XWF Episode 1: Ahead Of Its Time…..Kind Of?

XWF Episode #1
Date: November 13, 2001
Location: Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Jerry Lawler
Hosts: Jimmy Hart, Brian Knobbs

This is another one I doubt you’ve heard of. Basically about seven months after WCW and ECW folded, Jimmy Hart, Greg Valentine and Brian Knobbs signed up the talent to start a family friendly wrestling promotion to give the guys another place to work. They taped ten TV shows over a two day period but the shows never aired on TV due to Vince signing up a lot of the roster.

The World Wrestling All-Stars would take some of these guys before TNA became a real home for them. These matches are from a three disc DVD set called the Lost Episodes of the XWF. I believe these were supposed to be TV episodes but there’s a chance they’re just random matches thrown together with other clips edited in to add a story. It could be interesting though so let’s get to it.

Before anyone asks, the X stands for either the X-Factor of wrestling, Xcitement or Xtreme depending on who you ask. Also yes, this is the same arena that TNA uses as the Impact Zone.

Since this is a DVD release, Brian Knobbs and Jimmy Hart tell us the company’s backstory. They emphasize that the company was never meant to compete with the WWE but rather to offer an alternative. Their motto was No More Prima Donnas, so they immediately went after Hulk Hogan.

Hulk Hogan is excited to be here and rips his shirt off to prove it.

After a generic rock song intro, Gene Okerlund talks to us about how exciting this is.

Tony introduces us to Jerry Lawler as his surprise commentary partner. The Jerry Lawler Fan Club sign over Tony’s shoulder kind of spoiled things.

The production values are somewhere between mediocre and good with a well built stage but bad lighting.

An old looking Okerlund is in the ring to introduce CEO Rena Mero (Sable) who is nearly falling out of her low cut dress. She gives us the usual WE ARE THE FUTURE AND ALL ABOUT THE WRESTLERS speech that every wrestling promotion gives on its first show. Sable is glad to be here but the board has decided we need a commissioner: Roddy Piper.

We get Piper’s traditional over the top speech about how many of his friends have been ruined by this business and how glad he is that this place is about the wrestlers. We hear about some of the stars of this place: Jimmy Snuka and Greg Valentine. This is going to be a LONG night isn’t it? Piper is glad to have a beautiful lady working with him. She can deal with the money while he deals with the wrestlers. It’s an independence day for wrestling.

Gene Simmons of KISS is with the Demon of WCW 2000 fame. Ok then.

Big Vito vs. Buff Bagwell

The first bell rings nearly fifteen minutes into this show. Before the match we get comments from the Nasty Boys: “We’re back!” End of comments. Vito jumps Bagwell to start as Tony confirms this is the debut TV episode (which never aired). Bagwell escapes some choking to come back with armdrags and dropkicks. At least we have a somewhat clear face.

The fans think Bagwell sucks though so who knows what’s going on here. Vito comes back with a boot to the face and a side slam for two but Buff scores with right hands and a backdrop. Bagwell responds to the chants and basically does a mid-match heel turn which isn’t something you see that often. The Blockbuster is broken up with an old fashioned crotching to set up a Vito superplex for two. Not that it matters as the Blockbuster connects for the pin for Buff a few seconds later.

Rating: D. This immediately shows the problem with shows like this (aside from the match being Buff Bagwell vs. Big Vito of course): there’s no story, meaning the match is just two guys doing moves to each other for four minutes. The crowd reactions were interesting as the fans decided they liked Vito instead of Bagwell, but they weren’t enough to make me care about a boring match.

A bunch of cruiserweights go to Roddy Piper’s office and want a chance. Their chance is in a battle royal (with pins and submissions) tonight to become the first Cruiserweight Champion. Great to see those little guys getting their shot.

Marty Jannetty vs. Hail

Hale is a big muscular guy that hung around WCW for years but never did anything. Hail shoves him around to start, hits a weak backbreaker and drops a leg for the pin in less than two minutes.

Maximum Force (Simon and Swinger with Dawn Marie from ECW) will be in our face.

