Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Says He Bought XFL From Vince McMahon to Create “A League of 54s”

Dwayne Johnson XFL

Vince McMahon has shown immaculate business acumen in his handling of WWE. However, the same cannot be said for his ventures outside of it. His most notable failure has been the XFL. The WWE Chairman tried to succeed twice with his adventurous Football League. However, the result, for different reasons, remained the same, leading to him selling it to his former champion Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.


The wrestler turned actor already has a busy schedule, but did not hesitate as soon as he was told that the XFL was on the market. The XFL is in its third season and first under the Brahma Bull. During a recent appearance on ESPN, Dwayne Johnson explained the person reason that made him buy the league.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson says he bought XFL from Vince McMahon to create “a league of 54s”

Dwayne Johnson Talks Succesful Re-Launch Of XFL

Dwayne Johnson explained that the XFL was a league he wished existed during his time as a football player. Which is why when Danny Garcia, his ex-wife and business partner, told him her idea of buying the XFL, she was met with a very eager yes from the Hollywood star.

“It was the opportunity to create a league that I wish that I had when I was around,” Johnson said. “But the allure of this was my longtime business partner Dany Garcia, she said, ‘I have this crazy idea, let’s go buy the XFL.’ And immediately, it was the easiest ‘Yes’ I ever said.”

Before he became a pro-wrestler, Johnson pursued a football career. However, he did not make it too far. He played for the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League back in 1995. Although, he had a short stint with them, being let go after only two months with them.

“There are 53 men on an NFL roster, I was always number 54,” Johnson told ESPN. “Our goal here — we have a league of 54s.”  

Is the XFL doing better with The Rock at the helm?

The original XFL, in Vince McMahon’s words, was a “colossal failure”.

WWF, and NBC joined hands for a partnership that eventually saw them lose $35 million!

The idea was to create a competition for the NFL. But it would air at the end of the NFL season in order to exploit the lingering desire to watch more football games at the conclusion of the NFL.

They brought a number of changes in rules and regulations in order to make the game more intense. However, despite strong ratings initially, the viewership nosedived due to the belief that it relied too heavily on gimmicks inspired by pro-wrestling.

In 2017, Vince McMahon sold $100 million worth of WWE stock. This money was used to finance the new incarnation of XFL. He liquidated a further $270 million in WWE stock to provide more funding to his league.

This new XFL was much different than its previous version. For starters, he was no longer looking to rival the NFL, but simply be an alternative to them. It focused a lot more on the sport rather than being a WWE’s version of it.

It fared comparatively better than the original XFL. However, a Coronavirus pandemic led suspension eventually led to the league losing millions in revenue and forced them to file for bankruptcy.

The XFL was sold to the Rock and the league is now in its first season out of Vince’s clutches. However, so far, there has not been too much of a change in the fortunes of the league. If anything, they are faring worse than they did in its previous seasons.

There were 3.3 million viewers for the opening game in the 2020 season. The current season failed to capture half of that with only 1.54 million viewers tuning in to watch the opening game of 2023. Not great numbers, but The Rock will hope that the league finishes strong.

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