Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson announced Thursday that the XFL will make its much-anticipated return in spring 2022.
Johnson revealed the news in a hype video he posted via Twitter:
Dwayne Johnson @TheRock
XFL returns SPRING 2022 🏈 As owners, we’re proud to champion our XFL players, coaches, cities and fans into an electrifying 2022 season! It’s an uphill battle - but we’re hungry, humble and no one will outwork us. A league of culture, passion & purpose. #XFL✊🏾 #Spring2022 https://t.co/jY0VWGj33Y
WWE CEO Vince McMahon revived the XFL in 2018, and the league received positive reviews upon its return to the field earlier this year. But the XFL filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the 2020 season from reaching its conclusion.
Johnson, business partner Dany Garcia and other investors purchased the XFL for an estimated $15 million in August.
At the time of the purchase, Johnson said:
"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. 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."
Johnson stands out as an ideal buyer for the XFL for several reasons. His status as one of the biggest movie stars in the world means he had the capital needed to purchase the league, and he also boasts the type of name recognition that could get more eyes on the product.
Also, Johnson played high-level college football at the University of Miami and later became one of the most popular stars in professional wrestling history as part of McMahon's WWE.
The XFL debuted with one season in 2001 before McMahon revived it and presented a far different product in 2020. Gone were some of the gimmicks and the focus on bells and whistles, as McMahon and Co. instead focused on providing a brand of football that looked familiar to fans but also featured some tweaks.
Among the changes that were praised by fans were altered kickoffs, the elimination of extra-point kicks and immediate interviews with players on the sidelines after significant plays.
The Rock hasn't provided any specifics regarding the league aside from its return date, but keeping some of the new rules football fans enjoyed seems likely.
Also, the hype video featured highlights of the teams that were part of the XFL this year, so perhaps they will return in 2022, although the rosters will undoubtedly be significantly different.