POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: XFL files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

XFL files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, WWE's level of ownership, a further discussion about WWE's schedule, Snuka/Argentino story, Rebellion to air & more.

POST IT NOTES

**Wai Ting was joined on Sunday night by his fiancé PAULINE! The two reviewed the first two episodes of the current season of Total Bellas that premiered earlier this month. This will be a semi-regular series throughout the ongoing season. The show is available for all Café members.

**We will have a new edition of Rewind-A-Raw tonight going through the show at the Performance Center, discussing the XFL’s bankruptcy filing, more thoughts on the WWE’s live programming decision, and other news & notes from the past few days.

**On Tuesday night, Rewind-A-Wai is back with a big review of the inaugural Starrcade card from November 1983 at the Greensboro Coliseum. I’m looking forward to this show a lot with plenty of notes about the making of this card and the impact it had for Jim Crockett Promotions.

**Andrew Thompson will have an interview with OTT’s Scotty Davis on the site Tuesday.

POST SCHEDULE

*Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw with John Pollock & Wai Ting
*Tuesday: Rewind-A-Wai – Starrcade 1983 (Patreon)
*Wednesday: Rewind-A-Dynamite
*Wednesday: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
*Thursday: Café Hangout (Live at 3 pm ET for all Patrons)
*Friday: British Wrestling Experience
*Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown (Patreon)
*Saturday: The Rocky Maivia Picture Show (Journey 2: The Mysterious Island)
*Sunday: Thunderstruck Finale with WH Park & John Pollock (Jushin Thunder Liger’s retirement week)

WRESTLING NEWS

**On Monday, the XFL filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the District of Delaware and stating that funds will be available for distribution to unsecured creditors. In the filing, it stated the range of creditors was between 1,000 to 5,000 with estimated assets of $10-50 million and was the same range listed for estimated liabilities.

The ownership structure was listed with Vince McMahon controlling 100% of Class A shares and 76.5% of Class B shares while World Wrestling Entertainment held the remaining 23.5% of Class B shares.

Of the creditors holding the largest unsecured claims, the filing listed the St. Louis Sports Commission at the top with $1,600,000. Among its employees, coach Bob Stoops has an unsecured claim of $1,083,333.33 along with other employees Marc Trestman of the Tampa Bay Vipers, Jonathan Hayes of the St. Louis BattleHawks, Winston Moss of the L.A. Wildcats, Kevin Gilbride of the New York Guardians, June Jones of the Houston Roughnecks, and James Zorn of the Seattle Dragons among the coaches/GMs with unsecured claims. Creditors also include Ticketmaster and venues for the team among the top twenty-five listed.

**The following statement was issued to TMZ from the league following the bankruptcy filing:

The XFL quickly captured the hearts and imaginations of millions of people who love football. Unfortunately, as a new enterprise, we were not insulated from the harsh economic impacts and uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 crisis. Accordingly, we have filed a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. This is a heartbreaking time for many, including our passionate fans, players, and staff, and we are thankful to them, our television partners, and the many Americans who rallied to the XFL for the love of football.

The TMZ story added that the employees were paid their full wages up until April 12th along with any accrued vacation days. Ticket holders will also be refunded.

**While there has been confusion over WWE’s ownership stake in Alpha Entertainment/XFL, there was an SEC filing in May 2018 by WWE in their 10-Q report that acknowledged they had a minority equity stake in the company:

On April 3, 2018, the Company entered into a transaction with Alpha Entertainment LLC (“Alpha”), an entity controlled by Vincent K. McMahon, granting Alpha rights to launch a professional football league under the name “XFL”. Alpha has announced that it expects that this launch will occur in early 2020. Under these agreements, WWE received, among other things, a minority equity interest in Alpha without payment by, or other financial obligation on the part of, WWE.

This past February, in the WWE’s 10-K filing, it listed the following regarding their relationship with Alpha Entertainment and the XFL:

As previously announced, in April 2018, the Company entered into transactions with Alpha Entertainment, LLC (“Alpha”), an entity controlled by Vincent K. McMahon, granting Alpha rights to launch a professional football league under the name “XFL”.

Under these agreements, WWE received, among other things, an equity interest in Alpha without payment by, or other financial obligation on the part of, WWE. The investment will be accounted for under the equity method of accounting. WWE’s equity interest in the net assets of Alpha at the transaction closing date on April 3, 2018 was insignificant.

After Alpha’s formation, we recorded our proportionate share of Alpha’s reported net losses which exceeded the carrying amount of the investment and reduced the investment value to zero as of June 30, 2018. Subsequent losses after that date are not required or provided for, after which we will resume accounting for the investment under the equity method if Alpha subsequently has net income and our share of that net income exceeds the share of net losses we did not recognize during the period the equity method of accounting was suspended.

