After a failed attempt at creating a new football league in early 00s with professional wrestling-style characters and plotlines, WWE owner Vince McMahon took a second crack at making the XFL happen. The rules would differ slightly from the NFL, and all of the teams would be centrally owned, instead of private regional organizations.
This revival was originally announced in 2018, with the inaugural 10-week season set to launch in 2020. And it did begin as planned!…until the coronavirus stopped it in its tracks after 5 weeks of play. Within a month, the brand new XFL had already filed for bankruptcy.
But now — in a move that is strangely poetic, given the subject matter — the league has been saved by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, a former WWE star himself. THR reports:
Actor and producer Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia and Gerry Cardinale's RedBird Capital have agreed to buy the XFL, the bankrupt football league founded by WWE CEO Vince McMahon.
At the time of the filing, the league listed assets valued at between $10-$50 million, and liabilities also between $10-$50 million.
“The acquisition of the XFL with my talented partners, Dany Garcia and Gerry Cardinale, is an investment for me that’s rooted deeply in two things - my passion for the game and my desire to always take care of the fans,” said Johnson in a statement. “With pride and gratitude for all that I’ve built with my own two hands, I plan to apply these callouses to the XFL, and look forward to creating something special for the players, fans, and everyone involved for the love of football.”
I, personally, don't understand why the XFL of all things needs to bailed out (especially after such a short life). Neither can I smell what the Rock is cooking with it. But if anyone is ever going to make me care about American football entertainment, it's Dwayne Johnson.
Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia and RedBird Capital Strike Deal to Buy the XFL [Alex Weprin / Hollywood Reporter]
XFL Files for Bankruptcy, Up for Sale [Rick Porter / Hollywood Reporter]
Image: Public Domain via Sgt. Valerie C. Eppler