This interview has been edited and condensed.
WWE’s The New Day on WrestleMania 34, how they miss berating little kids and their possible breakup
The all-black trio will compete in the tag team during the event’s main telecast for the first time
With just a few days to go until WrestleMania 34, the WWE’s annual Super Bowl-sized extravaganza, The New Day is riding high. The all-black trio of Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and Big E has been a tag-team champion four times and will compete for the tag team championship during the main telecast of WrestleMania for the first time. Last month the group published its first book, the aptly named Book of Booty: Shake It. Love It. Never Be It.
The New Day, who in 2016 became the WWE’s longest-reigning champion at 483 days, is set to face off with the Usos, twin brothers who look like a mashup of the Outlawz and Moana and are the current champions on the company’s Tuesday show SmackDown Live, and the Bludgeon Brothers, who carry around what are clearly large rubber mallets that are supposed to be steel hammers that the pair threatens to cave in the heads of their opponents with, in a triple-threat match. It’s a whole thing.
But before WrestleMania 34 kicks off from New Orleans on April 8, The New Day spoke with The Undefeated about partnering with Snickers, the fun they used to have as “bad guy” characters and whether the trio will ever break up.
Why partner with Snickers for WrestleMania 34?
Woods: Because sometimes ya boys get hungry, and Snickers satisfies. I like the peanut butter ones.
Big E: I feel like no other personalities really embody Snickers helping you overcome your ‘hangriness’ than WWE talent. We’re larger than life, and we have a perfect example of that in Javier Woods.
Kingston: You’re not you when you’re hungry.
Big E: Right, right, right. He’s often angry. We actually call him ‘Baby Mouth.’
Kingston: That’s because he got a baby mouth. Ole Baby Mouth over here.
Woods: Since I was a child, when I’d get hungry, I get in a very bad mood. A very different person. So Snickers helps with that.
Snickers is well-known for its ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry’ campaign, so what are Kofi and Big E like when they’re hungry?
Big E: I’m like Big Show when he’s cranky. You ever seen Big Show cranky? You don’t want to be around him. That’s a big man. Imagine him on a plane without a seat that’s uncomfortable if he’s flying to Europe for six-seven hours. That’s me on the inside, but I contain it, especially on the inside.
Woods: You’re deflecting his question.
Big E: He said what are you like. I’m like Big Show.
Kingston: Everyone can’t be Baby Mouth. I get more, like, quiet. I don’t really get too angry. I just get really quiet and concentrate on trying to get my food. I feel like you don’t see it on the outside. We keep our composure, myself and E, we keep our composure.
You have been together going on four years now, how do you keep the characters and gimmick fresh after all that time?
Woods: It’s the mentality of we’re not necessarily playing specific roles, we’re just being ourselves. And it’s the same idea of — I’m sure you have friends and you’ve been friends for years, and it’s not like your friendship has gone stale, you just find new things to talk about, you have new inside jokes. Things happen that you see on the internet, GIFs or funny videos; we talk about those. It’s just a collective friendship, and that’s what we are. We don’t try to think of necessarily new bits to do on the show or new comedy things to do. It’s just us doing what we do in the car [driving to the next town for a show]. Because that’s where the inspiration is when we just do what we do as normal humans. That’s a very refreshing thing for a lot of people, just because they see us being happy and that kind of goes through the television camera, through their TV and into their homes. And it’s a warm feeling of friendship.
For nearly a decade, WWE fans have wanted John Cena to become a Hollywood Hulk Hogan-type bad guy. Some have also expressed that after this much time, The New Day should break up. What do you say to those people?
Big E: Uh, first of all, that’s a terrible idea.
Woods: We have a name for people like that.
All: We call them wedge-drivers.
Big E: Trying to drive a wedge. Trying to break up the bond that we have going on.
Woods: For why?
Kingston: For what purpose?
Big E: You don’t like fun?
Woods: Something’s wrong with you. I’m having a blast with these two.
Big E: And as a trio we’re doing something unique. You could say there are other people that maybe in the past who were tired of that, but I feel like we’ve created our own lane in many ways. As individuals we’ll have a lot of success, but we originally saw ourselves as a faction, and we just ended up being in a tag-team division. We love tag-team wrestling, but all of our goals individually can still be achieved as The New Day. I don’t think there has to be any kind of breakup whatsoever. I’m reminded of what we did a couple of years ago when Woods and I had defended the tag titles, unfortunately unsuccessfully, at [the ‘Money in the Bank’ pay-per-view], but Kofi was in the ‘Money in the Bank’ ladder match, and in the time leading up to that Kofi would have a singles match and Woods and I would be doing tag stuff. That would be a lot of fun to go back to doing more stuff like that where one of us can pursue a singles title and the other two can still be in a tag team. There’s a lot of stuff we can still do as a collective but still achieve individual goals. To why we would ever break up, I don’t know what the point of that would be.
Kingston: It really wouldn’t make sense because three is better than one. It doesn’t make sense.
Woods: It’s just a logical choice for us to just stay friends.
Do you miss being ‘bad guys’ when you were able to roast the crowd?
Big E: That was a while ago. I was thinking about being in Baltimore and [Orioles outfielder] Adam Jones was there — not ‘Pacman,’ the baseball player — and I remember looking over at him. I think we ripped him. I remember we were in Pittsburgh, we had the Terrible Towels and being able to slide that across my … you know the area. Man, we had some good times.
Kingston: We talked about Chip Kelly being a grown man named ‘Chip.’ One of my favorite things to do is to be able to berate children, being the ‘bad guy’ coming out there yelling at these kids and threatening to ground them was some of my favorite, favorite stuff. That’s what it’s all about. We go out there and you see kids really getting into what we do, so to go out there and kind of have a little fun with them and hopefully at the end of the match they get their way and they feel they’ve caused us to fall or whatever. I do kind of miss that.
Woods: It was a big part of everything, as Kof said. Yelling at children that they should be doing their homework and them getting irate. But then it’s cool because you see everyone behind them that sees this kid interacting with us and losing their mind and they start doing the same thing; now everyone’s involved. It was a cool way to not just involve that kid, who’s going to remember that for the rest of his life, but involve everyone else who’s also paying money to come to this show, this interactive experience. It’s something we’re not doing right now, but we might get back to it.
In December 2016, you three posed for a photo with then-cruiserweight champion Rich Swann and then-women’s champion Sasha Banks, who are both black, and captioned it ‘#BlackExcellence.’ What did it mean to you all for there to be five black champions at one time?
Big E: It was an important moment for us. Even though there were some people who took it as a moment for us to be divisive, that wasn’t the plan at all. We have, unfortunately, a long history in this country, and also in this company, of not doing justice to black entertainers and athletes. We felt like it was a good point in our history as African-Americans in the wrestling industry, and we felt that we’d come a long way. We were just really proud of what the five of us had accomplished, and Kofi had a really poignant message that he tweeted after.
Kingston: We just thought that it was a very important moment for us as a group, and we’re just happy that we could be a part of it, because at one point in time you would have not seen five African-American superstars as champion. We’re just really happy and proud to be a part of that.