Why The New Day is the greatest faction in WWE history
It’s time somebody says it. Not only does The New Day rock, but they rock more than just about any other team or faction in the history of sports-entertainment. Now that Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods (get well soon, XW) are Tag Team Champions for the EIGHTH time, it’s time to sit back and marvel at what this trio has accomplished in the five years since they tasted their first championship gold as a unit at Extreme Rules 2015.
With an impressive resumé of opponents, instantly-classic catchphrases, unforgettable WrestleMania moments, and the creation of their own cereal, it’s time to CLAP for your eight-time champs and realize that when it comes to factions (yes, even the likes of The Shield, DX, and The nWo), The New Day are in a league of their own.
Before we get into some of those other guys, let’s just face the facts. At WrestleMania 31, the WWE Universe was not shy about letting E, Kofi, and Woods know that “New… Day Sucks!” But by SummerSlam of that year, those chants overwhelmingly transformed to “New… Day Rocks!” Even in the ever-changing world of WWE, that’s a pretty quick turnaround and is a triumph in and of itself.
Now take into account that, since then, all three members of the group have worked their way into elite company among the top seven Superstars with the most days spent as a Tag Team Champion in WWE history — a list that sees Kofi Kingston in the No. 1 spot as the only Superstar ever to hold tag team gold for more than 1,000 combined days. Conclusion: Kofi Kingston is the best tag team competitor this company has ever seen.
And that’s just scratching the surface when it comes to this group’s accomplishments. Let’s talk about the term “first-ever.” You hear it mentioned a lot these days, but when it comes to The New Day, it’s staggering to think about just how innovative and unprecedented they’ve been as a trifecta. They were the first team to call themselves Raw Tag Team Champions when the name of the titles was changed in 2016, and they were the first team ever to hold those very titles for over a year, dating back to the beginning of the championship’s lineage in 2002.
They’re also the first and ONLY team that can say they’ve been WWE Tag Team Champions, Raw Tag Team Champions, AND SmackDown Tag Team Champions. They won the first-ever Tag Team Elimination Chamber Match — with the titles on the line, of course — and were the first team to defend a Tag Team Championship of any kind inside Hell in a Cell.
Oh yeah, they also brought back the “Freebird Rule,” and the WWE Universe completely embraced it. No technicalities needed. Even though only two members competed to win the titles, you accepted all three men as the rightful champions, a testament to just how tight their unit really is.
It’s that unity, that unbreakable bond in the face of every situation, that takes The New Day to a truly elite next level. One that sets them apart from almost every other group in history. Let’s start by looking at D-Generation X. Are you ready? OK.
They might just be the most revolutionary faction in sports-entertainment history, playing an integral part in ushering in WWE’s new attitude during the height of the Monday Night War against WCW. Their greatness is undeniable. But when we say “their” in reference to DX, who exactly do you think of? It started out with Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Chyna and Rick Rude. Six months later, the group was almost entirely different, swapping out HBK and Rude for X-Pac and The New Age Outlaws. About a year after that? The first betrayal happened when Triple H turned on X-Pac, and the entire group effectively, at WrestleMania XV. From that point on, there have been reunions, break-ups, new members in and new members out. Their collective status as WWE Hall of Famers is extraordinary, winning numerous championships and still providing a goosebumps-inducing reaction for the WWE Universe today every time “Break it Down!” echoes throughout an arena, but even a faction like DX can’t tout loyalty and consistency quite like ya boys in The New Day.
So what does this mean for other WWE Hall of Fame-caliber factions like The nWo or The Four Horsemen? Well, let’s see. The New World Order established by Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall propelled WCW to unbelievable heights in 1996, essentially serving as the catalyst for an 83-week television ratings winning streak in favor of WCW Monday Nitro over Monday Night Raw. The success of The nWo just about single-handedly forced WWE to rethink its entire product at the time, but things turned for the group in a heartbeat once WWE regained the lead in the ratings war. The nWo added new members like Ted DiBiase and The Giant just two months into their original formation, and by the Spring of 1998, The Wolfpac was born, essentially sparking a civil war within the group that, by that point, basically included half of WCW’s roster.
Over the course of six years, the number of nWo spin-offs that emerged in both WCW and WWE is too numerous to count on one hand, and the same can be said of the Horsemen. From 1985 to 1999, The Four Horsemen was a feared entity within WCW, and consistently at the head of the pack was none other than “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair. It’s no secret how many times Flair won the industry’s top prize, many of those while leading this legendary faction, but this group, too, saw its fair share of stops and starts, members added and founders kicked out. You can’t deny their impact on the industry, but you also can’t so easily land on the defining Four Horsemen.
Even when you stack up The New Day against more of their contemporary peers like The Shield and Undisputed ERA, it’s just too difficult to deny the consistent longevity and accolades of ya boys. The Shield won its fair share of championship gold and made a profound impact on the WWE Universe, but their original run only lasted about a year-and-a-half before Seth Rollins delivered his now infamous chair attack to Roman Reigns. Undisputed ERA are building up quite the impressive run, with a brief stint holding all the gold in NXT, but even they had to add a member since their original formation. Not quite New Day-level stuff just yet.
Let’s also be clear: All of this is not to say that factions can’t evolve. Adding new members and forming new iterations might have very well further contributed to the success of groups like DX, The nWo, and The Four Horsemen, but The New Day have achieved a comparable level of evolution without ever truly changing who they are, aside from their initial shift away from their preachy origins.
Since their arrival, they’ve managed to turn a trombone into a character beloved by the WWE Universe (shout-out to Francesca and Francesca 2 Turbo). They made up an imaginary cereal called Booty-O’s for some reason, only to wind up turning it into a very REAL and rather delicious cereal that eventually served as the theme for one of the most memorable WrestleMania entrances of the last decade. They’ve even taken another ordinary breakfast food – pancakes, of course – and remarkably made them synonymous with their very character.
The evolution of The New Day continues to be nothing short of astounding, and their fans have proven just as loyal to them as they are to each other. Their success inside the ring is now being mirrored outside of it, as evidenced by the popularity of Xavier Woods’ UpUpDownDown YouTube channel and the launch of their hilarious podcast, The New Day: Feel the Power.
Bottom line: The New Day have been able to make us feel just about every emotion there is to feel in their time together. We laugh every time they bust out their signature “WWE World Tag Team Championship” wiggle. We’re excited to ask “WHO?! WHO?! WHO?!” along with them every time they do it in that unmistakable, high-pitched tone. We’re confused every time Big E gets to the number-of-championship-reigns part of his signature entrance introduction because we’ve all lost count of just how many times they’ve won the gold. They even made us cry when Kofi Kingston reached the pinnacle of achievement by winning the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 35.
And it’s that moment that truly defines how special their bond really is. Even though Kofi won the title, it felt like all three of them won. Hell, it felt like the entire WWE Universe won. We were all in it together. And more than a year removed from that unforgettable moment, The New Day are still doing their thing, continuing a boom in WWE’s tag team division that they essentially kicked off with the likes of The Usos and The Bar over the past five years.
They are champs once again. They still rock. They show no signs of slowing down. And if you happen to be someone who’s somehow still not even putting them in the conversation among the greatest factions of all time, I hate to break it to you … but you’re just daring to be sour.