REVIEW: XPW Wrestling – Rebirth (2021)

A Pay-Per-view Event by XPW

XPW was one of those things I tried to get into when I was collecting Wrestling tapes and DVDs a few decades ago, but ultimately could not. I had a handful of the shows, mostly because Terry Funk and some former ECW guys went to the infamous west coast promotion soon after ECW’s collapse, but the result was not the best. Most of the home-grown wrestlers were not all that great, and since it was produced by a porn company, it was both a commercial for porn films, even starring some of the actresses, and VERY trashy. Honestly, it came across worse than the wrestling company that The Insane Clown Posse put together, JCW. That said, XPW was a train wreck, one of my friends and I couldn’t look away – then it was gone.

XPW’s owner, Rob Black, and his wife, pornographic actress Lizzy Borden, went to jail after almost a decade of legal woes for trafficking their wares into a state where it was deemed illegal to sell the material. This was somewhat of a false charge seemingly brought up because people were appalled by the couple due to a segment in a PBS documentary on the porn industry catching the eye of the Federal Government. There were plenty of other shady things going on, including one of the wrestlers having a finger cut off by “mysterious attackers” giving XPW an overall bad name. More can be learned by watching a recent episode of Dark Side of the Ring, which somehow used bad press to get this PPV off the ground. To see a clip, look below, I’m sure the full episode can be easily sound online.

So here we are, almost 18 years later, and somehow Rob Black was given money to revive the long dead company. Not many “XPW Originals” are still around or in the business anymore, so this is the launching pad for a whole new generation of extreme wrestlers, and some CZW mainstays, and well as prominent members of AEW, MLW, and Impact Wrestling. I was actually going to buy this (since it aired a month ago), but heard it was kind of rough on Twitter, so I decided to wait 30 days for it to show up on my Fite+ account. Certain shows show up for “free” after a while if you wait a month, so my subscription has really paid off. For more details see below.

So the question is, was the internet right, or was the show worth watching? Stay tuned to find out! I honesty don’t trust most “internet wrestling fans” since most just parrot Jim Cornette talking points or hype WWE 24/7. I try to be more level-headed, so this would have to be abysmal for me to hate it.

For anyone wanting to watch this, I would recommend Fite.TV. you can get some FITE credits (10 dollars I believe) with the following code: “6m6lyyn”. I’m sure there are other ways to watch it, but FITE has a solid interface and has been worth it so far. I actually learned you can also use Google Play points to by shows through this app, which was great to find out!

The Card:

  • Pre-Show: Facade def. Cheech
  • XPW World Heavyweight Title Tournament First Round: Willie Mack def. Matt Cross
  • XPW World Heavyweight Title Tournament First Round: TJP def. Bill Collier
  • XPW World Heavyweight Title Tournament First Round: Masada def. Rhino
  • XPW World Heavyweight Title Tournament First Round: Brian Cage def. KC Navarro
  • Last Hell Standing: Vincent def. G-Raver
  • XPW World Heavyweight Title Tournament Semi Final: Willie Mack def. Masada
  • XPW World Heavyweight Title Tournament Semi Final: Brian Cage def. TJP
  • Silas Young def. Colin Delaney & Nick Ando
  • Chairs Match: Madman Fulton vs. SHLAK ended in a no contest
  • XPW World Heavyweight Title Tournament Final: Brian Cage def. Willie Mack to win the vacant title

My Thoughts:

As I’ve stated before, my methodology for this is to avoid giving arbitrary star ratings or anything. I usually go through the show and pull a half-dozen or so things that I thought were significant or that I liked. You might think some of my choices are dumb and that’s okay – we all like different things!

Tribute to the XPW Originals:

While it wasn’t anything too crazy (no tribute video or anything), it was cool to see XPW Original, commentator Chris Kloss talk about the foundation of the company and wrestlers that may have not be able to make it to the show due to untimely deaths. Kloss ripped his shirt open to reveal an old Supreme T-shirt, an XPW Deathmatch legend that passed away last year. Other XPW mainstays such as New Jack, Justice Pain, John Kronus, and even Nicole Bass have also suffered untimely deaths, and many others have basically disappeared.

Whoa, There’s Actually Wresting!

