In 1999 pushing the envelope was working great in pro-wrestling, and Rob Black felt like he was the best envelope pusher in the business of pushing envelopes. Black pushed himself into a business deal where an ECW type fed would start on the West Coast, and ECW would even do a talent exchange with the group. Somewhere during all this, Rob Black and some other investors decided that they were just going to start their own fed, without ECW. Rob Black and those investors created Xtreme Pro Wrestling. It had quite a few good points like the events didn’t look like well lit bingo halls, and they had an indy version of a Titan Tron, complete with music and entrance video. The weird thing was that the talents entrance videos were often video of them getting their asses kicked, and bleeding(?).
XPW started with Big Dick Dudley, Nicole Bass, and Mike Modest as their big name talent. They crowned their first world champ in a death match battle royale, which sucked because the talent didn’t need to be extreme this early. XPW was more like CZW than ECW, and that was a big problem. Fans don’t care about death matches between two guys they don’t care about. I had no idea why Supreme was fighting Chronus in a barbwire bat match, no one ever provided backstory to these feuds. I’d have rather watched a lead up video, or have an actual program first. I mean Chronus and Supreme were as good as any XPW guy?
The first champ was Damien Steele, and he was immediately pushed into a confusing feud with Dick Dudley. Somewhere along the way Jasmin St Claire (Sinclair?) got involved and turned on Dick Dudley. Later Steele would create a Triple Threat clone stable called the “Hierarchy”. It consisted of Mike Modest, Steele, and Jake Lawless. My friend at the time described the group as Shane Douglas, Dean Malenko, and Kevin Nash. It wasn’t that at all, but still XPW wasn’t so bad. I pretty much lost all the XPW videos that my friends gave me from this era. I would need to wait until XPW came on Tv.
XPW was now certainly going extremer, I had heard there was an angle where Jake Lawless had tried to rape Jasmin St Claire in the ring, and Lawless gave his world title to Damien Steele in exchange for drugs. These storylines were getting cynical and mean-spirited.
The next big XPW angle was Rob Black’s wife, Lizzy Borden, acting as evil authority figure. At this time Chris Candido, Sabu, and Shane Douglas were doing appearances. Sabu won the belt, and was going to put his title on the line in a year long gauntlet of challengers, at every event. If Sabu lost, he’d be fired from XPW. It’s okay because Sabu no-showed like 22 events, and Rob Black put the belt on the Messiah, a guy that wore a black shirt and Adidas pants to display his zealotry. Seriously if his name wasn’t Messiah, and he didn’t carry a Bible to the ring, I’d have not known what his gimmick was. By this time Rob Black was playing “evil boss”, and Messiah and Lizzy Borden (Black’s wife) were working many events together. Borden was Messiah’s manager. XPW talent was hated along the back east, and there were a lot of rumors about Messiah and Borden sleeping together. East Coast fans in CZW would often start a “You F’d Lizzy” chant toward Messiah, and it meant nothing. Then two thugs broke into Messiah’s home and cut his thumb off. Rob Black was never investigated over it, and the Messiah has said he doesn’t believe Black was involved. It doesn’t matter because talent started leaving XPW, and XPW talent was nearly blacklisted as far as being in a major fed goes.
XPW had the weirdest gimmicks like a S&M guy that looked like Machine from the film “8mm”, and a racist skinhead that was totally from “American History X”, one guy was based on John Gacey as a clown. There were vignettes of him spending time with a child, and the last part just showed a small hand sticking out of the ground. These guys were bullshit. Even worse XPW was becoming a dumping ground for ECW talent that couldn’t get into WCW or WWE, and it was making XPW look legitimate. Although how legit can a fed be with New Jack throwing Vic Grimes off another balcony?
XPW added more porn stars as valets, and some talent was involved in the porn aspects of Extreme Associates. They also had a gay rape comedy segment, and segments introducing a character that owned an adult bookstore. That character I believe had a stable of sex offenders, or more S&M guys?
Finally Rob Black was arrested over his pornos. I’ve not seen them, but I’ve heard they didn’t show anything illegal. A quick wiki search showed me they involved adult women looking like school girls, and simulated violent sex scenes. I guess if no one’s really getting hurt that it okay? I don’t know much about obscenity law. This also had something to do with Pennsylvania, and that place is always used by conservative Attorney Generals, and State Attorney Generals to prosecute people over things that they think should be illegal. Rob Black spent all his money on his legal defense because he’d envisioned himself as a Larry Flynt type figure, standing up to censorship. Rob Black’s problem was that not many people want to support a guy that makes porn with simulated rape, or blood, or actresses that look like teenagers. That tends to make people not like you, even if what you’re doing is technically legal.
XPW created a lot of problems when Rob Black was in charge. Several XPW wrestlers were really black listed from national feds like TNA, and WWE. The West Coast talent already had a hard time getting opportunity, and being attached to a Garbage Wrestling Fed run by an insane pornographer didn’t help. Luckily PWG, NWA-Hollywood/CWFH, and Lucha Underground came. MTV had filmed the super-kayfabed Wrestling Society X show, it was under former XPW producer, Kevin Kleinrock (Dorko Dude). The show had a lot of former XPW guys, and they all looked as good as they could. The show was only a half-hour, and covered in spot-fests. A lot of XPW guys actually put more into their workrate, and less into barbwire, and that makes me a proud papa…even though I had nothing to do with any of this. If I did XPW would’ve looked like Chikara or old school HUSTLE. You know with the Monster Army? Yeah, I can’t take fighting seriously anymore. Badasses are lame. Sigh
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