On this morning’s episode of Feel The Power Podcast (titled “One Man Down”) featuring The New Day, all three members address the trials and tribulations of injury. Xavier Woods happens to be going through a major one at the moment, instantly tearing his Achilles while in the opening match of WWE Super Show-Down in Sydney, Australia earlier this year. Woods gives the listeners details about the incident and opens up about his feelings as he begins his road to recovery.
“We were in Australia, first match of the night, me and E against The Revival. Ended up doing a back flip at the beginning of the match and as soon as I landed I felt like somebody has kicked me in the back of the foot. I went to tak another step and I realized I couldn’t push off of that foot and immediately the thought shot across my mind that it was my Achilles cause that’s where I felt it and so got to the back, doc said that it was most likely a torn Achilles and when I heard that, there were a lot of different emotions that went through my head because a torn Achilles, a ruptured Achilles is an injury that takes a very long time to come back from and so knowing that I could possibly out for like up to a year (This was before I went to the doctor and got MRIs and X-Rays and surgery and all that). So we’re literally all the way across from the world, I’m away from my family and I get this news and so I fly from Sydney to Atlanta the next day, then go from Atlanta to Birmingham [AL] to get surgery and the doctor tells me, ‘Here’s the breakdown: you tore it in an instant. It will take me 14 minutes to fix it. You could possibly take up a year to feel good on it again,’ which is terrifying to me because ever since I was little this was the only thing I ever wanted to do with this much passion and enjoyment. This was like my dream, my life goal.”
Xavier Woods certainly felt the effects emotionally, having to deal with waves of uncertainty.
“To get an injury that will take me out for an extended period of time is something that has, I guess, I guess kind of shaken me to my core. When you get injured, it’s something that’s like, ‘Oh, like this sucks, but I get like a month at home. I get six weeks at home.’ It’s like okay, it sucks that you want to be wrestling but you know when you’re coming back pretty much.”
Xavier Woods makes it clear that there isn’t an exact time frame as to when he will return and isn’t afraid to let the fans and his brothers in arms know how he feels.
“There’s no real time frame on when I will come back. It’s honestly kind of scary because yeah there’s a possibility that if I do everything right and everything goes well and I “ICE” it and I do the PT and all the other tendons are stronger around it, like maybe I’ll be back in four or five months? Cool, but maybe not. Maybe I’ll be back at like Survivor Series next year, but maybe not. Maybe I’ll be back like Mania year after next, but like maybe not and so the chances of that are very low that I’d come back that late, but just the fact that there’s a percentage chance that could happen, like, for lack of a better term it just makes me sad.”
“That’s the full update that I’ve got on this. There’s no date or time frame as to when I could actually come back,” Woods said.
— WWE (@WWE) December 16, 2019
Kofi, although he didn’t see the injury occur firsthand, saw Woods after the Achilles tear and mentioned how positive he came across. “You were like surprisingly like in really, really good spirits, obviously I don’t know what’s going on in the inside, but on the exterior, you know what I mean?”
“The inside I was dying. I was dying. I was screaming, I was crying, I was ripping my hair out, I was all of the above. I was throwing up,” revealed Woods.
Big E understands what Xavier is going through after just returning from a meniscus tear earlier this season that put him on the shelf for six weeks and sympathizes with the mental game that gets played when you find yourself on the sidelines without your teammates.
“One of the things that I think people don’t talk about enough is the mental toll of dealing with an injury cause it’s hard to be away from something that you love doing, especially when you’re in a group,” says E. “We see each other all the time and now even the six weeks I was away [from his meniscus tear] and you turn on the TV and there you guys are and you’re not a part of that, and you’re not contributing, but when it’s a devastating injury and I don’t like talking about my college football stuff too much because this is so different but dealing with the ACLs and realizing that I would not be able to contribute to this team that I wouldn’t be there, that the machine just moves on without you, it’s hard.
“Depression after a major injury is a real thing among athletes,” states Big E. “Dealing with all the factors that you as an individual have zero control over can really affect you personally.”
“There’s so many athletes who deal with depression after they have a major injury and a lot of us just don’t talk about it and we just move through it, but it’s difficult and very common and something that has happened with me because we’ve been together for five years. This is something you’ve wanted to do for your entire life , and now not only are you away from it, but the uncertainty of being able to trust your body again to do what it needs to, we don’t have a pension. There’s no back-up plan, that’s why everybody tells you to save your money because if for some reason you have issues with that injury and can never wrestle again, no one else is going to look out for you. There’s no plan to make sure that your family continues to eat and when you’re out of the spotlight and you’re off TV do people care? Like there’s a lot of uncertainty with that stuff and I think it takes a big mental toll on athletes and people deal with injuries. And it’s difficult, man. It’s really hard to deal with like being depressed and the fears and a lot of the issues that come with a major injury.”
In an extremely candid moment, Big E wanted to make it known to Woods that he and Kofi will always be there for him if he ever needed support during such a tough time as he does what he can to get back in the ring.
“From time to time we’ll have these heartfelt conversations with each other and in text, but a lot of times you feel like you’re alone and you don’t want to bother people with your feelings, but I always want you feel like you can reach out and talk to us and kind of describe what you’re going through, because it’s hard. Because we just get up and we do the next show. We just move on to the next town. We talk to you afterwards obviously, but we just move on and that’s like the hard part.”
Big E also opens up about the mindset he was in when he had surgery on his meniscus. He remembers being alone in the hospital bed watching Kevin Owens mimic his spot in the New Day and although he kept the “ultimate pro” mantra in his head, he couldn’t help but be upset about seeing the machine keep chugging along.
“I knew you guys have to do what you have to do, but I see you two and there’s ‘Big O,’ there’s Kevin Owens doing my intro that I came up with and doing my tag move with you. So I get it and I have to suck it up and be a man, and like laugh it off, but it feels like a slap in the face to see someone in your position, just doing your stuff. I’ve felt disrespected and I know like you guys, that obviously wasn’t an idea that you came up with so there was no issue with you, but from a larger picture just that you’re alone in a hospital room (or if you have family or whatever), but I was alone and I was there and just everything goes on without you and you just move on and does anyone care, does it even matter? And you feel very alone in this situation. And that’s for something that was for six weeks, this is much bigger than that, what you’re dealing with so…I mean one of the things I try to do without harping too much is that I want you to know that you can always reach out to us if you’re going through things mentally…”
(Transcription credit should go to @DominicDeAngelo of WrestleZone)
You can listen to New Day’s entire conversation below: