Kevin Kleinrock [Part 1]

Recently I had a chance to interview XPW’s Vice President Kevin Kleinrock. For most of their existence XPW has been silent on a lot of things, and in this interview Kleinrock talks about several subjects that XPW has never talked about before publicly. Due to the length of the interview it will publish over two parts, with the second part being published a few days after part one. In part one of the interview Kleinrock discusses his start in wrestling, the beginning of XPW, legal battles with ECW, Sabu, the Heatwave incident, and the Onita exploding ring deathmatch among other things. 

Steve: I’ll start at the beginning, how did you get your start in pro-wrestling?

Kevin Kleinrock: You want the whole story?

Steve: That would be great.

Kevin Kleinrock: I had always kind of watched wrestling as a kid growing up. I had never followed enough to know when it was on but if I found it flipping through channels I’d watched it. My best friend growing up would always order the pay per views and I’d go over to his house to watch them. As I got older I got more and more interested in it. I’ll always remember the day, I think it was March 24th, 1991, it was Wrestlemania 7. I went over to see at my best friends house and I said “you know what, this is what I want to do with my life. I don’t want to sit behind the desk of a boring nine to five job, I want to
work in wrestling”. At the time I knew nothing. I knew wrestling was a work, but how much, or what, or all the intricate stuff I didn’t know. I had no clue, I was 12 years old. Anyone who has seen me knows that I’m a small guy. I looked at myself and said “I’m skinny, I’m fragile, I’m never going to be a wrestler”. What I wanted to be was like the president of the WWF. I wanted be the guy that made the matches. The guy who decided who fought who. After that moment in time I started to everything I could do to follow the industry. Every magazine that was on the newsstand I bought. Every time wrestling was on TV I  watched. I taped shows and watched them again. I bought every pay per view. I did everything I could do to learn. Then, I think it was in PWI, I saw an ad for a book, “So You Want to be in Pro-Wrestling”. Over the years now as I’ve mentioned it to people they’ll say “yeah I saw that book” or “yeah, I’ve read that book.”  It was by Percy Pringle and someone that had worked with WCW as a photographer or writer or something. So I got this book, and it was like a pamphlet more than a book, but it talked about the business and gave lots of advice on it. One thing that it said that really stood out was to find a local company and start trying to work for them. I knew nothing about the world of indy wrestling. Most people don’t till they get involved or become a really dedicated fan. It just so happened in the back [of the book] there was school listed called Slammer’s Wrestling Gym. I finally got up the nerve to call up and ask and I call and the number was disconnected.  My heart was broken. Here was my chance to get involved in wrestling but the number has been disconnected and now I’ll never make it. Then on a whim I decided to call 411 and see if there was a number listed, and it turns out the book had printed the number like one digit off.  So I called up and talked to the guy who ran it, Verne Langdon. I think at that time they were doing shows on like the first Sunday of every month. So I dragged my mom, my dad, and my brother down to a show at Slammer’s Wrestling Gym. Slammers was in Sun Valley, in this little industrial row of buildings. It was like a small front office then a warehouse. No more than probably a 3,000 square foot building. I walk in and the lobby was just intense. All the walls were autographed pictures of all these famous wrestlers so I’m just in awe. I was like “this is the coolest place in the world”. The ring was setup in the warehouse and there were a few rows of chairs. I think even after I worked there the most they ever had in there was something like fifty people. But here I am, I think I probably just turned 13 at the time, and there’s a wrestling ring, and there is guys wrestling and I’m in the front row with no barricade or anything and it’s the coolest thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. So a couple times after that I dragged friends and family back to Slammers. I decided that I wanted to get involved, but I didn’t really know how to approach Verne about it. At the time they had these souvenir programs that they did. You could buy them for like 50 cents or something at the shows. So I wrote a column as a heel, because they always had a column going over what happened at the last show. So I went home and wrote a column about the last show from the heel perspective. Then I sent it to Verne. Didn’t sign it, didn’t do anything but mail it in. I went to the next show and he had printed it. So now I’m really on cloud nine. I’m like “wow, I’m writing for this wrestling program. This is the coolest thing ever.” At the shows Verne would always announce that “if your school or local charity wants to do a fundraiser talk to us and we’ll put on a wrestling show.” At that point I think I was in 11th grade and was student body treasurer at my school so I had a little power to try to pull off some fundraisers. So I worked something out to have Slammers come out and try to do a wrestling show. It wasn’t really a success because it’s really hard to pull off an after school wrestling show at a school where kids are bused in from all over the city. Because it’s hard for kids to stay after school. But we did it and I got my first check, because I got like 10% of the gate, so it was my first money in pro-wrestling, and it was like five bucks. I framed it and still haven’t cashed it to this day.

