Xavier Woods a.k.a. Austin Creed has found success by staying true to himself. His passion for professional wrestling and video games has allowed him to become a fixture in both industries.
As a WWE superstar, Xavier Woods aligned with Big E and Kofi Kingston to form The New Day in 2014. With multiple championships to their name, the trio’s become one of the greatest factions in company history. But more importantly, the group’s close friendship remains evident as they’re still aligned years later – a rarity for teams in WWE.
Outside of the ring, Austin Creed created a popular YouTube gaming channel called UpUpDownDown that’s opened up doors for him. His love of gaming came full circle when he landed a dream job at G4, the video game-centric TV network that relaunched last year.
There’s a lot on the plate for Woods, but his work ethic is something to behold. He’s managed to juggle his family life and various hosting gigs all while constantly being on the road touring with WWE. And that’s not even counting the physical toll on his body, which caught up to him recently when he suffered an injury that kept him out of action.
But there’s no slowing down for Woods as WWE’s on the road to WrestleMania. The journey officially begins this Saturday with the annual Royal Rumble, where winners will receive a world title shot at WrestleMania.
Ahead of the Rumble, AllHipHop caught up with Woods to discuss his bustling career. The versatile performer opened up about The New Day’s storied run, Black representation in wrestling, his connection to rapper Mega Ran and much more.
Read an abbreviated version of AllHipHop’s interview with Woods below and watch the full conversation via video.
AllHipHop: It’s great to talk to you because I’ve actually known Mega Ran for years.
Xavier Woods: That’s my guy.
AllHipHop: I’ve always heard great things about you. I do want to start with Mega Ran. You finally got him to do your entrance music. How special was that for you? I know that’s been something y’all have been talking about for years.
Xavier Woods: Yeah, it’s been wild because since I was in developmental, the pre-NXT, it was called FCW, we had a database that we could cycle through to try to find the music. And I typed in 8-bit or video game one day and I found one of his songs. And I was like, “This is great, I need more.” So, I looked him up on Spotify and I was like, “Wait, this is an actual person? He makes actual music that is made for me? What? I had no clue this was even a genre.”
And so he opened my eyes to a completely different style of music that is easily my favorite type of music, just video game, nerdcore rap. So, I found a way to send him an email and told him I found his music, but I wanted to use a different song, he was cool with it. A few years later after that, we had become friends. I brought him to Wrestlemania with me, one year within meeting my family. And the goal was always to get him to do my theme music. Like, “I need to hear your voice pumping through these speakers when I’m going to fight.”
And so fast forward to winning King of the Ring and then finally it’s like, “Hey, you know what? You’re going to have your own theme song now.” I said, “Oh, dope.” So 11 years deep, finally I get my own theme music. But to make it even sweeter I got to have Mega Ran rapping on it, and then another one of my buddies, Sayzee, a Canadian rapper out of Toronto who is incredible with a bunch of Dragon Ball Z and horror rap stuff.
And so, it’s awesome because regardless of where a person lands when they’re trying to achieve their goals and things like that, they never do it by themselves. But I think that people very quickly forget that. And it’s a lot of times because a lot of people won’t remind them. No, there’s not one person on this planet who reaches any level of fame or notoriety or does anything special by themselves. There are people who help you along the way, whether they be mentors, whether they be parents, friends, whoever. And being able to have one of my friends be a part of my wrestling journey while I’m out there actually doing it, it allows me to feel a certain way that I probably wouldn’t feel otherwise, knowing that my friends are with me while I’m doing this thing that I love. And so it’s a lot more than just music to me.
AllHipHop: Yeah, that’s nice. Speaking about friends, obviously, I think something that a lot of fans appreciate is how New Day has never had the big breakup angle or anything like that. You guys, you just became the King of the Ring, Big E just had his run as WWE Champion, Kofi, obviously, had Kofi Mania. How much has that meant to you for you guys to experience that solo success and then still be the New Day throughout it?
Xavier Woods: It’s been incredible because it’s not a gimmick or a thing just for the cameras. So, when they have moments of success, it feels like success for me. So, when Kofi won the title it felt like I won the title, and that’s my brother, that’s real. And it’s funny because we were talking about this the other day, the three of us, and just reiterating this point when one of us succeeds the other ones feel good. And I was like, “What is that?” And E was like, “I think that’s love, that’s what that is.” It’s just genuine, you feel happy that your friends are happy.
So, there’s really no reason that we would ever, ever want to do something like that. It doesn’t make any sense. And it’s cool that in wrestling you can see just a genuine, healthy, male relationship and it’s not just a bunch of just toxic dudes just yelling and screaming over leather and metal. Yeah, championships are important, you get more money when you’re champion. You get fame, you get a fortune, but also the championship isn’t going to call you when you’re 80 and you’re not moving around too well to talk about the good times.
