The Rock's rocky road- Dwayne Johnson's Hollywood struggles continue, but can he wrestle XFL to success?

ByPaurush Omar
Jun 05, 2023 05:57 PM IST

Johnson made a bold investment move in 2020, purchasing the troubled XFL for $15 million

Known for his chiseled physique and timeless looks, Dwayne Johnson has been a force to reckon with in the entertainment industry. However, his acting career has been facing its fair share of challenges. Amidst these struggles, Johnson made a bold investment move in 2020, purchasing the troubled XFL for $15 million. Unfortunately, the league's financial woes continued, leading to bankruptcy and proposed cost-cutting measures.

Actor Dwayne Johnson poses at the world premiere of Walt Disney Animation Studios' 'Moana'.(REUTERS)
Actor Dwayne Johnson poses at the world premiere of Walt Disney Animation Studios' 'Moana'.(REUTERS)

With starring roles in remakes like Baywatch and Get Smart, Johnson has experience with questionable reboots. Similarly, his co-owned XFL franchise was gearing up for its second season in 2023. Despite a successful spring preparation, the XFL found itself proposing major layoffs to address past financial difficulties.

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The history of the XFL dates back to the early 2000s when it initially partnered with NBC and WWF (now WWE). However, the league's debut season was marred by scandalous headlines involving inappropriate behavior. It quickly crumbled due to a lack of serious propositions.

In 2019, the XFL made a comeback, aiming to capitalize on the growing market with a spring start-up. Unfortunately, the franchise faced losses within just eight weeks and filed for bankruptcy. Wrestling tycoon Vince McMahon attempted a resurrection in 2020, investing a reported $200 million. Yet, the league was forced to shut down again, this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Enter Dwayne Johnson, armed with his $15 million proposal to acquire the XFL rights. Teaming up with his ex-wife, Dany Garcia, RedBird Capital, and a New York-based investment firm, Johnson believed he could turn the tide. Despite the franchise's troubled past, the current investors were determined to make the XFL a success.

However, even with a promising second season, the XFL found itself proposing more cost cuts and layoffs. Marketing employees were let go, and a shift towards seasonal workers was initiated. XFL spokesperson Dan Gagnier explained the need for efficiency and sustainable business performance, given the seasonal nature of the league.

Also read | XFL is back and fans are loving it: A look at week 1 viewership numbers

While the 2023 spring matches showcased growth and quality, Dwayne Johnson's XFL is still focused on cost-cutting measures. It remains a challenging journey for Johnson as he strives to make the XFL a thriving enterprise. Only time will tell if his dedication and strategic restructuring can secure a brighter future for the league.

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