It’s time for part two of the three part series looking at the XWF, which was developed by Jimmy Hart. The feedback from part one has been rather interesting. Some people had hope for it and it never developed, and others (majority) felt that it wasn’t going to be successful even with television. I can see how the legends on the roster wouldn’t be beneficial, but the talent roster is quite impressive for a startup company and the young wrestlers would develop into great workers.
Usually, I’m very cynical towards wrestling, but with the XWF I can’t help but be hopeful with what it could have been. I noted in the first part that the WWF snatching their top names up probably killed them off. I do believe that XWF, on some level, could have been competition. They had recognizable names and young talents that they could have pushed hard to keep viewers coming back.
Enough of my opinion on the company that never was. Here’s episode two of their three part pilot series.
The show starts off with highlights from episode one as Tony Schiavone and Jerry Lawler welcome us to the program. They talk about the Shane Twins winning over the Nasty Boys and this week there will be a rematch this week.
Match #1: Psychosis & Juventud Guerrera vs. Konnan & Ray Gonzalez
Konnan and Psychosis kick off the tag match with Konnan taking Psychosis down with an arm drag. Konnan follows up with a head scissors out of the corner and another arm drag. Juventud and Gonzalez tag in shoving each other. Guerrera elbow drops Gonzalez to avoid coming off the ropes. Ray takes Guerrera over with a snap suplex and continues to stomp on Juventud. Psychosis with a knee lift and Guerrera hit a spinning heel kick. Psychosis and Guerrera hit a double dropkick to a kneeling Ray. Psychosis gets a two count following a leg drop. Psychosis tags in Juventud who hit a leg drop off the top for a two count. Gonzalez runs over Psychosis with a clothesline. Ray kicks Psychosis and tags in Konnan who hit a wheelbarrow slam on Juventud. Konnan plants Psychosis with a DDT. Guerrera is met with a double hip toss and gets a two count as Psychosis makes the save. Psychosis dropkicks Ray on the knee allowing Guerrera to hit the Juvi Driver! Guerrera goes for the 450 splash but Konnan stops him! Psychosis gets knocked to the floor and Ray pins Guerrera following a Twist of Fate (*1/2. There was some obvious clipping early in the match and it hurt the flow of the match. I’ve always dug Juvi and Psychosis and Konnan actually looked motivated with his moves. That motivation didn’t last very long.)
Mean Gene brings out XWF CEO Rena Mero. Rena comes down to the ring with security. The Barbarian is one of the security guys. Rena thanks everyone for their efforts to make XWF first show an unforgettable occasion. She thinks the XWF can take wrestling to a whole new level. Gene thinks that the XWF Commissioner has overstepped his power and Rena questions Gene if he doesn’t trust her judgment. Piper wants to know why Gene is questioning Rena. Gene insists that he is questioning Piper since he took things into his own hands. Piper threatens Gene and Rena steps in. Rena reminds Piper that he said he would be impartial and his wrestling days are over with. Rena asks if there is a fire under the kilt for Piper to wrestle. Piper says that there is a forest burning under his kilt. Vampiro rolls into the ring and gets in Rena’s bubble. Vampiro thanks them for their confidence in their abilities. Nobody else would take a chance on them and they are going to give 350% every night. Rena talks about Vampiro being 15 at the LA Arena waiting for his chance and this is his chance now. She sees the same determination in someone else. She sees that determination in Josh. His name is Josh from MTVs Tough Enough. It’s as if she couldn’t remember his last name.
We see a vignette by the Public Enemy (going by South Philly Posse) who have Jasmine St. Claire with them on the streets of Orlando.
Simon Diamond comes out with Dawn Marie saying that Jerry Lawler said rude things about Dawn Marie. He insists that Marie is class and Lawler doesn’t know anything about it. Diamond insults the woman behind Lawler calling her a dog. Diamond thinks it is funny that Lawler would stand up and fight for that (in reference to his lady friend). Lawler accepts the challenge made by Diamond.
Match #2: Simon Diamond vs. Jerry Lawler
Johnny Swinger attacks from behind to help Diamond and they double team him in the corner. Lawler is met with double back elbow shot. I’m not sure how this isn’t a disqualification. Lawler is taken down to the mat with a double suplex and Diamond wanted a cover but the referee was really late on that. Diamond misses a right hand hitting Swinger. Swinger misses a right hand hitting Diamond on accident. Diamond accidentally super kicks Swinger to the floor. Lawler takes advantage with a piledriver to win the match. (DUD. Hardly a match, I’d say. It’s kind of difficult for me to like this considering they just jobbed Diamond the the color commentator.)
