The rivalry between the New Day and the Elite that has spanned years, promotions, and media formats, and finally came to head today in a at E3. The new IWGP Heavyweight Champion and the current IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions/two thirds of the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Champions faced the WWE’s four time tag team champions in a Street Fighter showdown livestreamed on Xavier Woods‘ Up Up Down Down YouTube channel. But before we talk about that, let’s talk about how things got to this point.
Back in 2016, after some interactions about video games on Twitter between Omega and Woods, the New Day happened to be interviewed after the WWE 2k tournament at WrestleMania 32 Fan Axxess by a reporter (Delzinksi) in a Bullet Club shirt. The tag team forced him to cover him the logo on his shirt with a towel. Big E then declared the New Day to be “not just the best tag team, but the best trio” of all time, “anywhere, including Japan,” and namedropped the Young Bucks. After the trio told the interviewer to “move on,” Xavier Woods cut a mean promo about the New Day’s greatness.
A few months later, Woods and Omega had their long-awaited Street Fighter confrontation at CEO 2016. Omega was victorious.
After playing Woods, who beat him at DDR later in the tournament, Omega was overcome with the power of positivity, so much so that his Elite brethren staged an intervention. But the Cleaner ended up winning the Bucks over to his new lifestyle, and the then-NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Champions made a New Day style entrance to Kenny’s music, complete with his broom as Francesca (RIP, Francesca.) The Elite lost the following match, and the Bucks blamed the New Day.
In 2018, Omega played his SF4 main, Cody, in the character’s new gameplay trailer… a trailer that also included voice acting by Xavier Woods. Soon after this, Omega called out Woods on Twitter, and the feud from there has been helpfully if surprisingly summarized by the folks at WWE.
The only important thing the video leaves out, I think, is this classic New Day promo targeting “Kenneth” and company.
The most surprising aspect of this feud might be the way the WWE Network promoted it with actual wrestling footage. As part of the Hidden Gems series, a 2006 Deep South Wrestling match between Kenny Omega and Cru Jones was put up on the Network, right before a 2010 FCW Xavier Woods vs. Michael Tarver bout.
After two extremely on-brand entrances (The New Day dancing and throwing pancakes into the crowd; Nick Jackson filming the crowd on his phone for a future episode of Being The Elite), a savage promo battle ensued, and soon the [street] fight began.
After the New Day (SPOILER ALERT) won, Omega challenged Woods to a best of five one-on-one rematch. Woods accepted on grounds that the Elite’s NJPW titles would be put on the line. Omega pointed out that that wasn’t fair because the New Days doesn’t currently have any titles. (They really should have done this after Money in the Bank; maybe the New Day could have a briefcase to put on the line!) Woods changed the stakes to some familiar to fans of Up Up Down Down: loser eats habanero peppers. Omega saw this as a great opportunity to play as the yet-to-be-released Cody Travers character he played in the trailer, and the TRUE Omega vs. Woods III was on.
Will these two teams ever actually face each other in the physical squared circle? Hey, an official WWE YouTube video just recognized the IWGP, so anything is possible.