In addition, WWE entered into a support services agreement to provide Alpha with certain administrative support services with such services billed to Alpha on a cost-plus margin basis. During the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, the Company billed Alpha $3,250 and $1,305, respectively, for services rendered under the support services agreement.

As of December 31, 2019 and 2018, the Company had $236 and $474, respectively, of current receivables for amounts billed to Alpha.

**The ownership question was a major topic today because as recently as February 6th this year (one day before the 10-K was filed), Vince McMahon stated on the WWE investor’s call that the two were separate entities. On that call, McMahon said the XFL had 400 employees and there were no plans to partner or merge with WWE. Below is the exchange from the investor’s call back in February:

Q: Can you just say here definitively whether WWE plans to invest with, partner with, or even merge with the XFL in the future?

Vince McMahon: No, the XFL is a separate entity completely. We have about 400 employees. Kickoff is, of course, this coming Saturday, it’s completely separate.

**Against most logic and public warnings, WWE will press forward with a live schedule of programming starting with tonight’s edition of Raw from the WWE Performance Center. The company is planning to hold Raw, NXT, and Friday Night SmackDown live from this point forward in a decision that was made Friday right as they were set to tape weeks of programming that would take them up to Money in the Bank on May 10th. Instead, talent, production, and those working these events will be traveling weekly and without the benefit of having a 14-day self-quarantine period as they did after the WrestleMania tapings. It also coincides with a report over the weekend, which WWE confirmed via a statement, that an on-air performer tested positive for COVID-19 and was traced back to March 26th after the final WrestleMania taping.

This is a major story on so many levels. This is a health and safety story, it’s a labor rights story, it’s also a media story with Fox and NBC Universal attached to this with equal responsibility for what they are willing to broadcast and accept their blame. Thus far, the mainstream media has not focused on WWE too significantly but there is plenty on the table that requires deeper investigation and answers.

Absent from WWE’s public-facing officials during this crisis is their medical staff. We have heard from Stephanie McMahon and Paul Levesque discuss the structure in place at the Performance Center and what precautions they are taking but they are not medical experts and those are the voices that need to defend this decision. There was an immediate blunder with Roman Reigns (Joe Anoa’i) appearing at the Performance Center and later removing himself from WrestleMania and was a major hole in the system that he should not have fallen through given his medical condition and heightened risk.

Jerry Lawler will be back on tonight’s show at the age of 70 and certainly in a higher risk bracket. I was critical of many of AEW’s moves during their empty arena tapings but at least they mitigated some risk by having older members of the roster stay home in the cases of Jim Ross, Jake Roberts, Tully Blanchard, and Arn Anderson.

If you want to zero in on the labor rights aspect, then this is as glaring as it gets with talent not represented by an independent body, who has their best interests in mind.

Yes, talent has been told that this is voluntary, and no one will be punished for staying home but it’s a panacea to imagine talent putting their health front-and-center ahead of what they are engrained to do – perform. It is no different than the WWE’s overall response, if no one else is going to step in to stop them then they will keep running shows. It’s akin to a football player being told in the second quarter that he has a concussion but leaving it up to the player if they want to continue the game or not, how many players are taking themselves out of the game? The need for someone to play the bad cop and protect athletes from themselves needs to be in place and the company has shown its stance that it’s full steam ahead. Unless someone is clearly showing signs of sickness or admitting to symptoms, it appears the decision is left in the individual’s hands.

I don’t know what the status was for Raw but the next four episodes of SmackDown were all written because they were set to tape those episodes on Friday and Saturday this past weekend. It’s unknown if changes will be made but, in theory, the television is written leading into Money in the Bank. That pay-per-view is going to cause greater demand for the performers especially from SmackDown, who would be scheduled to do the show live on Friday and then stay in town until Monday after the pay-per-view, head home and return later that week.

It must be incredibly difficult for the performers that are married and have children with this decision creating an enormous predicament. Do they go home between shows and risk spreading anything that could be asymptomatic? Do they stay in Florida this entire time? These are some harrowing choices to make as the world is in the middle of a pandemic.

**Impact Wrestling has completed its empty arena tapings in Nashville, Tennessee. The Rebellion pay-per-view originally scheduled for this coming Sunday will now be broken up into two episodes of Impact on April 21st and 28th on AXS TV, Twitch, and Fight Network in Canada. The company stated on the show and shooting the event on a closed set:

In light of the restrictions placed upon live events as a result of the coronavirus, IMPACT Wrestling will hold its next major spectacular—IMPACT: Rebellion—on a closed set with only essential personnel in attendance, as per the guidelines put in place by the CDC.

Originally planned as a pay-per-view special, Rebellion will now expand into a two-part television event airing April 21 and April 28 as part of the weekly flagship series IMPACT!

