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WWE’s Xavier Woods Talks G4 Hosting Hopes, UpUpDownDown, and Life After Wrestling


G4 TV is making a comeback, and while we don’t know in what form just yet, the return of the all gaming channel has definitely got fans buzzing. That got an even bigger boost today when a new report revealed that former Attack of the Show host Olivia Munn is in final talks to join the returning network. Speaking of Munn, she recently gave her support to WWE superstar and UpUpDownDown creator Xavier Woods in his quest to become a G4 host on the returning network, a campaign that has picked up steam over the past few weeks with the hashtag #Creed4G4. ComicBook.com recently had the chance to speak to Woods about why he wants to join the G4 team, how the network helped him become the gamer he is today, and what a Woods hosted G4 show would look like.

For Woods, G4 was how he started to really develop an appreciation not just for games but how they are created and the people who bring them to life. “So for me, I was the same way with wrestling as I was with video games,” Wood said. “I didn’t really know anything about the inside world of it, I was just very much at face value. Like, okay, there’s a game that I like, I see it at the store or at Blockbuster, I rent it, and that’s been where my knowledge of video games ended. I didn’t know about the people who were the composer or the producers or any of that stuff, and so for me, G4 was the first time that I really got the chance to dive into that aspect of video games. My best memories were whenever anybody would get interviewed that had something to do with the game, and there’s always cool, unique stories that they’d be able to tell about the process of getting so creative. It was my first real insight and peek behind the curtain of what video games really were and what went into making them.”

If Woods does get to host his own show, it will feature its share of insanity, but it will also act as a bridge for those who are either new to the space or those who are perhaps a bit intimidated by it.

“It looks insane, absolute insanity at all times,” Woods teased. “But mainly I just want people to know video games are fun. Obviously people who play video games already understand that, but I feel like even though with the past what, 10 to 15 years of this rise in people accepting video games into pop culture as this juggernaut that everyone across the world enjoys, regardless of what language you speak or what culture you come from, I just want to lean more into that. My goal in being a part of the video game space started with a focus on Esports because I absolutely love Esports. In going to EVO and local fighting game tournaments, I always, always, always thought that if that aspect of trash-talk and well educated trash-talk from wrestling was brought into that space, then it could help blow it up even further, especially to people that aren’t super interested in the video game space.”

“Because everybody, regardless of who you are, you enjoy a good little confrontation between people, and coming from wrestling, that’s what we always sell, that’s what we know how to do,” Woods said. “So I’ve always wanted to bring that into video games in a respectful way most obviously. There’d be people coming on, playing games and talking about them, and then there’d be parts of the show where you have two people from the fighting game community that come in and talk trash, and then you play some Street Fighter or some tag-in or whatever. Then for different games, I feel like one of my strengths is being able to help translate games that might be interpreted as complex to people that aren’t in the video game space at all. For instance, on my YouTube channel, UpUpDownDown, go subscribe, if you haven’t subscribed already. We did a deal with League of Legends.”

“And so I would say for the average person who doesn’t play video games, if they just see League of Legends, they go, ‘Good Lord. I have no idea what’s happening.’ And so I feel like I’m lucky enough to have attained a skill in wrestling with trying to find the common ground between two things that might not have any common ground at first glance, that allows people to take a second and go, ‘Oh, okay, this isn’t as complex as I thought it was. I now understand it and enjoy watching it, and I might now even enjoy playing it.’ So it would be a lot of low key convincing more casual fans or people who aren’t fans at all to become more hardcore fans,” Woods said.

If you’ve watched UpUpDownDown, you know Woods and company aren’t just playing video games. A big part of the channel happens to be tabletop, including everything from roleplaying games (Rollout) to HeroClix and Pie Face. The space has blown up in a huge way over the past few years, so I asked if embracing that side of gaming as well is necessary for the new G4 to succeed.

“I don’t think that they have to, but I think it would be great if they did, because like you said, tabletop games are super important to the culture because that’s where role-playing these different characters comes into play,” Woods said. “And again, coming from the world of wrestling, that’s what I do for a living, I just get to LARP all day, every day, so being able to bring more of that tabletop aspect of gaming into something like G4, I think it’s something that’s great. It’s obviously something that people would watch because there are tons and tons of channels that run D&D campaigns that are extremely popular. Something like a Critical Role. They’ve proven this is a viable source of entertainment that people would enjoy watching, so I think that it would be a great idea if they were able to lean into that aspect of games as well.”

When asked if G4 would get its own DaParty UNO spinoff, the answer was an emphatic “100% yes.” As for why their UNO games have become popular, Woods thinks a big part of it is just the camaraderie and fun they’re having with it.

“It just feels like we’re in the locker room, again, having a good time, and I think that people have gravitated towards it because that’s what they want to feel, and it’s harder for some people to feel that because of quarantine,” Woods said. “So I think for some people, they’re fans and they like wrestling and they happen to like us by proxy, but I think for other people, they watch it because it’s a nice escape for like 40 minutes or an hour, where you don’t have to think about all the garbage fire that is 2020. You can just watch grown men scream at each other.”

So, if Woods does become part of G4, the question becomes what happens to UpUpDownDown, and if you were worried about Woods leaving, that is not happening.

“No. I don’t think it becomes an issue at all, because UpUpDownDown will always run as UpUpDownDown does,” Woods said. “I’ve always been in a situation where I’m doing more than one thing at once. People say they’re burning the candle from both ends. I’m burning the candle from both ends and the middle usually. I feel like if I’m lucky enough to get their attention and to become a host of something, or even just like a correspondent, like when Cons come back, or even just somebody that pokes their head in and then they get interviewed or just be on for like two seconds, I just want to do anything with G4. But I feel like UpUpDownDown, as I said, will run as it has been running.”

WWE-Xavier-Woods-New-Day
(Photo: WWE)

“And then I’ll just sleep a little bit less and put everything that I have as well into G4, and everything else that I have as well into wrestling,” Woods said. “As for me, this is not like a fluke fly-by-night situation, this is something that I want to do as a profession, and I think that a lot of times in wrestling or any form of entertainment, any form of physical activity, whether it’s football, basketball, baseball, anything, your body can only do it for so long. I don’t want to be stuck in a situation where at the time I’m done wrestling, I don’t know what the next chapter of my life looks like. I’m obsessed with video games. I love them. They’re my happy place. They’re my safe place, and so the fact that I’ve been able to scratch and claw my way into this space I’ve caught up for myself for the past five years makes me feel good because it’s not like a random thing. When I’m done wrestling, I’d rather just be able to make a smooth transition into something I’m already doing rather than have to start from scratch and start finding the bricks to build the house. If the house is already built halfway, then I feel like I’m going to be much better off. I honestly enjoy being busy, and if I get this G4 gig, I’ll be even busier than before, and that makes me happy in a weird way.”

Woods being a part of G4 TV’s newest incarnation is really a no-brainer, so if you want to see him featured on the network make sure to use the hashtag #Creed4G4 on social media. You can also catch more of Woods on UpUpDownDown’s official channel, and of course, you can check out his New Day teammates on new episodes of WWE SmackDown on Friday nights on FOX.

Let us know what you want to see from Woods and G4 in the comments or feel free to talk all things gaming and WWE with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!

Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.





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