Drezden is coming.

Horace Hogan vs. Ian Harrison

Harrison is a huge muscle guy (notice a theme tonight?) from England. Horace pounds away in the corner but can’t whip him across the ring. Harrison comes back with a powerslam (by a strong guy from Leeds, England who comes out to Rule Britannia? They’re not even hiding the stolen ideas now) and some shots to the head. A bad looking overhead suplex sets up a triangle choke to make Horace tap out.

Johnny B. Badd is back. Egads they thought this was going to be a big deal?

Jimmy Hart and Brian Knobbs hype up the battle royal.

Cruiserweight Title: Battle Royal

Psychosis, Billy Fives, AJ Styles, Juventud Guerrera, Tongan Prince, Quick Kick, Kid Kash, Christopher Daniels

No one gets an entrance and you can be eliminated by pinfall, submission or over the top. Tongan Prince is Prince Iaukea and Quick Kick is Low Ki (they might as well have just called him that all the time. It makes more sense). Daniels has short blonde hair here. It’s a big brawl to start with everyone going after everyone and Tony having no idea who half of these guys are. Styles dumps Billy Fives as Josh Matthews (yes THAT Josh Matthews) is sitting in the crowd. Psychosis is dumped and AJ is LAUNCHED over the top onto Psychosis and Fives.

Low Ki hits some loud kicks to Kash’s head as Daniels kicks Iaukea down in the corner. They trade off with Kash and Low Ki going up top, only to miss stereo dives and collide (kind of) in midair. Daniels and Iaukea try to get in cheap shots but clothesline each other down. Low Ki misses a charge and eliminates himself before Kash (Krash according to Tony) hurricanranas Iaukea out. Kash’s tornado DDT mostly doesn’t connect but it staggers Daniels enough that Kash can hit a springboard kick to eliminate him for the title.

Rating: D. If you ever want an example of a spot fest, this is where you would look. Nothing more to say than that.

Kash invites Josh Matthews to hang out with him in the back. This was right after Matthews had lost the inaugural Tough Enough.

Alice Cooper likes the XWF.

There are XWF Girls. Ok then.

Nasty Boys vs. Shane Twins

You might remember the Shane Twins as the Gymini from 2006 Smackdown. If not, picture twin Rybacks named Todd and Mike. What appears to be a 350lb or so Sags elbows Todd into the Pit Stop from Knobbs. Todd comes back with some suplexes before tagging in Mike. A double flapjack gets two on Knobbs and everything breaks down. Sags is sent to the floor as Knobbs beats on Mike in the corner, only to charge into a clothesline to give the Shanes what is supposed to be an upset win.

The Road Warriors come out to chase the Nastys off and issue them a challenge.

Jim Duggan is on Willie Nelson’s tour bus….and that’s all for that scene.

Vampiro talks about getting shortchanged over the years.

Vampiro vs. Curt Hennig

Hennig has an agent by the name of Bobby Heenan, who does Curt’s entrance as only he could. Vampiro hits a quick kick to the chest to start and follows Hennig into the corner with a clothesline. Heenan talks to his client on the floor and it’s Curt coming back with knee lifts and chops in the ring. The neck snap keeps Vampiro in trouble but he comes back with a belly to back suplex and a top rope spinwheel kick for two. Heenan loads up a foreign object but Piper is out maybe half a second later to take it away and blast Hennig. The Nail in the Coffin ends Hennig in less than three minutes.

Sable, Piper and Vampiro pose to end the show.

Knobbs and Hart dedicate the show to the late Hennig and Hawk. Egads what a horrid tribute.

Overall Rating: D-. Oh this is bad. I understand what they were going for here but it bombed badly. This is something that might possibly have a chance of surviving in modern times with video on demand or a DVD release, but having all these guys who were way past their primes at this point with not great production values wasn’t going to work. The longest match was maybe five minutes long and there were no stories anywhere in sight until the very end. I’d give this promotion a month if this had been the pilot episode, but maybe the next two will get better.

 

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