Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Headlines Group Buying XFL; Can It Be Saved?


Finally, The Rock has come back to football.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is part of the investment group RedBird Capital that will buy the XFL from Vince McMahon, it was announced Monday. Johnson and his investors are buying the now-defunct football league for about $15 million.

Johnson, of course, is quite familiar with McMahon. Now one of the most famous movie stars on the planet, Johnson got his start in the entertainment business as one of the most popular wrestlers in McMahon’s WWE.

For Johnson, the purchase is a return to his roots in more ways than one. In addition to his obvious connection to McMahon and WWE, Johnson played football at the University of Miami and tried his hand at pro ball in the Canadian Football League before going into wrestling.

“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 statement, per ESPN.com. “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.”

The 2020 relaunch of the XFL was seen as fairly successful. The second iteration of the league met its demise shortly after the season began, though, when the coronavirus pandemic ended the campaign. The financial burden was too much to bear, and the league declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April.

Johnson’s involvement is fascinating for a multitude of reasons. He’s been generally successful in just about everything he’s done, and few people in the entire world can match his level of fame. He certainly sounds invested, as confirmed by the financial stake, and his connection with fans is undeniable. If he can parlay all of those things while also hiring the right people to help run the actual football league, the XFL could regain and surpass the momentum it was beginning to build in the spring.

Johnson’s group is a “dream team ownership group and the XFL is in the best possible hands going forward,” league president and chief operating officer Jeffrey Pollack said in a statement.

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