Xcitement Wrestling Federation, or better known simply as the XWF, was a wrestling company formed in late 2001 by Jimmy Hart, Greg Valentine and Brian Knobbs. The idea being that the company would challenge the WWF since both ECW and WCW had gone out of business earlier in the year. The had the financial backing of Kevin Harrington, who has been on Shark Tank as an investor for various projects. Their roster had plenty of big names to go along with younger names. The promotion would have been considered family friendly, which the WWE had not been for four years.
The roster, as mentioned, had a lot of bigger names, but most of them wouldn’t stick around to allow XWF to flourish on national television. Guys like Hulk Hogan, Curt Hennig, Rey Mysterio Jr., Roddy Piper, Sable and Jerry Lawler all found themselves back on or made this debut (Rey) on WWF television shortly after the tapings.
AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Kid Kash, Carlito, Josh Matthews, Kevin Northcutt, and the Shane Twins were some of the young talents that the XWF had lined up to use. I’d say that is a pretty solid core for your youth development. Add on guys like Buff Bagwell, Vampiro, Public Enemy, Devon Storm, Terry Funk, Road Warriors, Juventud Guerrera, Psicosis, Big Vito, Norman Smiley, and the Nasty Boys. There are plenty of familiar names to draw a crowd.
However, the loss of the main stars never allowed them to become much of anything other than a “what if” promotion. The company had several tapings and there are three shows that were used in pitching the promotion. They are on YouTube and I’m going to check them out since I’ve always wanted to and never watched the footage. Lets get started with part one of the three part series.
Tony Schiavone and Jerry Lawler are on commentary. Mean Gene is the interviewer, similar to the role he held throughout his career.
Mean Gene is standing in the ring after Jerry Lawler gets an introduction. Gene brings out the CEO for the XWF… Rena! Rena is better known as Sable from WWF fame. Rena says that wrestling has been ran by sleazy lowlife promoters for the past decades. She says things are about to change as XWF is an even playing field as there will be no politics in the company. In order to stay at the top, you’ll have to be the best of the best. She knew that they’d need someone to maintain order in the XWF and that means they needed a commissioner. The XWF commissioner is Roddy Piper! Piper has seen his friends dying in the ring while the promoters take the money and go home not caring. XWF can achieve greatness through their talent. Piper is back to put wrestling on track. Piper puts over guys like Jimmy Snuka and Greg Valentine. Piper promises that he will get In Your Face, which is being pushed hard since that is the name of the show. Piper tells Rena to deal with the money and he’ll deal with the slime. Rena agrees.
Gene Simmons is literally managing the Kiss Demon. WCW couldn’t pull that off, but XWF can?
Match #1: Buff Bagwell vs. Big Vito
The first match in XWF history is between two former WCW guys. They are using very similar music they used in WCW though it’s not the exact same. Vito hammers away on Bagwell as Buff was posing for the fans. Vito chokes Buff over the top rope to keep the advantage. Vito shoulder blocks Buff but gets stopped by a hip toss. Buff clotheslines Vito followed by a dropkick and plays to the crowd. Buff runs into an elbow shot in the corner and Vito knocks Bagwell down with a super kick. Vito drives Bagwell down with a side slam for a two count. Vito taunts the fans while stomping Buff on the canvas. Bagwell nearly wins with a sunset flip attempt and hammers away on Vito a few times. Bagwell backdrops Vito and hit a swinging neck breaker for a two count. Buff goes to the top rope and gets crotched by Vito. Vito brings Bagwell to the canvas with a superplex! Buff boots Vito in the corner and hit the Blockbuster for the win. (*1/2. A rather basic match between these veterans. I would have preferred a match to highlight younger talents, but I understand why they’d go with known names.)
Backstage, Prince Iaukea is leading the locker room to knock on Roddy Piper’s door. Iaukea wants to know if Piper was serious about everyone having a shot. Piper decides to put all the Cruiserweights in a match where they will all be in the ring at once and the last one standing will be the XWF Cruiserweight Champion.
Match #2: Hail vs. Marty Jannetty
I recall hailing getting some TV time in WCW and being a pet project for Jimmy Hart. So, of course he is managed by Jimmy Hart in the XWF. Hail showcases his size advantage tossing Jannetty into the corner. Hail continues to show his strength by tossing Marty to the canvas. Hail drives Jannetty down with a back breaker and a shoulder breaker. Hail comes off the ropes with a leg drop and that’s good enough for a three count. (1/2*. It served its purpose to get Hail over a powerhouse for the promotion. Interesting that Hail would use the leg drop to possibly set an eventual feud with Hulk Hogan.)
