The love we have for The New Day in the Palace of Wisdom is well documented, real and spectacular. And while we’re not the kind of people to say “We Told You So”, We Told You So. Of course, their combination(s) of personality, talent and genuine chemistry made them – at the very least – surefire “before their time”-ers.
But thanks to the Rise of the Nerd over the last 5-10 years (Thanks, Based God Hardwick!), the type of nerddom they project (Editor’s note: Which is ‘pop culture’, not ‘black’, you fucking racist. Love, Your Editors) has allowed them to appeal to a very specific part – read: hipster – contingent of the crowd. All while still appealing to the WWE Universe at large as a hyperkinetic mix between the Shield and early Kurt Angle: full on babyface heels almost willingly confusing “honesty” for earnestness and earnestness for virtue.
That’s not to say, however, that the rest of the crowd doesn’t “get” New Day. They connect with New Day in the way that they are intended to: on the surface where Xavier WoodsDow plays that funny song on the trombone, whether or not they know it’s from Final Fantasy VII. People get what they need to get, and the New Day – who are clearly aware of what they are doing without staring at it in a way that has become increasingly rare – plays with this.
All wrestling, not just what plays with the fourth wall or embraces metafictionality, is supposed to work on different levels. Working holds, taking bumps, even how a performer pins another. They have to all not just to one specific group of people, but the crowd as a whole on some level. Balance is key in many ways when it comes to pleasing a crowd – especially a crowd the size of the WWE’s — with just enough sufficiently broad bits, like last night’s “Rocky” interlude during their match with the Dudley Boyz.
Because for every time they do something like the “Rocky” interlude, they likely also get to do a 2 Live Crew cover without someone asking a question. Giving the people what they want isn’t a sign of weakness any more than existing entirely for yourself as an artist is a sign of strength. All artistry require compromise, and it’s only when you’ve done something that betrays your sensibilities or who you are that you’ve run into real trouble.
And while this may seem like a long and unnecessary defense of the Palace of Wisdom’s favvvvorittte band, it’s going to be important to look back on in a few months. Because the New Day will get over in the way that the Great And Powerful McMahon originally intended – as babyfaces – and when that happens, their very specific brand of humor will likely become more and more broad.
Gone will be the days of references to 20-year-old RPGs, and in will come what could be best be described as Modern Family style writing. A tickling of specific parts of the funny bone that everyone has, done in a way that feels like it might be on the edge of something before you realize it only feels sharp because everything else around it is so dull.
So, this week – #TheNewWeek – will be a celebration of what they are now, and how they came to be, not what they might become given their potential. Because, at least at the moment, there’s something it feels like we can all agree on:
New Day Rocks*.
*(And the Dudleys have no respect for furniture.)