Not to talk crap on “Old XPW”, but it was not known to be a “wrestling company”, there were a lot of barely trained guys that could take brutal hits and somehow not die, and those guys became XPW legends. The moment I saw guys like TJP, Willie Mack, Rhino, and even KC Navarro, I knew this was a new XPW. I know they’ve done anniversary shows a few times, and those actually featured wrestling (mostly because they largely borrowed CZW guys), but this is the most wrestling heavy card they’ve likely ever done. Yeah, we see some hardcore stuff, but it’s more akin to an old ECW card than what XPW became.

Love Me Some Brian Cage:

I’m not sure if Brian Cage pissed Tony Khan off or is injured, but I miss seeing him on AEW Wrestling. I was glad to see him here and get the star treatment he deserves. While most know him from Impact Wrestling, Lucha Underground, and AEW, Cage got his start doing things like Shane Douglas’ failed Extreme Rising promotion. In many ways this rebirth of XPW is sort of like that and gives me hope they can move forward with a mix of different guys. Seeing him wrestle Willie Mack again, which was a favorite feud of mine in Lucha Underground, was awesome!

Glad to see G-Raver

I’ve never seen G-Raver wrestle, but I am immediately a fan of his due to how he handled his legal battle with Jim Cornette. Jim Cornette is a great historian, but is basically the wrestling version of Alex Jones, and his fans act like Qanon fans on online communities. This has made me generally dislike him, because it’s all a ruse to make money and I feel like he’s in way too far. Cornette likes to dish out all sorts of vile rhetoric (some of which seems to get him fired constantly), but whines like a giant baby if somebody makes a T-shirt making fun of him. Going against ROH’s Vincent, this wasn’t an amazing match by any means, but I liked it alright. Wish he was wearing the Cornette shirt for extra salt as I’m sure Jim had great things to say about this show already.

God, That Had to Hurt!

You would think thumbtacks or broken glass would be worse, but I always wince when folks land on piles of LEGO! Have you ever stepped on one of those at night – truly awful pain! The rest of the show was actually pretty devoid of any real “hardcore elements”, which is something I will discuss at the end.

Oof, That Ending:

This match is a case study on how one over-booked segment can completely ruin a match. Brian Cage vs Willie Mack was very good (As I knew it would be) until it came time to wrap it up. I will try to summarize this the best I can, but hold onto your seat folks! After a series of Referee bumps, one last referee (with bleached blond hair) came out to count and Willie Mack was declared winner. As Mack stood tall, the original referee got in a fight with newest referee, and new ref attacks him. We find out this blond ref is actually XPW CEO Rob Black, who then attacks Willie Mack, allows Cage to get the pin, then counts. Brian Cage is your XPW Champion, and it seems Black has made the call when things didn’t go his way. My problem with this is that it literally made zero sense. There are so many EASIER ways to get a similar outcome, but I have no idea what they were going for here. In my opinion, one of two things would have been better, but I’m no wrestling booker:

  • Restart the match after the refs fight, Black screws over Mack and Cage wins.
  • Black does a slow count on Mack and Cage capitalizes for the win.

Doing what they did seemed like somebody messed up, because I have no idea how anyone could decide that was the way to go. It seemed like Black was cool with Mack winning until OG Ref got mad at him, are we to believe Rob Black just had a scorched Earth temper tantrum? Hopefully this can be fixed via promo at the next show.

Conclusion:

So, I see why people were upset, as the ending was somewhat botched. There was also a chair match that got ended due to referee stoppage as a result of The State of New York Athletic Commission not allowing blood. If that was not planned, why would they even do a chair match full of unprotected headshots? If it was….why? All that did was make the crowd angry. Between that and the main event final endings, I can see why some were upset, but it wasn’t THAT Bad. Honestly it just reminded me of TNA circa 2011 or so. I think some folks just wanted to troll XPW on the internet, which is a shame. I mean, honestly WWE has had far worse endings in recent memory, such as the infamous ending to the Hell in a Cell match between Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt that resulted in the crowd loudly chanting for a refund.

That said, this was a largely decent show and I will probably watch more of it if this keeps going. Honestly it didn’t feel fully like an XPW show of the past, but for me that’s not a bad thing. Having porn segments and other nonsense is something that should have died in the early 2000’s, and I’m glad Rob Black is willing to change it up.

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