wrestling / News

Xavier Woods Says He’d Love to Get Into eSports, Talks Playing Video Games Backstage in WWE

January 16, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas

– Xavier Woods spoke with Sports Interactive Network Philippines for a new interview discusing his love of eSports, his UpUpDownDown channel and more. Highlights are below:

On how much creative freedom he has with UpUpDownDown: “WWE has a say, obviously. It’s within the WWE umbrella. It is its own thing though. So, I would say I have 92% creative control. I am lucky enough to now have a team of editors and producers. We’ve gone from me and two other guys to now me and six other people. So, it’s creating jobs within the company. There isn’t much they take out. The biggest thing is just cursing and that’s because people get heated. If you watch RAW or SmackDown, obviously those shows are going on TV. So there’s perfect light, perfect sound—it is a pristine product. It is fantastic. I try to make UpUpDownDown the complete opposite because, to me, it’s got more of a grassroots feel to it. It’s me doing it. I bring my studio with me everywhere I go. It’s a briefcase with my laptop, my DSLR, a microphone, my mouse, and rechargeable batteries. I could set up right here and film an episode if I wanted to. And that’s how I like to keep it, small and compact, so I can do it anywhere in the world. That lack of production helps me create more content.”

On how playing games backstage has changed morale among the WWE roster: “It’s a complete one-eighty because video games weren’t allowed. And then once the YouTube channel was generating money for the company, it became okay. When we set up a Playstation or an X-Box, we call it ‘The Lab,’ because when we’re in there, we’re cooking. At its height, you might see eight Playstations going on at one time in the locker room and it’s a rotating thing. We have the shows to worry about and we need a way to relax. Back in the day, it used to be cards. For us, it’s upped morale by a hundred percent! There are guys who might not have been as close to each other and now, they’ve got a tight-knit battle they’ll want to get to when they get to the arena. So it helps in that respect. And honestly, that boosts everyone up so once we’re in the ring, performing, we’re a lot more comfortable with each other. It’s very healthy for the locker room, I think.”

On if UpUpDownDown videos hve ever caused problems between WWE Superstars: “Even if guys have a problem with each other, it doesn’t get physical. We’re all performers and professionals. If there’s an actual problem between guys and girls, once you’ve passed through the curtain, we’re working and we all have the same goal. But, when stuff does happen in ‘The Lab,’ that’s when promos occur. And honestly, I feel like everybody’s promo game has been going a little higher just because you have to be able to talk trash while you’re in there!”

On if he’s considered playing in eSports: “Oh, 100%! Definitely! I, throughout my life, wanted to be a wrestler. I also wanted to be a kickboxer. And I also wanted to make video games. Obviously, kickboxing: not happening. Ever. I do not want to get Muay Thai’d in the face! So, I’m okay without that. But video games are a huge part of my life and being able to work up the amount of skill it takes to be part of WWE, especially as one of the smaller guys in the company, it’s definitely a unique grind to get there and to be successful there. So I feel very lucky and honored to be in the position I’m currently in, especially with Kofi and Big E, The New Day; being able to do what we’ve done so far. At the same time, I want to be able to use that platform to propel myself into the gaming world. On some very real levels, seeing what has happened to guys and girls who have been in the wrestling business when they have to transition out is hard. It’s very difficult. Being wary of that struggle, it’s one of the reasons that I created UpUpDownDown so that I can create a lane for myself in video games. I currently have two jobs. And once I’m done wrestling, I’ll have time for my other job. That will make it a lot easier, mentally on myself, and I won’t have to start from scratch.”

On eSports in general: “I think e-sports are amazing! I think the biggest thing about video games is that they bring comradery. I think a lot of people who dislike video games or try to demonize them just think of them in a negative way. I think the one thing e-sports is missing, that pro-wrestling or sports-entertainment has, are the charismatic characters; big, larger than life aspects. The whole thing with WWE is that we put smiles on people’s faces. So it’s an awesome place to be. We get to perform all over the world, in all these different countries. The music hits and kids are losing their minds and having a good time. I feel like we can bring that same emotion to e-sports and teach them how to essentially do our live events.”