After securing his most important singles win of the year so far in a SmackDown dub over “The Megastar” LA Knight, Xavier Woods was riding high, so much so that he decided to poke the bear, in this case, Imperium, with his trombone to effectively lay down the challenge for Gunther’s Intercontinental Championship. While didn’t take Woods’ imposition too seriously, calling the New Day member a “goof” before accepting his challenge for a match on SmackDown, for the proprietor of UpUpDownDown, this was the shot he’s been after to finally become a singles champion in WWE, as he detailed to Megan Morant on the SmackDown LowDown.
“Yes, Gunther is the most dominant Intercontinental Champion that we’ve had in recent memory,” Woods began. “But the issue Gunther has with me is he thinks I don’t respect this industry. Because when my music hits, I don’t come out stone-faced looking bored. Because when I engage with the people and have a good time living my literal dream, all of a sudden, I don’t respect this industry?
“For 19 years, I’ve been sacrificing, missing birthdays, holidays, anniversaries because I don’t respect this industry? That doesn’t make sense! So Gunther’s issue is that he has yet to face somebody like me. Somebody who, since 2010, has been fighting, clawing, and scratching his way for every opportunity he’s ever had because I’m not one of these guys, Megan. One of these guys who can get a microphone in his hand, go out to the ring, demand a title shot and randomly get one. I’m not that guy, I’ve created every single opportunity that I’ve ever had. And that’s not gonna stop me because he doesn’t think I respect the industry. I’m the guy who, when you really break it down, whose just as good if not better than many of your favorites while I’ve only given this industry half of my attention.
“I’ve been a WWE Superstar while going to school, gaining degrees. I’ve been a WWE Superstar, winning championships while building a digital empire from the ground up, Megan. I have made every opportunity that I have ever had, and that is exactly why, in this match for the Intercontinental Championship, Gunther will finally understand that I have so much respect for this industry, but when it comes from me, it’s him that I don’t respect. And so while I’m walking out of the arena with the Intercontinental Championship around my shoulder, Gunther’s going to understand that when you step to Woods, Xavier Woods wins.”
Will Woods be the man who finally unseats Gunther as the Intercontinental Champion? I mean, probably not, but then again, who expected him to win King of the Ring in October of 2021, let alone end Roman Reigns’ streak with a no-contest finish to a SmackDown match one month later? If there’s one thing fans can count on when it comes to Woods, it’s defying expectations.
Xavier Woods doesn’t get why he doesn’t receive more credit from WWE fans.
Speaking of Woods ending Reigns’ streak in the winter of 2021, the former King of WWE sat down for an interview with Simon Miller of WhatCulture Wrestling and openly asked why he doesn’t get more credit for his recent accomplishments in WWE, which include a few pretty significant individual victories for a performer known for his tag team proficiency.
“Yes, very much so,” Wood declared via Wrestle Zone. “The fact that I won King of the Ring by beating a former Intercontinental Champion in Ricochet, while beating a former heavyweight champion in Jinder Mahal, while beating the first-ever Universal Champion in Finn Balor, and then going on to defeat each of The Usos in singles completion, and then be the only man, oh, sorry, because Seth Rollins [did], but we talk about that one and not mine. I’m the first man to break Roman Reigns’ two-year winning streak, but we just don’t talk about it. Why? Tell me why. I don’t understand why we don’t talk about this. I’ve been killing it. Next year is 20 years in the game.”
You know, for often being overlooked as a singles wrestler, likely because he’s exclusively held tag team championship gold as a tag team performer in WWE, Woods really has been afforded some pretty impressive singles wins over his main roster run. Even if his “non-loss” to Reigns is often forgotten in the telling of “The Tribal Chief’s” dominant run atop the WWE roster, with Rollins’ Royal Rumble showing garnering far more respect, it’s safe to say a win over Gunter, though certainly an upset, wouldn’t be as surprising as some fans may assume.
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