And so I think that’s something that, one, is very important to us just because it’s who we are. And two, but then it’s really important just to wrestling culture to have something different. We could do the same thing as literally everybody else in wrestling ever. Or we could try to do something different. And people might not like it, but it’s an attempt to be different and to be better than what we are currently doing. And so that’s how I feel in my heart and soul.
AllHipHop: That’s great, that’s great. Now speaking of New Day’s role and impact, a lot of the talk right now in wrestling is about representation. And it’s diversity and Black wrestlers specifically. What has New Day’s impact been in your mind on Black representation in wrestling?
Xavier Woods: I don’t know, it’s weird to think about it like that. We were just three dudes who were trying to not lose our jobs at one point. And so to see people say things like that and to have people reach out and say, “I am more comfortable being myself in a wrestling locker room now because you guys showed it was okay,” it’s very humbling because these are things that I’ve felt. I’ve never necessarily always felt not comfortable as if a locker room was for me. Even though I played sports all throughout high school and things like that, I always felt like there was something that was in me that wasn’t in them that made me not click exactly. It was like an 85 percent click but there was just something that was either missing or whatever it was. And when I met Kofi and E and we really started grinding together and figuring that stuff out I realized it wasn’t just a couple of people that I could vibe like this with. Because I had Tyler Breeze at that time, we were very close then, we still are, Rick Viktor. I lived with those guys and those were my go-to guys.
Then finding Kofi and E and feeling, “Oh, wow, I can actually be myself and I don’t have to have these weird insecurities and make myself essentially feel like I don’t fully belong.” Because there was a lot of stuff I was dealing with within me. But knowing that anything that we might do on TV might give someone that okay to wipe that insecurity away and say, “I am worth it, I can survive here. I don’t have to be like anybody else. I don’t have to be anything that someone thinks that I should be, I can just be me and I’ll be okay,” I love it that some people are getting that from what we’re doing. And I love that we can bring those kind of feelings. Because it feels good to feel that way.
AllHipHop: Do you feel like your journey would have been so much different if you had somebody like you guys showing you that way back when you were Consequences Creed in TNA? If you had somebody there, do you think that would have changed the way you were able to be comfortable and just be yourself at the time?
Xavier Woods: Probably. I feel like just depending on the era and the type of people that you grow up with, watching, and the people that you meet throughout your journey, yeah, definitely. No clue what that would look like, and I very much like how I am now. And so I’m glad to have gone through stuff like that. But as far as people who were just helpful along the way, I always looked up to D-Von Dudley. And he’s a guy who legitimately became my mentor, who I wouldn’t have sent my stuff to WWE had it not been for a two-hour conversation that I had with him. When I got released from my other job, I was just floating and I was thinking, “Maybe I’m not cut out for this. Maybe I’m not good enough to be a wrestler on TV.”
And after talking to him he turned my whole life around, and minus that conversation of him telling me to quit feeling sorry for myself and pick myself up off the ground and keep going because I’m not a quitter, and all that type of movie, hurrah, Denzel, Remember the Titans type of speeches over the phone, I don’t send my stuff. And if I don’t send my stuff I don’t become Xavier Woods, I don’t pair up with Kofi and E. So many things don’t happen how they currently happened in my life. And so technically, I did have a guy. I did have a guy who helped me along the way in a way that he was meant to help me. And I will forever be grateful to him for that.
AllHipHop: Well It’s obviously been a crazy time to be a wrestler just because you’re wrestling during a pandemic. And part of it, you were wrestling in front of no crowd. What was that like for you, just to have been doing something your whole career where you’re using that audience response, and then suddenly you’re in there in an empty arena? What was that experience like for you?
Xavier Woods: Honestly, it was fine. In my early parts of my career. I wrestled in so many places that had either two people or seven people or nobody sometimes. So, it was cool to go back to your roots. But at the same time, minus that fan interaction and that actual energy and that noise, you lack adrenaline. And adrenaline can help shield you from pain. And so everything that hits you hurts way more when there’s no people there and that sucks. But overall, I was out for a lot of that time. So, I didn’t come back from my Achilles injuries until September of 2019. And so I was at home for a minute. I did Talking Smack for a while and then I re-debuted, I guess.
So I was only in the ThunderDome for a short amount of time in comparison to everybody else. But I will say when we did Mania and we had people, it was like somebody flipped the light switch as soon as we walked out to the crowd. It was like, “Oh, yeah, this is what it’s supposed to feel like.” So, it’s amazing to be back in front of fans again.