Between SummerSlam on August 21st and the overall love for the recent Rogue One trailers, now is a great time to be either a wrestling or a Star Wars fan. Well what if I were to tell you that this past summer the WWE teased that it was going to COMBINE those fandoms? It came very close, and I’ll explain how they did, as well as what they could have done to turn one of the most popular superstars into their own version of Darth Vader.
Before separating all of the wrestlers into two separate groups—those on RAW and those on Smackdown—the WWE had a storyline featuring its current World Tag Team Champions the New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Xavier Woods) feuding with the Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan, and Braun Strowman). What could have been a classic tale of good vs. evil (which would have been great in its own right thanks to the talents of all six superstars), almost turned into a story of doubt, corruption, and a fall from grace. This storyline starred Xavier Woods in the Anakin Skywalker role and had it continued, could have told the story of his turn to the dark side much better than Revenge of the Sith ever did.
The New Day represents the Jedi, or the “light” side of the Force (I put “light” in quotes because they never really gave the Jedi side of the Force an official name). From their bright colored outfits to their hilarious promos and the unicorn horns they and all their fans wear, the New Day is all about the “Power of Positivity” and keeping things fun as best they can.
On the other side of the spectrum stands the Wyatt Family. Led by Bray Wyatt, this cult-like group has been a dominant force in the WWE since 2012. Their promos always talk of how the heroes of WWE have pulled the wool over the eyes of the WWE Universe, and that the REAL world is a far more cruel, corrupt place. Bray Wyatt has made it his mission since his debut to cleanse WWE of these so-called heroes to show fans the world for the harsh place it truly is.
It was only a matter of time before these two representations of light and dark met face to face. It took place on June 20th, 2016 and started off as any normal “good guys vs. bad guys” promo segment, with each group trying to out-insult the other (Yes, I understand that Jedi don’t go around insulting people. It’s a GREAT analogy, not a PERFECT one. Work with me, people). However, part way through the segment Xavier Woods dropped the goofy demeanor and started staring at the Wyatt Family. He even slowly started walking towards the ring before Kofi and Big E. snapped him out of it. There was something going on that had entranced Xavier, and you could tell it did not go unnoticed by Bray.
The following week on RAW, the New Day came out dressed like the Wyatt family, to poke fun at them by mocking their entrance and their mannerisms. You could tell through the whole segment that something was bothering Xavier Woods because he wasn’t as goofy as usual. While his teammates brushed it off, Bray Wyatt did not. He saw fear in Xavier Woods and started his plan to exploit it.
Bray Wyatt then invited the New Day to come to the Wyatt Family compound for a confrontation, but on the Wyatt Family’s terms. Kofi and Big E quickly accepted even though they knew they were walking into a trap. To them, the “Power of Positivity” could withstand anything, even Bray Wyatt, the self-proclaimed “Eater of Worlds” (listen up, WWE, you’re missing a great opportunity – give Bray Wyatt a Silver Surfer). Xavier was hesitant and frustrated with his teammates’ inability to see the danger that the Wyatt Family posed. He even screamed at his teammates when they would not heed his warning.
Despite Xavier’s concerns, New Day arrived at the Wyatt Family compound only to be decimated. Suffering resounding defeat, their only recourse was to run.
The two teams had their final confrontation at WWE Battleground, with the Wyatts gaining the victory. The WWE brand split began the following night on RAW, and while the New Day remained there, Bray Wyatt moved to Smackdown, ending the feud.
This was a HUGE missed opportunity by WWE creative to tell a long-term story about the corruption and redemption of Xavier Woods, much like Anakin Skywalker’s story in Star Wars. Xavier, much like Anakin, was cocky and arrogant but fought on the side of good. While they are both very similar, it’s their slight differences that would have made Xavier’s story MORE compelling had it been told. During his entire tenure as a Jedi, Anakin was always questioning authority. Whether it be from Obi-Wan, Mace Windu, or even Yoda himself, he strained to fall in line. Xavier, on the other hand, could not have been more loyal to the New Day’s cause. In fact, he was the one that formed the New Day in the first place. To see someone so committed to their cause fall and find his way back would have made for amazing television.
Bray Wyatt represents Emperor Palpatine. Much like Palpatine found Anakin’s weakness (Padme) and exploited it, Bray found Xavier’s weakness (his fear of the Wyatt Family, or taking it further, his fear that the “Power of Positivity” wasn’t enough to defeat them) and did his best to exploit that as well, from calling out Xavier during their promos, to singling him out as a lone target during both the compound confrontation and their Battleground match. Over the weeks and weeks of build-up, you could tell that Bray was slowly breaking Xavier down.
Yoda is considered by some to be the greatest Jedi who ever lived. He had some words during The Phantom Menace in regards to the dark side. It can be used as a template to explain how WWE should have used this great start to tell the fall of Xavier Woods (aka WWE’s Lord Vader).
Fear leads to anger.
Xavier would realize that to face his own fear, he and the New Day would be forced to reach down to the extreme levels that the Wyatt Family does in order to have a chance against them. Kofi and Big E. would have none of it, saying that if they become what they are fighting, then the message of the New Day is lost. This leads to a rematch at SummerSlam where the Wyatts give the New Day an even worse defeat. Xavier, knowing what they could have done to win, gets angry at his teammates.
Anger leads to hate.
At their next meeting at the Clash of Champions event in September, the Wyatts finally defeat the New Day in a title match to become the new World Tag Team Champions. How do they win? During the match, Xavier continues to urge his teammates to use whatever is necessary to take out the Wyatts. They continue to refuse and they start to lose. Xavier’s anger with his teammates continues to grow throughout the match. He stops seeing his teammates as followers of the good and righteous path and begins to see them as weak where the Wyatts are strong. He starts to respect and understand the Wyatts.
Hate leads to suffering.
Towards the end of the match, Xavier starts a fight with Kofi. Big E. in the ring gets distracted by this horrifying event and the Wyatts use this distraction to win. Xavier becomes the newest member of the Wyatt Family. He finally realized that Wyatts’ ways work, and since his best friends can’t see that, he’s joining up with the only people that can.
The next few months would be the New Day (Kofi and Big E) doing everything they could to convince Xavier that he could fight through his fear and anger to return where he belongs. Seeing his chance, Bray Wyatt starts to really push his message about how all of the WWE heroes (like New Day) are weak and what the WWE needs is strength. Xavier finally accepts Wyatt’s message as truth and helps the Wyatts to destroy the New Day time and time again.
Return of the New Day
At some point Kofi and Big E would realize that Xavier is lost, changing the story from bringing their friend back to defeating the Wyatt Family once and for all before they can corrupt other wrestlers. This would lead to Wrestlemania, WWE’s Super Bowl, where a final match between the two teams would lead to the eventual redemption of Xavier. With Wrestlemania being their biggest crowd of the year, THAT much Power of Positivity in one place would be what it takes to snap Xavier back to normal and return to New Day, leading to the Wyatt Family’s defeat when Xavier pins Bray after a head shot from, you guessed it, Francesca II.
Thinking about what could have been gives me chills. Not only would the payoff of this story been AMAZING on a stage like Wrestlemania, but I have enough faith in the wrestlers involved that they would keep fans emotionally involved every week leading up to it. That would have been an amazing Xavier Woods story, and an amazing Anakin Skywalker story. I just wish WWE knew what they had WHEN they had it.
So what do you think? Did the WWE take a classic Star Wars storyline and ALMOST make it better? Would you like to have seen the New Day/Wyatt Family feud play out the way I described? Let me know on Twitter or sound off in the comments below.