Xavier Woods Took Not Being In 2019 King Of The Ring Personal, Carved A New Path For Himself

The boyhood dream came true for Xavier Woods at WWE Crown Jewel as he became WWE King of the Ring.

For years, Woods pushed to be in and win the tournament, but was not included in the 2019 version and many fans worried that he would not win once it was revealed he was part of the 2021 tournament. All worries were quelled when he defeated Finn Balor to capture the crown.

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Speaking to Joseph Staszewski of the New York Post, Woods reflected on how he used social media to help push himself to the throne.

"It’s nice, because obviously as you know, wrestling is very different from what it used to be 10 years ago, 15, 20 years ago," Woods said when asked about the support he received on social media during his King of the Ring quest. "With the advent of social media, you can connect with people in positions like I am on television where people like me want to interact with people who are interacting with our product. So it’s cool to be able to talk to those people directly and let them know how I honestly feel about things and how much things really mean to me. Because I think everyone can relate to things like that. They can relate to somebody who has a goal, who has a dream that they’re trying to achieve. They’re seeing that person work hard just like that are in life, whether that’s to get a new job, whether it’s to get a promotion, whether it’s to get a significant other, to get a new car. So I think that people really resonate with the fact that I have unbashfully been screamed at the top of my lungs for King of the Ring to come back ever since I’ve been on the main roster. And I feel like that fact that in 2019 I got passed up for it, I took that hit very personally."

Baron Corbin would win the 2019 King of the Ring. He and Shinsuke Nakamura would engage in a feud over the crown throughout 2021, with Nakamura eventually gaining possession. Nakamura was not in the 2021 King of the Ring.

Woods continued by saying, "Being in the tournament off the rip, I felt incredible. So every time I advanced that feeling grew and I think that people felt that with me because when someone is genuine and they tell you how they really feel it’s really hard to not roll with that because you can relate in some shape or form.

"I really think social media gave me that opportunity. Doing things like (the show) “Up, Up, Down, Down” gave me that opportunity. Being in a gaming space and not a wrestling space gave me that opportunity. There are a bunch of gaming nerds who I relate with and we’re relating on a different level. When I make those kinds of friends and those kind of fans in the gaming space, they go “Oh you wrestle?” and they start watching wrestling and they go, “What’s King of the King?” And then through my social media I’m able to explain that to them so they can understand it, even if they don’t watch the product yet. When they see that I’m in a match and I’m excited and I’m ready to go and this is the most important thing in my career, they tune in because we have that connection. It’s not something that you gain from seeing someone on TV. It’s a personal connection with meeting with them, from conversing with them on Twitter, Instagram, whatever it is. So when these things happen, I think that people really feel it. And that, to me, is the new version of pro wrestling. Everything doesn’t have to be done on screen on the show.

"I think that me winning this crown is an extremely good example of that. While in promos every once in a while would drop hints of the King of the Ring. I think 85 percent of what I did was on social media, or “Up, UP, Down, Down” or in the gaming space. To see the effects of it, it tells me that what I’ve been doing, being weird and not being the traditional type of guy, not just falling into whatever mold I was given but being myself first and foremost and having people tell me, no you should be tougher, you could be angrier, you should do this, you should do that. I absolutely refused because that stuff sucks to me. I don’t want to do that. It doesn’t suck in general. For some people that’s fantastic. I don’t want that. I want to use different tools in my tool box to build the same house and show people you don’t have to follow the same path. You can carve a new path for yourself. Just because somebody tells you it’s not gonna work or they don’t believe in it doesn’t mean you can’t do it and this is a prime example."

Speaking to WWE after his victory, Woods discussed how much winning King of the Ring meant to him. You can find his full comments by clicking here.

You can see how wrestlers from different companies supported Woods following his win by clicking here.

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