|Another faction name considered was Guys in Suits.|
The first man we were reacquainted with was Xavier Woods. He used to do a 90s pop culture gimmick1. Before disappearing a few weeks ago the only thing he’d done of note since getting called up to the main roster was get The Funkadactyls to go to the ring with him for a while. He didn't really have much of a character at all beyond generic babyface loosely affiliated with R-Truth. So his transformation into an amalgamation of Little Richard and Ernest 'The Cat' Miller in a vignette on the November 3 RAW can probably be classified as an improvement.
Up next was Kofi Kingston. His exquisitely trimmed and incredibly pointy beard remained intact. So did his lack of charisma. That's always been Kofi’s problem. Perhaps being teamed with two guys with more personality will help him bring out his own on camera. Ultimately personality isn't the reason he's in the stable. He’s there because practically everything else that could conceivably get him over has been tried during his seven years on the main roster.
Finally the November 17 RAW featured a vignette in which Big E channelled Martin Luther King. Super relaxed in his jeans and T-shirt combo it was possible to believe he could become a star again. That's not something we've been able to say about him since before his premature split from Dolph Ziggler. If E can be as comfortable in front of an audience as he was in his video he'll go somewhere.
It seems as though the three have touches of a televangelist gimmick to them. They appeared in front of a choir and gave spirited, sermon-flavoured promos about a new day dawning. It was eye-catching and memorable. Alone it’s not enough to help them get anywhere but it was a good start.
It looks like they’re intended as a babyface trio. That’s a positive sign. WWE has had some success with those over the last two years in the form of The Shield and The Wyatt Family. The writers should have a good idea of what to do and what to avoid when it comes to handling a three man faction. Not least because it’s easy to see their interest in this new team waning quickly, something the previous trios didn’t have to contend with. The Shield was comprised of three guys considered future headliners while the Wyatts were built around a future headliner so they were guaranteed attention. New Day features a long term mid-carder and a man who was promoted on a whim. Only Big E has main event potential and he’s been subjected to stop-start booking over the last year.
|If The New Day can get half as over as The Shield they'll be doing well.|
It’s tough to know what to expect from The New Day. Both the Wyatts and The Shield started out as heels before becoming faces (albeit never officially in the case of the Wyatts) mostly due to the strength of their booking and their dynamic performances. What we’ve seen so far makes it look like New Day are going to begin their time together as faces. Perhaps they’ll go heel over time. That could work in storyline terms but it wouldn’t do much for the three individuals. Kofi and Xavier seem far better suited to the protagonist role and while Big E has appeared proficient at playing both heel and face right now a face run is what’s best for him. It will allow him to show his personality, giving people a reason to warm to him and showing that he’s more than just a body guy.
It seems unlikely the new group will achieve the success the Wyatts and ‘The Hounds of Justice’ did before them. Mostly because archetypal job guy Xavier Woods is involved. But maybe WWE will surprise us and give the team things to do. Like giving the tag division one of its periodic rejuvenations or putting together another trio to oppose them. Unlikely I know. I think the most realistic thing we can hope for is that the group gets something to do on RAW every week for the next six months and Big E gets treated as the man who’ll go on to singles stardom. If it ends up being the thing that launches him up the card it will have been a success.
1 Not as cool as it sounds. Instead of using phrases from 90s TV shows for move names or in promos or putting 90s emblems and motifs on his ring gear he basically said “It’s morphin’ time” sometimes. There’s a load of iconography and phrases to latch on to from the 90s and Woods did a poor job of tapping into it. Our best hope for making use of the 90s gimmick now seems to be Angelo Dawkins. Not because he’s hinted that he might, but because it’s not a million miles away from the backpack-wearing self-aware nerd he’s playing now.