It appears Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is keeping the XFL in the professional wrestling family.
As first reported by Sportico, Johnson is a part of the group that has purchased the professional football league, which was originally founded by WWE chairman Vince McMahon. Earlier this year, the XFL filed for bankruptcy after ceasing operations as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
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An 8-time WWE heavyweight champion, Johnson reportedly purchased the league alongside investment firm RedBird Capital. Per Sportico, the spring football league sold for $15 million, with Johnson and the investment group splitting the price evenly. Dany Garcia, Johnson's business partner and ex-wife, is a stakeholder as well.
“The acquisition of the XFL with my talented partners, Dany Garcia and Gerry Cardinale, is an investment for me that’s rooted deeply in two things - my passion for the game and my desire to always take care of the fans,” Johnson said in a press release. “With pride and gratitude for all that I’ve built with my own two hands, I plan to apply these callouses to the XFL, and look forward to creating something special for the players, fans, and everyone involved for the love of football.”
After shutting down following its initial season in 2001, the XFL relaunched in 2020 and enjoyed relative success through its first five weeks of the season. Since ceasing operations, multiple players from the eight-team league -- which was broadcast nationally on FOX, ESPN and ABC -- have gone on to sign with NFL teams.
While it remains to be seen how involved Johnson will be with the XFL from an operations standpoint, his presence as one of the league's owner will likely bring newfound attention to the new league. One of professional wrestling's biggest stars in the late-1990s/early-2000s, Johnson has since become a mainstay of Hollywood, with Forbes ranking him as the highest-paid actor of 2019.
In recent years, Johnson has expanded his reach to television, serving as the creator, executive producer and host of The Titan Games on NBC. He also stars on HBO's Ballers, where he plays a sports agent who ventures into the world of sports ownership.