Xavier Woods, or Austin Creed as he’s known on YouTube Channel UpUpDownDown, created a gaming channel close to nine months ago. In those nine months, he has amassed close to 400,000 subscribers and 30 million total views – and it’s only set to skyrocket from here.
The channel, on the surface, is a pretty standard gaming channel. Woods picks a game, plays it, adds entertaining commentary and repeats.
What separates Woods from the pack is his ‘Superstar Savepoint’ and ‘Gamer Gauntlet’ episodes where he brings in WWE Superstars and Divas to play alongside him. This is obviously something no other YouTube channel gets to do, but is a genius idea by someone who clearly understands how the medium works.
This lets us see the people behind the kayfabe and gives viewers a chance to enjoy watching some of their favourite wrestlers play video games.
Regular guests on the show include fellow New Day members Kofi Kingston and Big E who have a chemistry with Woods that makes any episode they’re in must watch.
About half the WWE roster has appeared on the channel at least once and this has led to some of the most entertaining videos on YouTube.
You don’t even have to be a fan of gaming and wrestling to love this channel. If you’re a wrestling fan, but aren’t fond of gaming, the conversations and interactions between Woods and his guests are entertaining enough to get you by and if you’re the other way around, Woods is certainly just as if not more fun to watch than a lot of YouTube gamers out there – which is another part of the channel’s success that warrants mentioning.
There’s something about Woods that makes you want to keep watching, even if you couldn’t care less about the game he is playing, you tune in regardless for his reactions, commentary and little pearls of wisdom (about life and the wrestling business) that he lets slip. It’s a trait that is common among most of the top gaming YouTubers that the game they’re playing isn’t what’s drawing you in, rather it’s the person themselves.
There are a lot of wrestlers signed to the WWE, but few would be able to pull off a channel like this because few have the combination of charisma and speaking skills mixed in with the knowledge of gaming that Xavier possesses. On top of that is the sheer desire to do something like this, which must take up much of the little free time he has.
A lot of credit has to also go to Mike (El Murpho) Murphy who looks after a lot of the logistics of the channel, which someone like Woods can’t do because of the hectic schedule of being a wrestler. Murphy also appears on the channel a lot, but it’s safe to assume his behind the scenes work for the show is imperative to its success. Credit also has to go to the once-name-dropped Shaun who apparently edits… though Kofi Kingston doubts his existence.
Of course, the guests play a big role in the success too. Most of the best videos on the channel are in his ‘Gamer Gauntlet’ category where Woods takes on one or more wrestlers in some competitive gaming where the loser has to take some kind of punishment.
If you haven’t viewed the channel before, some of the best videos include Woods versus Kofi in both Madden and FIFA, Woods versus The Miz in Street Fighter 2, Bayley versus Sasha Banks in Mortal Kombat and really any video that features Big E.
The channel also does wonders to help fans connect with the superstars that appear on it and it’s an incredibly underrated facet of WWE in 2016 that showing who you are behind the curtain through social media, interviews and WWE Network shows, actually gets fans behind you when it comes to the show.
A good example is the brilliant WWE Network show, Breaking Ground. Breaking Ground features a behind the scenes look at day to day life in NXT and gives insight into the lives of many wrestlers. This insight unquestionably makes you care for those involved more than you did beforehand.
A poorer example is what Total Divas has done for The Bella Twins who are clearly the most popular Divas among young female audiences. To a lesser extent, wrestlers appearing on podcasts like Talk is Jericho and Sam Roberts’ Wrestling Podcast gives fans a look at them off screen, and when fans care about the person behind the character, they cheer for them, it’s as simple as that.
UpUpDownDown has a similar effect on its audience and while there’s no categorical proof of it, it’s hard to dispute The New Day in particular and any wrestler that appears on the show has more fans after their appearance than they did beforehand.
Xavier Woods, Mike Murphy and the entire UpUpDownDown crew have done a remarkable job tapping into their market and creating a channel that not only will continue to rise in popularity, but has longevity that other WWE superstar owned YouTube channels have not had.
It’s onward and upward for the channel as it approaches half a million subscribers and highlights that there is much more to a lot of WWE superstars than we’re allowed to see on Monday nights.
Keep up the good work, and keep it tight.