WWE: WrestleMania XXXVII

WWE: WrestleMania XXXVII

Sun Mar 28 2021 At 3:30 AM

SoFi Stadium

1000 South Prairie Avenue
Inglewood, California 90301

SoFi Stadium
Inglewood, CA, 90301

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XFL (2001)

The XFL was operated as a joint venture between the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) and NBC. The XFL was conceived as an outdoor football leagueThe original XFL was a professional American football league that played its only season in 2001. The XFL was operated as a joint venture between the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) and NBC. The XFL was conceived as an outdoor football league that would begin play immediately after the National Football League season ended to take advantage of lingering public desire to watch football after the NFL and college football seasons had concluded. It was promoted as having fewer rules to encourage rougher play than other major leagues. The league had eight teams in two divisions, including major markets and some not directly served by the NFL, such as Birmingham, Las Vegas, Memphis, and Orlando. The XFL operated as a single entity with all teams owned by the league, in contrast to most major professional leagues, which use a franchise model with individual owners. Co-owner NBC served as the main carrier of XFL games, along with UPN and TNN. The presentation of XFL games featured sports entertainment elements inspired by professional wrestling (and in particular, the WWE's then-present "Attitude Era"), including heat and kayfabe, suggestively-dressed cheerleaders, and occasional usage of WWE personalities (such as Jesse Ventura, Jim Ross, and Jerry Lawler) as part of on-air commentary crews alongside sportscasters and veteran football players. Despite the professional wrestling influence, the games and their outcomes were legitimate and not based on scripted storylines. The first night of play brought higher television viewership than NBC had projected, but ratings exponentially plummeted for subsequent games, with criticism directed toward its overall quality of play, on-air presentation, and connection to the WWE. NBC and the WWE both lost $35 million on their $100 million investment in the inaugural season, prompting NBC to pull out of the venture after one season. While plans were made to continue without NBC (with plans for expansion teams as well), UPN allegedly made untenable demands of the league, which hastened its demise. The league ceased operations entirely in May 2001. Its closure was announced just a few weeks after the league's season championship game, in which the Los Angeles Xtreme defeated the San Francisco Demons, on April 21, 2001, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Despite its short-lived existence, the XFL did pioneer several on-air technologies that would later become commonplace in football telecasts, such as aerial skycams, and on-player microphones. WWE owner Vince McMahon maintained control of the XFL brand after the league ceased operations, despite many, including McMahon himself, considering the original league to be a "colossal failure." However, McMahon did not give up on the idea of a professional spring football league, and launched a new iteration of the league in 2020. The new XFL was run by a new McMahon-controlled company independent from the present-day WWE, and did not utilize the sports entertainment elements featured in the previous incarnation. The second iteration of the XFL's inaugural season was aborted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the league suspended operations and filed for bankruptcy in April 2020, with McMahon relinquishing the XFL brand in a sale to his former WWE wrestler Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia that August.

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