That was where the start came from. I started doing everything I could for Slammers. I was writing results for all the national magazines. I was ring announcing. I was timekeeping. I was writing the entire program at that point. But Verne was very very old school. He was totally old school in the way that he liked protecting the business and wanted to kayfabe everyone from everything, which I have to respect. But at the same time I was 16 years old and trying to learn everything I could about the business. We’d go to the meetings before the show and I’d be there to go over the ring cards. He’d have his booking meetings in the ring with the guys, and would make me wait in the lobby.  I appreciated the experience that he was giving me but at the same time I knew that I would never be able to get where I wanted to be if I wasn’t able to learn more and do more. At that point I was getting ready to college. I graduated in 1996. In the summer of 1996 I tell Verne “I appreciate everything so much, but I’m going to go my own way and concentrate on college”. And  that was that.

There are a lot of shady people in this business.  My first experience with Verne was just so great that I had no idea how many shady people there were in this business. I had been so protected because I  worked with guys like Dynamite D and Ed Ferrera, and just a bunch of the greatest guys in the world.
I leave to go out and pursue some wrestling things on my own and it’s like running into one con artist after another. I mean this guy is telling me this thing, and this guy is telling me another thing. I mean it wasn’t about money at this point. I never was looking for a job, I was starting in college, I just wanted to
work in wrestling. So finally after two sets of getting conned into working for companies that were never going to get their act together, things had been getting rough at Slammers because Verne, again going with the old school mentality was very strict.  They were doing shows every Thursday night in Bakersfield. Every Thursday night. It didn’t matter what Thursday night it was. It could have been Thanksgiving, which is where one of the problems started, every Thursday night. It didn’t matter how many people were there. Everyone had to drive from LA to Bakersfield for an hour and a half to two hours every Thursday night, really not for much money. It got to the point where Dynamite D, who was
the head trainer there asked for a night off and Verne told him he didn’t want to give him the night off and if he took the night off he didn’t want him coming back. D had given so many nights notice and quit.

Over that summer I had gotten a call from [Dynamite D] and he was going to do something that was going to, we figured one of two things. It was either going to be an angle that was going to bring him and some other people back to Slammers and let everyone get involved in wrestling again, or Verne was just
going to ignore it and everyone would move on and that would be the end of things. I was still that point in time working with the second of my con artist people that I got suckered into working with and wasn’t involved with Slammers at the time. D told me that he was going to get a bunch of guys together, and to come on down to the Slammers show. They were then doing shows in the high school gym of the school that I had gone to. I went down and in the middle of the show right at intermission D storms the ring uninvited and cuts a promo on Verne and Slammers. This is in the midst of the whole NWO angle in WCW. D took off his shirt to reveal a DWO shirt, which stood for Dynamite World Order. Him and a couple of the guys from the locker room legitimately shot on Slammers and joined D and a couple other guys that were there that had left Slammers, like Tim Fisher who was Buddy West over in Slammers then Nick Beat in SCCW, then Damien Steele. They did this promo and it was great and the crowd ate it up. Everyone left the building that night thinking “alright maybe Verne will think it was a cool idea and want to do something with it.” That night as the guys get back to the warehouse to unload the wrestling ring, Tyrone, Jess, who was Cybil in XPW, gets a phone call from Verne saying “I’m done, don’t even bother putting the ring back up. I’m closing Slammers tomorrow.” That was totally not what anyone expected or wanted him to do, but he was hurt and offended by what went down and decided to call it quits.

Well at that point in time there was a ring, and there were wrestlers, and D wasn’t going to let the opportunity pass him by to get back involved. It was actually his name that was still on the lease at the Slammers building. So I said “you know what, what I’m doing with these guys isn’t going anywhere,
so I said screw it.” So D, Patrick Hernandez, and I started SCCW, Southern California Championship Wrestling. It was all funded by money out of D and Patrick Hernandez’ pockets, and it was the three of us that did all the work. We had our regular Sunday morning practices like Slammers used to, and some of the guys from Slammers who still wanted to wrestle joined the practices, then after awhile we had our first show.

We had our first show at I think the Echo Park Boys and Girls Club, we did a couple shows there, then we did some shows at a high school as a fundraiser. Just your basic rinky dink indy shows. They’d have from ten people to a hundred people at them. That was life with SCCW.  At that time I’m now in my second year of college at UCLA, and I’m in a fraternity. Like in high school anytime I’m involved with something and I have a chance to make wrestling a part of it, I do it. Every fraternity has to do at least one fundraiser a year, so of course I come up with the idea to put on a wrestling show at UCLA. So we bring in a couple of names, because no one on the UCLA campus is going to know who Dynamite D or Sheriff Jess Hanson are. But they’ll know Yokozuna and Honky Tonk Man and maybe we can draw some people in. So we put on a show called Slamfest. Yokozuna and Sheriff Jess Hanson are against Honky Tonk Man and Cincinnati Red, which was for lack of a better terms, a classic match. I mean Yokozuna did all he could do, and Honky sang to the crowd, it went well. I don’t know if he still has it but he had this no bump policy at the time, so the wrestling match wasn’t the greatest wrestling match. We brought in some people and raised a few dollars for the Make A Wish Foundation. But I think it was that show. We always did the grass roots flyering. We went out to Staples Center or to the Pond to pass out flyers for  the events. It just so happens that one night we were passing out flyers at a WWF event at the Staples  Center and a guy drove up in the car, and we handed the flyer to someone through a car window and you think nothing of it. It turns out the guy was Rob Black.

