While WWE has spent decades as a dominant force in wrestling or sports entertainment, there is another popular aspect of contemporary WWE that you won’t see on its streaming service or weekly programming, and that’s a video gaming channel. UpUpDownDown was created by WWE Superstar and New Day member Xavier Woods, and it is a celebration of Woods’ passion for gaming.
Woods, going under the name Austin Creed on the channel, debuted it back in 2015, and his videos feature the host talking to other WWE Superstars about gaming, playing games, challenging each other. It has evolved many different directions with popular shows like Battle of the Brands–where Creed and Tyler “Prince Petty” Breeze play GM Mode of Raw vs. Smackdown 2006 and the UpUpDownDown Championship matches, where current UpUpDownDown Champion Kofi Kingston plays random games against opponents.
While Kingston wasn’t the first champion on this channel–that honor goes to Mikaze AKA Mr. Castle–he’s the current champ, beating Swagatha Christie (Jack Gallagher). Most recently, Kingston–who goes by Mr. 24/7 AKA Mr. Gotcha as in Mr. Gotchyoura**–was challenged by fellow New Day member Big E at E3, which resulted with another successful title defense for the champ. Additionally, Kingston is also the WWE Champion, and he’ll be defending that title on Sunday at Stomping Grounds against Dolph Ziggler.
Kingston has been and will continue to be a prominent cast member of this channel, and he spoke to us about the channel’s growth, his series on UpUpDownDown, his gaming techniques, and about Zack Ryder’s Internet Championship.
GameSpot: With the New Day, you guys are obviously friends, and there’s a lot of camaraderie. For you, how does it feel to see Xavier Woods’ UpUpDownDown channel grow?
Kofi Kingston: It is awesome, because number one, I know how passionate he is about video games. I thought that I was really passionate and then I met him, and I was like, “Oh, he’s on a whole other level.” He has a ridiculous range of games that he plays and enjoys, and then on top of that too, just knowing the kind of person that he is, he’s really like a visionary, you know?
A lot of us play video games for a long time on the WWE roster, and as soon as he announced, “Oh, let’s do a gaming channel.” As soon as he had that idea, all of us are like, “Huh, why didn’t we think of that?” It was right there in front of us, but at the same time, he’s the only guy that could ever run it, because of infectious personality. He’s a real people person. He meets people wherever he goes. He always jokes around about that, so it’s only natural that this channel would grow to the extent that is has and it’s awesome to see, because I know how much work he puts into it, how much sacrifice, and then on top of that, we get to play video games at work; it’s all good.
You also have your own show called “I Just Love Kicks” where you’re talking about sneakers. When did sneaker culture become a passion for you?
I feel like I’ve always been into sneakers, and it wasn’t until I became a WWE superstar that I was actually able to afford the ones that I wanted to buy, and I always wanted to come out and have a pair of sneakers that would be like eye-catching, and it just kind of spiraled from there. Kind of grew from there, my passion, coming out and meeting a lot of different people who were sneakerheads really kind of fueled more of a passion within me, and it was actually Woods who had the idea of in an effort to get more content on the channel, and make it more than just the video game channel.
He was like, “Yeah, maybe you should do a sneaker show.” I was like, “I don’t really know if anybody would be interested in this. I don’t really know what I’m talking about.” But as we speak now, after we get off the phone, I’m going to do another review of a pair of Air Max 720s that I’ve been trying to review, and hopefully I’ll have that free pocket of time to do that and have that episode go up. It’s cool to actually share a passion with people, because this is the way that a lot of sneakerheads, you find them in the funniest places, regardless of whether they’re hip-hop artists or graphic designers. We went to the Nickelodeon studios and did Double Dare, and one of the executive producers there was a big sneakerhead.
Which is crazy to be on the set of Double Dare and have rare and expensive sneakers, because you’re probably going to get slime on them, so that guy lives on the edge, but you find sneakerheads in the strangest places, and the common thread of having sneakers really brings us all together. It’s a way that I can kind of be involved with the sneaker community, as well as staying, I guess, in tune with what the latest trends are and what the most fashionable sneakers are, and what looks cooler or whatever. It’s a way that I can kind of keep in that community as well.
Primarily on the channel you are a competitor, Mr. 24/7, and throughout your competitions, on all these episodes you’ve been on, who do you feel is your biggest competition for the UpUpDownDown Championship?