A vignette promoting Vapor (Ryan Sakoda) coming to the XWF with Sonny Ono is aired.
Match #3: Hail vs. Knuckles
Hail doesn’t waste any time splashing Knuckles in the corner and puts him on the top turnbuckle. Hail hit a top rope overhead belly to belly suplex. Hail continues with a shoulder breaker and a leg drop for the win. (*. This was a better showing than his first match. I’m pretty sure he was going to feud with Hogan.)
AJ Styles cuts a promo saying that the XWF is missing one thing and that is style. He’s going to wear the Cruiserweight Championship.
Backstage, Greg Valentine and Horace Hogan are looking at the board saying they aren’t on the show. Piper says that Horace has to be tough like Valentine and chops him several times. Piper will give Horace one more shot but he has to be tough. Valentine didn’t like that and knocks the board down.
Match #4: Johnny B. Badd vs. Norman Smiley
Smiley controls Badd with a headlock before hitting a shoulder block and hip toss. Smiley proceeds to wiggle a little bit. Badd hip tosses Smiley and taunts him with a dance move. Smiley avoids Badd in the corner to hit a scoop slam. Smiley clotheslines Badd for a two count. Badd fights back with right hands in the corner but runs into a big boot. Smiley clotheslines Badd followed by a double under hook slam. Smiley has an abdominal stretch on the canvas but isn’t going to get a submission here. Badd has a fireman’s carry planting Smiley with a TKO for the win. (*. Badd is in phenomenal shape and looked pretty good here. I recall Johnny working TNA in 2004 and not doing very much. He could have been a veteran that should have been better utilized.)
Match #5: Shane Twins vs. Road Warriors
Hawk and Animal go right on the attack with Animal hitting a clothesline in the corner but runs into a big boot and Mike comes back with a clothesline of his own for a two count. Animal clotheslines Mike and tags out to Hawk as Todd tags in as well. Hawk works over Todd in the corner with strikes followed by a dropkick. Todd plants Hawk with a suplex and continues to work over Hawk with right hands. Hawk clubs Todd over the back and hit a neck breaker for a near fall. Hawk misses a spear and hits the ring post shoulder first. Hawk is double teamed with a double shoulder block. Mike gets a two count following a falling head butt and a swinging neck breaker. Mike works over Hawk with right hands in the corner and a clothesline. Hawk is sent into the corner and stumbles backwards awkwardly leading them to collide. Todd and Animal get tagged in with Animal cleaning house. Animal gets out of a back suplex and clotheslines them. Todd gets put on Animal’s shoulders and Hawk hit the Doomsday Device. Wait, here come the Nasty Boys to attack both teams. The match is thrown out. (*. I didn’t think the Road Warriors would lose at all here. The action was rather bland and not overly interesting. I can always appreciate the Doomsday Device, though.)
A vignette promoting Jimmy Snuka Sr. and Jimmy Snuka Jr. coming to XWF.
Main Event: Curt Hennig vs. Buff Bagwell
Hennig controls Bagwell with a headlock and takes Buff down with a shoulder block. Hennig works over Bagwell in the corner with a chop and chokes Bagwell with his necklace. Bagwell comes back with a hip toss and dropkicks Hennig to the floor. Hennig drops Buff throat first across the top rope and hit a rolling neck snap. Hennig keeps control kicking Bagwell and goes back to a choke. Hennig is using the necklace some more to choke Buff. Hennig controls Bagwell with an abdominal stretch and uses the ropes for leverage briefly. Hennig puts the Boston Crab on Bagwell but lets go quickly. Bagwell drops Hennig with a jaw breaker and hammers away on Curt followed by a forearm shot and clothesline. Buff goes to the middle rope looking for the Blockbuster but Bobby Heenan shoves Bagwel off allowing Hennig to hit the Hennig Plex for the win. After the match, Vampiro comes out and tells the referee what happened. Hennig decks Vampiro but Bagwell is up and beats on Hennig. Ian Harrison comes in and clotheslines Bagwell and Vampiro. Roddy Piper comes out with a steel chair but Rena Mero is storming down to the ring. Piper decks Hennig and Heenan runs out of the ring. Mero is yelling at Piper on the apron to end the show. (*. Nothing great here, as expected. This felt like something you’d watch on WCW Thunder. The ending and aftermath had me feeling like Hennig was the face, when he’s not. That was just some weird booking.)
Now that I’m through two episodes, my optimistic attitude is kind of dwindling. The booking is very “by the book” and nothing stands out as overly memorable. My interest is certainly in the roster of guys that they used. They just don’t seem to be doing much with them in the pilots.
What are your thoughts or memories on XWF?
Thanks for reading.