Xcitement Wrestling Federation - commonly known as XWF - was a short lived professional wrestling promotion from late 2001 to early 2002. XWF's slogan was "No more prima donnas, no more politics, in your face!". They looked to promote a product that the whole family can watch and enjoy by bringing back pro-wrestling with a 21st Century spin as an alternative to sports entertainment. As such, the letter "X" in XWF stood for the missing variables from the current wrestling scene and not "Xtreme" as sometimes written.
XWF was founded by infomercial guru Kevin Harrington, when he started the federation with a couple of his pro-wrestling friends. The XWF was chiefly run by Jimmy Hart and boasted an impressive array of wrestlers, announcers and other wrestling related individuals. This included many major stars such as Hulk Hogan, The Road Warriors and Curt Hennig, alongside young up-and-comers like A.J. Styles, Carly Colón, Christopher Daniels and many more. It also includes an early appearance of the current NWA-UK Champion, Conscience. Chris Adams was scheduled to compete in this federation upon its debut, but was killed a month before the federation began operations.
Additionally, Tony Schiavone and Jerry Lawler were the commentators, along with the talents of Gene Okerlund and Bobby Heenan. Rena Mero was the on-screen XWF chief executive officer, with Rowdy Roddy Piper being the XWF Commissioner. Gene Simmons of KISS, also taped vignettes with The Demon Dale Torborg and former editor and publisher of WCW Magazine, Colin Bowman was the head writer.
Here, the XWF taped over ten hours worth of wrestling at Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida, of November 13 and 14, 2001. Primarily, these tapings were pilot episodes to show television executives in the hope of securing a major TV contract. The stage, lighting and overall production was considered to be of the highest quality, said to be like that of the World Wrestling Federation.
While the XWF awaited finalization of a national television contract, the promotion also experimented with live arena shows, likely to enhance their pitch to television executives.
The first show was held at the Civic Center, Hammond, Indiana, on December 28, 2001, with a reported two-thirds attendance. Other shows of late December, 2001, were in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Green Bay, Wisconsin. Further dates for the end of February, 2002, in Amarillo, Texas, and Lubbock, Texas, went ahead but planned dates for early January, 2002, at Port Huron, Michigan, Toledo, Ohio and Battle Creek, Michigan were canceled but rescheduled for late March, 2002. These shows however were again cancelled.
The major problem of the XWF was the much anticipated national TV deal did not materialize. This was in-part due to the like of Hulk Hogan, Curt Hennig, Roddy Piper, Rena Mero, Jerry Lawler and many more being quickly snapped up by the World Wrestling Federation. While those wrestlers were under contract with the XWF, Hart did not want to have wrestlers who did not want to be there and let them leave. Jimmy Hart had said jokingly during one interview that at least the WWF left him the ring.
As such, the XWF could not promote their pilot tapings to TV executives as they were no longer able to deliver the same big star wrestlers as seen on their pilot shows.
XWF was rumored to be considering paying a network to air a few XWF shows, since they felt so strongly on the product. By mid-2002, the promotion was said to be focusing on the European market rather than the United States market, with the promotion pursuing a television deal in Europe. None of this happened and the promotion looked to be at its end.
WWC and Memphis, Tennesse
XWF's In Your Face television program did however air in Puerto Rico of August, 2002, with the promotion also invading the local World Wrestling Council promotion in a wrestling story to promote their product. As part of the heel angle, XWF wrestlers attacked the WWC roster and subsequently spray painted "XWF" on the back of their wrestlers. The two companies ran various WWC versus XWF events and also had a show named Invasion of October, 2002.
Starting May, 2003, the XWF appeared on United States television via a second invasion angle, this time in the Memphis Wrestling promotion. The second XWF invasion, this time with a much reduced XWF roster, included XWF Championship matches, Jimmy Hart changing the Memphis Wrestling opening title credits to XWF opening credits, and XWF ring announcer David Penzer replacing Memphis Wrestling's announcer. When the invasion angle came to an end however, XWF more or less came to an end as well.
While there were several non-wrestling investors in the company, it is believed to have been run by Jimmy Hart, Brian Knobbs and Greg Valentine. Jimmy Hart acquired the rights for the XWF for $100,000 in 2004.
In September 2004, the idea of bringing a special television series about the XWF to The Wrestling Channel and likely other channels thereafter was explored by Jimmy Hart.
During July 2005, the XWF released a three DVD series called In Your Face: The Lost Episodes of the XWF. It featured 19 matches from the original Universal Studios tapings with extras including an interview with Hulk Hogan. The series is hosted by Jimmy Hart and Brian Knobs.
In 2006, WWE licensed a match from the XWF tape library for use on the Hulk Hogan Anthology DVD.
- The belt was first won by Kid Kash, who defeated Billy Fives, Psicosis, Juventud Guerrera, AJ Styles, Low Ki, Prince Iaukea, and Christopher Daniels in a battle royal on November 13, 2001 in Universal Studios Orlando, Florida. Kash lost the belt the next day to Juventud Guerrera at the November 14, 2001 tapings. However, during the Memphis invasion Kid Kash served as the XWF Cruiserweight champion even though he had officially lost the title.
- The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags) became the first champions after defeating the Road Warriors, Shane Twins, and the South Philly Posse in a Four Way Match to win the titles on November 14, 2001. The Nasty Boys defended the Titles during the WWC Invasion. The XWF Tag Team Titles were also used during the invasion of Memphis and were held by teams such as Shock and Awe (Shock a.k.a. The Spellbinder and "British Storm" Ian Harrison), Shock & B.A.D., etc.
- Former champions include Christie Ricci.