Just when it was really looking like the XFL was done for good after falling into bankruptcy after its disappointing 2020 revival, former WWE Superstar Dwayne Johnson stepped in to save the football league. Reportedly, Johnson and Gerry Cardinale's RedBird Capital teamed up to purchase the XFL for $15 million, just hours before the league would have gone up for auction for other potential buyers. Johnson's ex-wife and business partner, Dany Garcia, has also been named as a stakeholder as well.
"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 of the acquisition in a press release. "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."
"For Dwayne, Gerry and myself, this property represents an incredible opportunity. It is the confluence of great passion, tradition and possibility," Garcia added. "Sports and entertainment are the foundations of the businesses I have built. Melding our expertise combined with our commitment to deliver exciting and inspiring unique content, has us all focused on developing the XFL brand into a multi-media experience that our athletes, partners and fans will proudly embrace and love."
Originally created as a collaboration between WWE and NBC, the XFL first premiered on television with its inaugural season in 2001. Taking some inspiration from WWE, the gimmick of the football league is that it would offer less rules than NFL or college football, allowing for rougher play to make things more exciting for viewers. While ratings started off strong, they'd plummet in the games to come, resulting in NBC abandoning the project and the XFL seemingly coming to an end after just one season.
With its previous failure in mind, it seemed strange WWE boss Vince McMahon would roll the dice again with an XFL launch in 2020. This time, the league relied less on pro wrestling style theatrics and focused on presenting games with faster and simpler play than the NFL. Utilizing eight teams, there were plans for a ten game season this year with the XFL revival, but the decision was made to end the season just halfway through for the safety of the players and the audiences. Soon after, the XFL filed for bankruptcy and was put up for sale, looking like the end all over again for the struggling football league.
Meanwhile, XFL President Jeffrey Pollack called the sale a "Hollywood ending" and an "exciting new chapter for the league." Hopefully, with these new owners on board helping to steer the ship back in the right direction, the failed football league just might have a shot at success the next time the players hit the field. It's certainly been a rocky history for the XFL, but clearly Johnson and his business partners are still seeing great potential for the future. This news comes to us from ComicBook.com.