The Prime Time Players (Darren Young and Titus O'Neil) to successfully defend their title.[31] However, at Money in the Bank on June 14, Big E and Woods lost the title to The Prime Time Players.[32] The New Day would then win the championship for a second time after they defeated Los Matadores (Diego and Fernando), The Lucha Dragons and The Prime Time Players in a fatal four-way tag team match at SummerSlam on August 23.[33] The New Day then started a feud with returning The Dudley Boyz, setting up a title defense against The Dudley Boyz at Night of Champions on September 20, where Big E and Kingston lost to The Dudley Boyz by disqualification and retained their title.[34] Big E and Kingston then went to defeat The Dudley Boyz via pinfall at Hell in a Cell on October 25 to retain the championship, thus ending their feud.[35] 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.[36] The New Day's next title defense was at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs on December 13 against The Lucha Dragons and The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) in a triple threat ladder match, which The New Day won.[37] The New Day then successful retained their title against The Lucha Dragons on the special December 22 episode of Super SmackDown Live![38] and against The Usos in January 2016 at the Royal Rumble event.[39]

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".[40] 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.[41] The New Day retained their title both at Roadblock (against Sheamus and Barrett) on March 12[42] and the following night on Raw (against Del Rio and Rusev), but were attacked after the match.[43] This led to a six-man non-title tag team match between the two stables at WrestleMania 32 on April 3, where The New Day was defeated,[44] but Big E and Kingston retained their championship once again against Sheamus and Barrett the following night on Raw.[45] 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.[46] 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.[47] 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.[48] 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 tag team 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.[49] 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[50] that would lead to a non-title six-man tag team match at Battleground on July 24, where they would lose.[51][52]

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.[53] In parallel to a lengthy feud with Gallows and Anderson for the title, 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[54] and, after the creation of the SmackDown Tag Team Championship for the SmackDown brand,[55] 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.[56] The New Day would continue to successfully retain their championship against Gallows and Anderson in the following months, such as SummerSlam on August 21,[57] Clash of Champions on September 25[58] and the following night on Raw, ending their feud in the process.[59]

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 managed to retain the title as a result.[60] 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.[61] At the event on November 20, they made the first elimination, but were then eliminated themselves by The Usos.[62] However, Team Raw still managed to win the match thanks to Cesaro and Sheamus.[63] On the two following Raw episodes, The New Day successfully retained their title against Cesaro and Sheamus and then Gallows and Anderson.[61][64]

On the December 12 episode of Raw, after successfully defending their title 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 become the tag team to procure the longest single-run with any tag team championship in WWE history.[65] Demolition held this record with WWE's original World Tag Team Championship and still hold the specific record for that (defunct) version of the title.[66] At Roadblock: End of the Line on December 18, The New Day's reign ended at 483 days after they lost the championship to Cesaro and Sheamus.[67] On the December 26 episode of Raw, The New Day received a rematch for the title, but failed to reclaim the championship.[68] The New Day would go on to host WrestleMania 33, and the following day on Raw, compete against the debuting team The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder). Kingston suffered a legitimate ankle injury during a post match assault, after The Revival won.[69][70]

SmackDown Tag Team Champions (2017)[edit]

Feud with The Usos (2017-2018)[edit]

The New Day at WrestleMania 34

On April 11, 2017, The New Day were moved to the SmackDown brand as part of the Superstar Shake-up; however, they did not appear for several weeks due to Kingston's ankle injury.[71][72] After appearing on Talking Smack, SmackDown Live's post-show, on May 23, the trio fully returned on May 30, announcing their objective to defeat The Usos and win the SmackDown Tag Team Championship. The two teams first faced off at Money in the Bank, where Big E and Kingston won when The Usos purposely got counted out, thus retaining their titles. A rematch took place at Battleground, where Kingston and Woods were successful in capturing the titles; this marked the first time that Woods was a part of a match where The New Day won a championship, and his first championship-winning pinfall in WWE. They would soon lose the titles back to The Usos as part of the SummerSlam 2017 pre-show, before regaining them on the September 12 episode of SmackDown when Big E and Kingston defeated The Usos in a Sin City Street Fight. The Usos would invoke their rematch at the Hell In a Cell pay-per-view. They would lose the titles back to The Usos in a highly-acclaimed Hell In a Cell match after Woods was pinned ending their reign at only 26 days. In the build-up to Survivor Series, The New Day helped the rest of the SmackDown Live roster attack the Raw roster. They also engaged in a rivalry with The Shield (Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, 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, and General Manager Kurt Angle summoned the rest of the Raw roster, which ultimately cost Rollins and Ambrose the Raw Tag Team Championship to Cesaro and Sheamus.[73] At Survivor Series, however, The New Day were defeated by The Shield in an interbrand six-man tag team match.

At Fastlane, the New Day faced The Usos in a tag match for the Smackdown Tag Team championships, but went to a no contest after inference from the Bludgeon Brothers.[74] Two weeks later, it was confirmed that at Wrestlemania 34, The New Day will face the Usos and the Bludgeon Brothers in a Triple Threat tag team match for the Smackdown Tag Team championships.[75] The New Day failed to capture the titles at the event, which were won by The Bludgeon Brothers.

Characters and reception[edit]

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".[76] 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".[77]

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.[78][79][80] 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.[81] 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,[82] and the trio began making unicorn gestures, using their fingers as horns and even having interviewers claiming to perceive them having "unicorn magic".[83] The group also began wearing plastic unicorn horns during their ring entrance, and using a team signature move named Unicorn Stampede;[84] this was based on Woods' love for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, of which he is a fan.[85]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", and even had a giant "Booty-O's" box at WrestleMania 32 as part of their entrance, and later "Booty-O's" shirts were created and were a very lucrative success. In early 2018, they also incorporated pancake or flapjacks in their gimmick, throwing it to their enemies or eating it.

In vast contrast to the gospel-based version of The New Day, the new positivity-based version of the group began to receive an overwhelming 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".[86] 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.[2] At the end of 2015, the group won Wrestling Observer's "Best Gimmick" award.[87] However, some remained critical of the group, with both Jim Ross and Jason Powell from 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".[88] The New Day were so over that they had a presence in the WrestleMania 32 main event between Triple H and Roman Reigns, with the crowd chanting, "Roman sucks", in the same rhythm as "New Day rocks".[44] This got ascended when The Hardy Boyz defended their titles on the April 3, 2017 edition of Raw against Gallows and Anderson, with the crowd chanting "obsolete" in the same rhythm as "New Day rocks".[citation needed]

Other media[edit]

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, Countdown. In 2017, The New Day also made an appearance on the TruTV comedy series Adam Ruins Everything.[89][90]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

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


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