ECW vs XPW
Date: July 16, 2000
Location: Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, CA
Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Power Slam magazine, Armpit readers Justin Newbould and Brian Cooper
In 2000, ECW was running regular PPVs all throughout the country. Their success spawned numerous imitators, as it didn’t take much talent to do some of the things ECW was doing. The difference is that ECW was built on strong booking, excellent promos, and had more to offer than just backyard brawling. The imitators never fully grasped that, which is why none ever succeeded.
One of those imitators was XPW, a Los Angeles based promotion run by adult movie mogul Rob Black. When ECW booked their Heat Wave PPV in LA, rumors were swirling that some of the XPW wrestlers and crew would show up and cause a disturbance. ECW was well aware of this, and even promoted it on their website. The two groups were no strangers to each other, as ECW had sued them before for trademark infringement and contract tampering.
On the day of the show, security was tight. Atlas Security was searching all fans and not allowing any pro-XPW signs, or even any blank signs. No XPW shirts or merchandise were allowed either. Doc Marlee, a musician who had worked with XPW previously, worked tightly with security to identify anyone affiliated with XPW. Those identified were still allowed in, but were required to turn their XPW shirts inside out (a silly rule since they could just turn the shirts back out once they got inside). Fans who attended were littered with XPW flyers on their car windshields, which isn’t uncommon at WWE shows or rock concerts, where local artists try to reach fans of their genre.
Black had purchase six tickets in the front row (worth $650), but didn’t attend the show himself. The six tickets were for XPW regulars Messiah, Kristi Myst, Supreme, Homeless Jimmy, Kid Kaos, and Kris Kloss. Most fans didn’t even know who they were, but some did. Myst in particular attracted a lot of attention because of how she looks. The XPW contingent caused no trouble throughout the show, and most posed for pictures and autographs and were friendly with security.
Indie wrestlers in the area, and everyone in ECW, all expected XPW to do something based on rumors that had been running rampant all week. According to Black, his only plan was for the six wrestlers in the front row to put on their XPW shirts, ideally in front of the camera, to get the XPW logo some exposure and cause a minor disturbance that would garner them some publicity. That was it. And years later, there’s no reason to believe Black was lying in that regard.
Numerous others affiliated with XPW, such as their ring crew, were scattered in other parts of the building. One group, including the late Dynamite D (who hosted a talk show on the Cable Radio Network in 1991), was seated above the ring entrance area.
The show went smoothly as scheduled. The only interaction with XPW was minor, as after Rhino defeated the Sandman, he drank beer to mock him and then threw the beer can towards the XPW wrestlers seated up front. Most of the beer suds hit a fan sitting next to them, but some got on Supreme. Supreme yelled at Rhino about it, but Rhino just ignored him.
The main event pitted Tommy Dreamer against Justin Credible. Just before that match started, fans chanted for Francine to take her top off. Myst, seated up front, instead took her top off, revealing a black leather bra. She did this with her back to the ring, and the fans popped. This was not visible on camera. It was noted that Myst had teased doing that all night, but never did until that point.
Francine was upset that Myst was stealing her heat, as there was a planned spot later in the match where Francine would lose her top (as if fans would complain if they saw two women take their tops off instead of just one). Francine got in her face about it.
What happened next isn’t exactly clear. Initial reports were that Myst shoved Francine, who shoved back and knocked her down. XPW later claimed that Myst never touched Francine, and that instead a security guard had pushed Supreme into Myst, knocking her over. Francine said later in interviews that she was never touched, so likely the XPW version is true. Supreme took off his shirt, but only to show the XPW logo, and not to start a fight. Remember, their plan all along was just to get those shirts on camera.
Most likely security did try to get physical with Supreme and Myst once one or the other tried showing their XPW shirts, which they had been instructed not to do from the time they entered the building. And most likely, when security went after Supreme, that’s how Myst got knocked down.
Regardless, once Myst went down, half the ECW locker room emptied out and rushed to the scene. Remember, they had all been under the impression XPW was going to start something, so they were ready for anything.
Again, none of this was really visible on camera. To the viewer, it looked like a normal fight in the stands that distracted the crowd from the match. In fact, Joey Styles on commentary attributed the commotion to a drunk fan, not giving XPW any publicity and totally no-selling their involvement.
Dreamer left the ring to join the fracas, and much of the ECW crew was throwing punches at the XPW crew. Kid Kash in particular was throwing a lot of punches. Some witnesses said XPW threw a couple punches back, which would be expected in that situation where they were attacked, but others said they didn’t put up much of a fight in being ejected from the building.
On camera, by this point you can see some of the brawl. But it looked like just a normal fight in the stands that some of the ECW wrestlers got involved in, and no impression was ever given that it was from another wrestling promotion.
Atlas Security aggressively escorted the XPW wrestlers outside. But it didn’t end there. Witnesses saw the brawl continue into the parking lot, where ECW outnumbered XPW by about 3 to 1 (one estimate was 20 ECW guys and 7 XPW guys). ECW put quite a beating on some of the ring crew, including one guy stomped on by usual suspect New Jack, and another guy struck repeatedly while being held down by the enormous Sal Graziano. Others who were throwing punches included Jack Victory, Mikey Whipwreck, Chilly Willy, Kid Kash, and even Paul Heyman.
The XPW crew finally retreated into a limo and drove away. The LAPD was watching and did nothing, either because they too were bothered by the antics of the XPW guys or they simply thought it was a scripted wrestling angle.
Black was furious, and posted a message online trying to portray XPW as innocent victims. While it is true that no one from XPW initiated anything physical, they did put themselves in a volatile situation and had planned on hijacking the ECW PPV by advertising logos security had ordered them not to display. He threatened ECW with legal action, though it was pointless since ECW was out of business less than a year later.
Black also claimed that most of the guys ECW beat on were ring crew members, not wrestlers. That is true as well, although it’s not entirely clear how many of the six XPW wrestlers in the front row were involved in the brawl. XPW was certainly outnumbered, and they had to know that going in, and was probably why they never started any physical trouble in the first place.
Black said it was a setup, but it surely was not. While ECW deserves blame for escalating things to where they got physical, they did so because they thought Myst had shoved Francine first.
Many in the industry thought it was a work. What fueled those rumors is that ECW hyped the PPV with the promise that XPW wrestlers might show up, and also that the XPW received such prominent seating. When the brawl took place on camera, that also got people thinking it was planned.
But it was not. If it was planned, Styles would’ve mentioned XPW in commentary instead of ignoring them completely. As far as XPW being front row, it’s very reasonable to expect someone with Black’s connections could get six tickets. ECW hyping XPW’s involvement is a little more perplexing, but not unheard of given how Heyman was so unorthodox in his promoting tactics. The beatings given to the XPW ring crew were very real, with reports that a couple of them were left in pools of their own blood.
The whole scene did resemble a similar scene when ECW invaded Raw not long before this. In that instance, many of the WWF wrestlers weren’t informed it was an angle, but it was. But XPW doing something similar was just a coincidence.
The incident was an embarrassment for pro wrestling, and not just for XPW. It was unfortunate that it all started over a misunderstanding regarding Francine being shoved or grabbed, which never happened. XPW is not innocent, but they did not deserve what happened to them and Heyman, as the guy who ran ECW, had no business getting physically involved. If the place had erupted into an all-out riot, the ending could’ve been much worse. The ring crew getting beaten was inexcusable, as they were not trained athletes and were just pawns in the promotional war Black was trying to start with ECW.