It’s finally official. Yesterday, The New Day broke a WWE tag team record, reaching the 479th day of their championship reign and beating the record once held by 1980s and 1990s legends Demolition. That was a record that stood for a good 28 years, and with two big wins on this week’s Monday Night RAW, The New Day stepped up, beating Sheamus and Cesaro and Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson in the first match, and the ad hoc tag teams of Seth Rollins/Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens/Chris Jericho in the second match. And it appears that some of WWE’s all-time legends are pleased with this development, including former WWE announcer Jim Ross.
It wasn’t the easiest beginnings of The New Day, as mid-card talents Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Xavier Woods banded together in late-2014 to form a stable inspired by the “power of positivity.” Fans, however, reacted with a lot of negativity toward this new babyface stable, with some accusing WWE of racial stereotyping, and commenting that Kingston, Big E, and Woods’ characters were nothing special. In January 2015, Annoyed Critic wrote a blog post summing up a lot of these fan criticisms.
“The whole gimmick is that they’re black guys who are going to make a new day for themselves. Problem is – they’ve done nothing but lost since debuting, which they were doing leading into this gimmick. Also, why does it have to be all black guys? Probably because (WWE Chairman) Vince (McMahon) hates black people. The only stereotype he can think of when he looks at a black guy is a Black Panther or a stompin’ preacher with a choir of all black-yelling ladies behind them.”
But with a heel turn a few months later, and a new, even more over-the-top take to their “power of positivity” gimmick, The New Day became a surprise success, and even when they worked as bad guys, they were gaining positive reactions from audiences and critics. Soon after, at WWE’s April 2015 pay-per-view Extreme Rules, they became WWE World Tag Team Champions for the first time, and while they had briefly ceded the belts to the Prime Time Players, The New Day had the titles back around their waists at SummerSlam in August 2015.
Fast forward 478 days later to December 13 of this year, and The New Day had broken WWE’s top tag team record — the record for the longest title reign. One’s mileage may vary with regards to the value of this record. Wrestling Rumors, for instance, wrote that the record may have been WWE’s way of whitewashing Ax and Smash — the men who wore the facepaint in Demolition — due to their involvement in a concussion lawsuit against the company. The publication also criticized the stable’s use of the Freebird Rule, or the rule where any two members of a stable could win or defend tag team titles in the faction’s name, as a “bastardization” of what tag team wrestling should be about.
Jim Ross, however, appears to be a fan of The New Day, and has no issue with their breaking the WWE tag team record for longest title reign. The legendary announcer took to his official blog site this week to praise WWE’s creative direction behind the faction’s record-breaking feat, and said in particular that he doesn’t mind the fact that The New Day incorporates a lot of comedy into their act.
“Nice story arc on RAW Monday night regarding the New Day and their Tag Team Titles (record). Whether one is a fan of the storyline or not, the basic writing and structure over a grueling three hour broadcast odyssey is impressive.”
“For me, I have my moments regarding this matter but enjoy it more when I feel that there is aggression and physicality taking center stage rather than comedy even though I like a sprinkling of comedy in the presentation of New Day.”
The New Day may be a stable or faction, as opposed to a traditional two-man tag team. And WWE may or may not want fans to forget Demolition at a time when Bill Eadie (Ax) and Barry Darsow (Smash) are suing the company. Furthermore, there has been criticism of The New Day’s over-the-top, comedy-centric act growing stale, such as this March 2016 entry from Camel Clutch Blog. But the stable has given Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Xavier Woods their greatest amount of recognition in the WWE, and now that the New Day has broken a 28-year-old WWE tag team title reign longevity record, they have more than redeemed themselves after that inauspicious start in late-2014.
[Featured Image by WWE]