Rebellion will air for free on AXS TV and Twitch in the U.S. and Fight Network in Canada, along with international IMPACT! broadcast partners.

The safety of IMPACT’s wrestlers, personnel, and fans is of the utmost importance, and while it is with some disappointment that we must scale back our original plans for the event, we are proud to have the opportunity to provide our loyal and passionate audience with some much-needed entertainment during this time. We look forward to producing a proper pay-per-view event once this crisis has passed.

**Sports Illustrated has a sobering view of the level of sophistication for major league sports to return to play even in empty arena settings. It’s mind-boggling to read this and the preventive measures necessary while WWE is going to have people traveling weekly to shows. In the feature, epidemiologist Zach Binney predicts there will be sports events involving fans until there is a vaccine that could be 12-18 months away. Regarding empty arena games, SI spoke to numerous experts and before anything could be started, every person involved would need to be isolated for two weeks and be tested multiple times during that period. In WWE’s case, they are no living at the PC in isolation but instead, going home either by car or by plane and expected to do so every seven days. They are also assessing sports that have much less body-to-body contact that professional wrestling necessitates. Below is a portion of the article:

Conversations with experts painted a picture of what exactly it would take to make these sports vacuums a reality. Before any of this can begin, every person who would have access to the facilities will need to be isolated separately for two weeks to ensure that no infection could enter. That’s players and coaches, athletic trainers and interpreters, reporters and broadcasters, plus housekeeping and security personnel. No one can come in or out. Food will have to be delivered. Hotel and stadium employees will have to be paid enough to compensate for their time away from their families. Everyone on site will have to be tested multiple times during this initial period.

All right, so the 14-day period is over and everyone has tested negative at least twice. Now they are allowed to begin spending time around one another—but not too much time. If one person gets it, he or she will begin spreading it immediately, so everyone will have to continue practicing social distancing. That probably means using a new ball for each play. It probably means seating players in stands rather than on benches or in dugouts. It certainly means banning high-fives.

All personnel must continue to be tested daily. We will be unlikely to have enough rapid testing by then, so they will probably have to settle for the tests that take several hours to produce results. That means the testing will probably run a day behind.

**Dwayne Johnson did a Q&A and answered a question about whether he has watched AEW:

Do I watch? Yeah, I watch AEW, of course I do. I’m very happy for the success of that company because it’s always a good thing and it creates a hunger, which is good.

**This week’s subject on Dark Side of the Ring is the 1983 death of Nancy Argentino, who was the girlfriend of Jimmy Snuka. The case involving her death was never closed in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania but was re-visited after new facts emerged through the reporting by the Allentown Morning Call newspaper in June 2013. The paper did an investigation into the case to mark thirty years since Argentino’s passing. Two years later, Snuka was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, which he would plead not guilty to in November 2015. The charges were dismissed when the judge deemed Snuka unable to stand trial because of his condition. Snuka passed away less than two weeks after that ruling.

**Amy Weber, who worked for WWE after participating in the first Diva Search in 2004, posted a video explaining why she left the company. She was complimentary of talents such as Big Show, Eddy Guerrero, and JBL. She said most of the women in the locker room were nice to her, but she didn’t come up in wrestling and said it probably rubbed some people the wrong way.

She left in the company in February 2005 and explained that it occurred after a series of events following an injury while practicing with Joy Giovanni. Weber said she suffered an injury to her tailbone and was instructed by the doctor to get two Ibuprofen pills and ice from the men’s locker room and some ice. Later, while on a flight to Alaska, she was sleeping across three seats and was awoken when Randy Orton charged at the seats knocking her onto the floor. She went back to sleep and awoken a second time when a drink had been poured onto her. She saw Edge with the same colored drink and accused him of pouring it, which he denied to her. Weber landed in Alaska and informed Shane McMahon she was done with the company.

**Being the Elite is releasing three episodes this week ahead of Episode 200. The first part was put out today and features another match with SCU:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDwO46RU4b0

**The WWE Network will release a new episode of ‘Break it Down’ featuring Ricochet this Sunday.

**The WWE stock closed at $37.46 on Monday.

**The UFC reached out to Daniel Cormier last week to work the UFC 249 event as an analyst and he agreed to work the show. Later in the week, the event was pulled after pressure from Governor Gavin Newsom to Disney. Cormier said the broadcast team would be Jon Anik, Joe Rogan, and himself with the three spread out separately around the cage. They would each have their own locker rooms and no make-up people, which Cormier shared with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani on their show on Monday.

**ECW presented its first pay-per-view on this date in 1997 with Barely Legal from the ECW Arena. The show was capped off with Terry Funk advancing past The Sandman and Stevie Richards to defeat Raven for the ECW title.

*****
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*****

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About John Pollock 5564 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.