It’s really funny. I guess I would have to say Mikaze, only because in an effort to try and become UpUpDownDown Champion, I actually went up against him three or four times before I was able to actually beat him; so he’s kind of my kryptonite, to be honest, on the show. And then over the years, we’ve had several Madden competitions and different games like that, but it really just depends on the game. We have such a wide spectrum of palettes, and everyone has their own specialties, like Samoa Joe is actually pretty good at a lot of different games. He’s good at fighting games, he’ll be on shooting games too. I stink at shooting games. I’m probably one of the worst, if not the worst, but when it comes to fighting games I can hold my own, so it’s really all about matchups.
Even in particular fighting games, you might go up against somebody, like in Tekken, Jimmy Uso is really, really good, but whenever he goes up against his brother [Jey Uso], his brother can beat him every time. But I’ll go up against Jay, and I’ll be able to beat him, you know? It’s really all about those matchups.
In competition, for you, how much of the playing the video game is about head games?
Oh, I think that’s for me, that’s my whole thing. I come out there and talk a lot of trash. Whether I’m winning or whether I’m losing, getting in my opponents head and frustrating them to where you’re not thinking about the mechanics of the game. You’re really thinking about really anything else, that’s definitely a big part of my strategy, is to kind of distract people by talking trash and being loud and obnoxious, you know? That’s a big part.
Who would you say is a bigger sore loser when you lose a game? Would that be you, or would it be Xavier during the Battle of the Brands?
That’s tough, that’s tough. I’m not a good loser, I know that for sure. A lot of times people get mad when they beat me, because I almost make it seem like I won. You know what I’m saying? It depends on the day to be honest, and it depends on the game or the situation, but I do not lose well. I cannot stand losing, especially when it comes to video games. I oftentimes on the channel you’ll see just raw emotion, I think that’s why people like to go the channel so much, because you get to see WWE superstars outside of the ring. You know, you get to see them doing every day things that the average Joe does at home. We play video games just like everybody else, so I think a lot of people like that.
You currently have two belts, the WWE Championship, and the UpUpDownDown Championship, is there any plan to challenge Zach Ryder for the Internet Championship?
Wow, you know what? That’s not a bad idea, because he’s been sitting on that Internet Championship for a long time. As a matter of fact, he’s probably the longest-reigning champion in the history of the company. I think actually he passed Bruno Sammartino a little while ago, I think it was a little underground thing, you know? But I have not thought about that, I’ll definitely put it into the tank, people are talking about the actual 24/7 Championship, because that’s my name; number one. Now Truth is running around with me, but he was my former tag team partner, so I feel like I can live vicariously through him and be champion through him, but who knows man. I’ve got a really long torso, and I’d like to put a lot of belts around it.
We’ve seen you go up against a lot of WWE superstars that are great at gaming and are regulars on UpUpDownDown, but is there anybody that’s in WWE currently that’s not on the channel that you think is a formidable gaming foe?
Has Ricochet been on the channel yet? I don’t know if he’s been on yet. Maybe he has, I don’t know, but he’s actually pretty good at Mortal Kombat, and I didn’t expect him to be, but he’s actually been getting really, really good. Maybe him? I don’t know. Most of the people who are gamers have found their way onto the channel in some way shape or form. If you’re a gamer, Woods will sniff you out, he’ll get you on the channel by some means. I guess off the top of my head all I can think of is Ricochet. Yeah, most of the gamers are pretty much on the channel right now.
What’s the game you’re most excited for that you haven’t played yet?
Yeah, well the new Final Fantasy, I believe the remake has been announced at E3, as far as the release date. I would love to get hands on that for sure, because I grew up on Final Fantasy, that was the role playing game and series that I came up on, you know. And even in a remake, I ended up downloading Final Fantasy VII on my phone now, which is crazy to me that you can put such, what used to be a large game and it’s accessible on your phone, it’s wild. You know, that used to have three discs on the PlayStation, you know what I’m saying?
Now you can literally open up your phone and save it on your phone, you know, technology is crazy. But, yeah, any kind of incarnation of the Final Fantasy series, I’m all about. Especially these days, I don’t really have a whole lot of time to play RPG because they take up so much time, but if I can get my hands on that new Final Fantasy that’d be great.
I don’t know if you’ve played it in a long time, and it was only a one disc game, but you can get Final Fantasy Tactics on your phone, which is a pretty seamless port and just a lot of fun.
Really? I didn’t know that. I wish you hadn’t told me that, because that’s going to be another thing I’ve got to play to take up more time.