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WWE’s Xavier Woods Joins G4 as a New Host

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WWE Superstar Xavier Woods, aka Austin Creed, has been announced as the first on-air talent for the rebooted G4, and IGN was able to sit down with Creed and G4’s head of content Kevin Sabbe to talk about Woods’ new role and vision for the network.Woods, whose wrestling renown is matched by his love of gaming, made a surprise appearance at last weeks’ G4 Reunion Special. The reunion included former talents Kevin Pereira, Morgan Webb, Adam Sessler, Olivia Munn. But the real stinger is that Woods will be with G4 going forward as one of the new hosts for the revamped network.

“I was losing my mind… It was incredible,” Woods says in describing the experience of being able to announce his hosting job. “I’m just a random dude from Georgia who loves video games and loves wrestling. So getting my WWE contract while sitting in the middle of a Walgreens in Orlando, Florida at the time doing like backflips, calling my parents… I had the exact same reaction when I found out I was going to be a host on G4.”

G4 Reunion Show

The TV network premiered in 2002 and covered all manner of games and geekery with shows like X-Play, G4TV.com, and Attack of the Show. The network launched the careers of many familiar faces in the gaming industry you see today including Munn, Geoff Keighley, and more.

But Woods is already a well-known personality, both from his work in WWE and as a personality and host around the gaming scene. And Woods says he intends to carry that energy forward into his G4 tenure.

“I feel like the thing that I’ve done and continue to bring constantly to the table since I’ve been in the gaming space is trying to show people that we’re all the same kind of nerd. So, I love wrestling back in the day — I still love wrestling now, obviously — but back in the day, at some point wrestling, like, wasn’t cool and you get made fun of for liking wrestling. The same thing happened with video games.”

But now that gaming has exploded into the mainstream in the decade since G4 first launched, Woods says he’s excited to shine a light on the game space for a new audience.

“With me being the first host I automatically look different than everybody else that [appeared at the reunion special] and so I think that in all the talks that I’ve had with [G4] they very much understand that representation is important. They understand that in the past 15, 10 years… the makeup of who is in the gaming space has been changing.”

Both Woods and Kevin Sabbe describe G4 as a “clubhouse” where everyone who loves and plays games is accepted. And Sabbe suggests this will translate to G4’s reboot strategy.In the years since G4 left the air, video content for games has exploded on platforms like Twitch and YouTube. But much of the content you see nowadays doesn’t much resemble what G4 did, which operated like a traditional TV variety show.

So while the easy narrative would be what a “G4 vs. Twitch/YouTube” landscape might look like, the Reunion Special included appearances from famous Twitch streamers like DrLupo. And so this doesn’t appear to be a fight for G4.

“The plan is for us to be everywhere gamers already and to be part of the community,” Sabbe says.

And while there have been no other casting news, Sabbe says future collaborations with streamers are in the cards, particularly if they’re interested in branching out into G4-style content, which includes sketches and variety work.

“How do we complement the streaming community in partnerships with future talent who maybe can’t do [TV-style content] on their own? That’s something G4 offers, you take a streamer who really does want to do some sketch comedy, but isn’t going to do that on their own, we provide that space for our partnership for them to come in and do those things.”

There are no details yet on G4’s official return, but the plans for a relaunch are set for sometime in 2021. Woods is currently playable in Gears 5 as well, if you’re excited to see him in action and G4’s representatives confirmed that Woods is still signed on with WWE.

Matt T.M. Kim is a reporter for IGN.

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