Sometimes a pancake is just a pancake.
That’s the message from Xavier Woods — one-third of WWE’s charismatic trio The New Day — as he’s faced accusations that his team’s recent habit of handing out pancakes to fans perpetuates a racial stereotype from the early 20th century.
But in an interview with Newsday to promote The New Day’s own book, “The Book of Booty: Shake It. Love It. Never Be It.” Woods said his team’s newfound love of pancakes has nothing to do with century-old literature and everything to do with a “lumberjack match” they participated in late last year.
“I said, ‘Well, if I’m a lumberjack, what do they eat? They eat flapjacks.’ It was hilarious. So, we said the next week, ‘Are we going to do pancakes? Yeah, sure. Why not?’ And that’s where the pancakes came from,” Woods said. “If there’s ever any source of contention or anything like that, I think that it’s a situation where you should take a look at yourself and think about how deep you are looking into something that’s not really there.”
Woods said he and his New Day partners, Kofi Kingston and Big E, are “very aware of how we present ourselves,” but also don’t want their typically inane antics dissected under a racial lens “simply because we are African-American males.”
“All we want is a blank slate,” Woods said. “And if people continue to refuse to give us one, then they’re doing nothing more than continuing to hold up the social constructs that we’re trying to break down.”
Ultimately, Woods said, “The stuff that we do really isn’t that deep.” And that much is clear from “The Book of Booty,” published by St. Martin’s Griffin. The 176-page, full-color hardcover is part children’s book, part quiz book, and part reference book, chronicling The New Day’s 483-day tag team championship reign — the longest in WWE history.
And, like The New Day, “The Book of Booty” is almost always silly.
“It’s not like any other WWE book that’s out there. Rather than being sort of autobiographical . . . it’s more, just fun,” Woods said. “We just wanted it to be something that kind of embodies what we do when we go out and try to entertain crowds.
“It’s something that kids can enjoy and adults can enjoy,” Woods said.
And if there are any adult sensibilities in The New Day’s admittedly-adolescent act, Woods said they come from Kingston, the 10-year WWE veteran and, at 36, oldest member of the trio.
“He’s the rational voice. Big E is in the middle. And then I’m the super outlandish one, all the time,” Woods said. “But, it’s nice, because having those viewpoints, those three different mindsets, we’re able to see things from way different perspectives, and come together as a group and assess the best way for the group to advance. I think that’s the biggest reason we’ve been able to become so successful.”