Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is splurging $AUD21 million to buy the bankrupt XFL from WWE supremo Vince McMahon.
Wrestling icon and Hollywood star Johnson bought the American football league in partnership with ex-wife Dany Garcia and investment firm RedBird Capital Partners.
The XFL was first set up in 2001 but lasted just one season before McMahon revived the league in 2020. Unfortunately, COVID-19 forced the season to be suspended just five weeks in and cash flow problems saw the WWE boss’ private company Alpha Entertainment file for bankruptcy in April.
The XFL was up for auction and Johnson and Co. swooped.
“With my trail blazing partner @DanyGarciaCo & RedBird Capital, we have acquired the XFL,” Johnson wrote on Twitter.
“With gratitude & passion I’ve built a career with my own two hands and will apply these callouses to our @xfl2020 brand.
“Excited to create something special for the fans!”
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The XFL was relaunched this year with the goal of challenging the NFL’s popularity. Before its shutdown, the league boasted slightly different rules designed to speed the game up and make it a more attractive spectacle for viewers.
Johnson played football for the University of Miami in the early 1990s and enjoyed a short stint in the Canadian Football League before his blockbuster wrestling career turned him into a household name.
In a statement released after his XFL purchase, Johnson wrote: “The acquisition of the XFL with my talented partners, Dany Garcia and (RedBird Capital CEO) 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.”
It was reported the new incarnation of the XFL drew an audience of three million in its first week before viewership dropped after that.
It is not yet known when Johnson and his team will look to get the XFL season back up and running.