Video games aren’t necessarily the first thing that jumps to mind when people think of influences for a professional athlete. But, according to professional wrestler Xavier Woods, he owes where he is today to the medium.
Xavier Woods is a bit of a renaissance man. He’s one-third of the wrestling group New Day, which uses anime and internet memes as influence for their look, he’s also working on his PhD in educational therapy, and is the founder of the successful YouTube gaming channel, UpUpDownDown – which currently sits just under 600,000 subscribers.
Recently speaking to ESPN’s eSports leg at the fighting game event Community Effort Orlando (CEO 2016) – which he attended to partake in a Street Fighter V tournament – Woods cited video games as part of the reason he became the man he is now. “Without video games, I don’t think I’d be where I am today with anything else in life,” Woods explained, saying when he was a kid he wanted to be a professional wrestler and a “pro video game developer.”
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He credits video games for helping him overcome the troubles he had being social as a kid, and it’s something he wants to give back through his channel and persona. “I always want to make sure that I’m able to put a spotlight on that for kids who might be in the same position and might feel a little awkward or might get made fun of for reading comic books and staying up till 4 in the morning playing Sonic,” he told ESPN. “I want to show them that, no, that stuff is awesome and fun and that look, you can go be a CEO and make a ton of money, and you can be in an awesome fighting game community.”