Maximum Force is in the XWF, which consists of Simon Diamond, Dawn Marie and Johnny Swinger. Diamond is smart, Swinger has the body and Marie is the beauty.
Match #3: Horace Hogan vs. Ian Harrison
Horace sure is lucky to be related to Hulk Hogan to find a spot in the XWF. Harrison is a body builder type who comes out to similar music the British Bulldog used in his career. Horace quickly goes on the attack before the bell. Harrison takes Horace over with a snap power slam and tosses Horace over the top to the floor. Harrison shows his body off the crowd and he’s really jacked. Harrison brings Horace back into the ring from the apron with a suplex. Harrison stops Horace with an overhead suplex and a sit down scoop slam. Harrison wins with a basic head scissors. (1/2*. Harrison was okay, but a little bit sloppy.)
Johnny B. Badd is in the XWF and he’s a bad man!
Norman Smiley is in the XWF, too.
Match #4: XWF Cruiserweight Championship Battle Royal
Everyone in the match are going at it so I’ll try to cover them all. Psicosis gets kicked by Low Ki while Juvi Guerrera nails Daniels with a spinning heel kick. Juvi plants Daniels with a wheelbarrow bulldog. Kid Kash drives Ki down with a muscle buster back breaker. AJ Styles and Johnny Swinger were trading shots until Styles knocks Swinger to the floor. Josh Matthews is shown in the crowd watching the match. Kid Kash works on Styles. Meanwhile, Billy Fives and Psicosis fell over the top to the floor. Styles took them out with a dive and was eliminated as well after he was tossed to the floor. Ki nails Kash with a kick to the head. Daniels is working over Iaukea in the corner with stomps and a dropkick. Ki kicks Iaukea from the apron and goes to the top but is stopped by Iaukea. Kash knocks Daniels off the middle rope and Ki knocks Iaukea off as well. Ki and Kash leap off the top and collide in midair. Daniels and Iaueka clothesline each other and Kash backdrops Ki over the top to the floor. Kash is able to knock Iaukea over the top but Daniels tries for the BME only to miss Kash. Kash plants Daniels with a tornado DDT. Daniels elbows Kash in the corner and goes to the middle rope but gets knocked off by Kash, who wins the championship. (*1/2. Nothing too crazy, but it was funny to see Iaukea get presented in a strong manner. Their Cruiserweight division would have been stacked, though.)
Match #5: The Nasty Boys vs. Shane Twins
Sags and Mike Shane kick off the match with Sags pummeling Mike with strikes against the ropes. Sags rubs Mike’s face into Knobbs armpit for the Pit Stop. Mike shoulder blocks Sags and connects with a quick suplex. Knobbs runs into a belly to belly suplex. Todd Shane enters and power slams Sags. Knobbs tries his luck again but gets knocked down with a double flapjack for a two count. Knobbs is working over Todd with strikes in the corner. Sags has Mike on the floor but gets sent into the ring steps. Knobbs runs into clothesline from Todd and is pinned! After the match, The Nasty Boys attack because they are bad losers. Wait, here comes the Road Warriors to make the save! Road Warriors are in the XWF to kick the butts of the Nasty Boys, apparently.
Footage of Jim Duggan hanging out with Willie Nelson on a tour bus. Nelson is supporting Duggan on his new venture.
Match #6: Curt Hennig vs. Vampiro
Bobby Heenan is managing Hennig. Vampiro quickly knocks Hennig down with a spinning kick and a clothesline in the corner. Hennig bumps over the top to the floor following a second clothesline from Vampiro. Heenan helps Hennig out on the floor as Hennig drops Vampiro throat first across the top rope to gain the advantage. Hennig comes off the ropes to hit a running knee lift and continues to chop Vampiro. Henning continues with a rolling neck snap. Vampiro plants Hennig with a back suplex for a two count. Vampiro goes to the top managing to hit a spinning heel kick for a two count. Heenan has gotten brass knuckles but Roddy Piper comes out and decks Hennig with the brass knuckles. That allows Vampiro to hit the Nail In The Coffin to win the match! (*. I was not expecting a victory for Vampiro. A quick match but they both seemed like they were working hard.)
That wraps up the first of three installments of the XWF series. I must say, the action is quick and they aren’t really allowed to get going. Yeah, I know it’s a pilot series so maybe it wouldn’t be like this. However, if this a final cut of the product, it’s not too bad. Six matches in 45 minutes of airtime shows that they are all about action and not so much talking/entertainment. The star power alone makes this an interesting project.
What are your thoughts on XWF? Would this episode catch your interest? Leave your thoughts below.
Thanks for reading.
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.