Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and business partner Dany Garcia announced Monday night training camp for the latest edition of the XFL will begin on Jan. 3, 2023.
Johnson posted a message on Instagram:
In exactly 365 DAYS, we will officially kick off our 2023 XFL TRAINING CAMPS.
As an XFL owner and a man who has put his callused, dinosaur hands in the dirt—I can guarantee you that our XFL PLAYERS will be the hardest and hungriest workers in the room.
Our message to the FOOTBALL NATION—we are building our one of kind XFL CULTURE for you.
Garcia also confirmed the news on Twitter:
Dany Garcia @DanyGarciaCo
January 2022, means 12 months away from <a href="https://twitter.com/XFL2023?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@XFL2023</a> Training Camp!! Our scouting has begun and the road to 2023 continues as we build our league of opportunity for ALL.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/XFL2023?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#XFL2023</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ForTheLoveOfFootball?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ForTheLoveOfFootball</a> <a href="https://t.co/Fw9Yp2KHnA">pic.twitter.com/Fw9Yp2KHnA</a>
Johnson, Garcia and RedBird Capital Partners purchased the XFL in August 2020.
WWE chairman Vince McMahon originally launched the alternative football league with NBC in 2001. It was promoted as an old-school, hard-hitting brand of football with several gimmicks to differentiate it from the NFL, but it lasted just one season.
McMahon gave the idea another try in 2020 with a focus on forward-thinking ideas, including a reimagined kickoff, more options after touchdowns and various officiating alterations. The league showed promise, but it was forced to shut down amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Johnson, Garcia and Co. secured ownership via bankruptcy proceedings.
Garcia told ESPN's Kevin Seifert following the purchase the plan was to build off the foundation McMahon's second XFL attempt put in place.
"I think there was a lot to build on and not so much a matter of changing it. Any format change would be because of COVID-19. That would be the reason. The roots and the bones of what were there were excellent. I like the speed of play. I loved the access. I think there is probably some elegance that can be added so that maybe it's not as disruptive. But being in the box when they're reviewing the calls, and reviewing the penalties? Those were moments when you really felt that you were with and knew the players. So that was amazing to bond with that football experience. There was a lot of great, great work. It's the opportunity to say, 'OK, that was fantastic. How do we make it 10 times better?'"
The XFL conducted talks with the Canadian Football League in mid-2021 about potentially working together, but no deal was finalized.
"Our talks with the XFL, exploring the potential for collaboration and innovation, have been positive and constructive," the CFL said in a July statement. "While we remain open to finding new ways to work together in the future, we and our XFL counterparts have jointly decided to not pursue any formal arrangements at this time."
So the XFL has moved forward with plans to operate independently beginning in early 2023. With training camps set to begin late in the NFL season, the campaign will likely kick off during the final stages of the NFL playoffs or shortly after the Super Bowl.
It'll once again be a chance for players on the NFL fringe to prove themselves. Quarterback P.J Walker, the XFL MVP favorite when play was halted in 2020, is now a member of the Carolina Panthers.