Rob at the time had been working with ECW. Rob’s brother runs adult bookstores that Rob’s father owns. Somehow Bubba and Dick Dudley ended up doing an autograph signing at an adult bookstore. The stores weren’t all adult, like 60% adult and 40% other stuff. Somehow Rob and his brother met Bubba and Dick and Rob started getting to know them and started going to a few ECW shows in New York and New Orleans. At that time Extreme Associates also had a company in Brazil they were associated with called Extreme Brazil. Rob had talked to Paul Heyman about doing some video distribution, because at the time ECW didn’t have home videos out on the market. XPW had home videos out on the market before ECW did. Also about promoting some ECW shows internationally in Brazil and about promoting some shows on the West Coast. Well, at the time Rob knew nothing about the world of independent wrestling. He knew WWF, he knew WCW, and he knew ECW, but he knew he wanted to get involved in wrestling. He had now been handed this flyer of this company that was a local Los Angeles wrestling company. Having no idea how rinky dink we were really were, and if he had there’s no way he ever would have called us, so it was a good thing he had no clue. So he called the number on the flyer which I think was actually Dynamite D’s office number at his real job.  And he talked to D and setup a meeting to go out to talk. Thiswas May of 1998. Rob Black, Tom Byron, and Gene Ross, who at the time was a writer for AVN magazine and was later employed by Extreme Associates, met with D, and me, and Patrick at the TGIF in Woodland Hills. We sat down and talked and he asked us about all of us. I knew nothing about Rob Black, Gene Ross, or Tom Byron. Patrick worked in a store called Mr. Video, and they supplied plastic cases to other stores for the videos. So he had always read AVN magazine so he knew who everyone was. I had no clue. I’d seen porn before but I wasn’t an expert at it. The night before we go to meet them I go on the internet and I’m looking up their names and find this bio on Tom Byron that says “Tom Byron is perhaps the biggest male porn star ever behind John Holmes and Ron Jeremy.”

We sit down and we talk and we say “OK, we’ll see what we can do together.” We actually had one more SCCW show coming up and Rob was going to come check that out. Thank god it got cancelled, because like I said had he seen how rinky dink we were he would have never done business with us, even though
we knew what we were capable of if we had money behind us.  At the time Rob was going “I’m either going to do something with ECW or I’m going to do something with these guys”. Over the summer I started to work with him part time just trying to see where things would go. Either we were all going to do something with ECW or we were all going to do things on our own. At the time I was kind of getting frustrated because we hadn’t done anything with SCCW, the UIWA was just starting, and I wanted to do something again. It just looked like we’re not going to do anything on our own. He’s going to end up doing something with Paul, and if he’s going to do something with Paul I don’t know where that would lead to. So I actually called up Doc Marlee [UIWA] and went over and talked with him and told him I’d like to get involved with UIWA. So I go back over to the office after meeting with Doc Marlee and I walk in and Rob is like “fuck Paul Heyman we are starting XPW.” And I was like “what are you talking about? Where did that come from?” I’ve been waiting around for months then I go and have a meeting and I come back and the story has changed.

What happened was at the time ECW was trying to get their deal on TNN, and as soon as that happened they were basically told they couldn’t have any association with any adult film companies. So it quickly became that when Paul was asked about Rob, it was “Rob who?” So Rob fired back. Originally XPW was just going to be XPW. The X was going to be the x factor, just be unknown, just X. Which is actually what the XWF became so someone must have heard us and decided to pick up on that. It was actually Sheldon Goldberg who came up with the name XPW.  Once Paul said he doesn’t know Rob Black, Rob went “fuck
that we are going to call it Xtreme Professional Wrestling, and we are going to bring the West Coast fans the action like they get on the East Coast.”

So we planned and a number of months later, in July of 1999 we put on our first show and it was horrendous. At the time it didn’t come off as completely horrendous unless you ask Bob Barnett, but he’s never had anything good to say about anyone unless you are from Japan or Mexico. Looking back at it now on tape though it’s absolutely horrendous. We did the first show, it went off well, so we moved forward from there. The philosophy at that time, Rob was still very wrapped up in trying to be the
West Coast version of the ECW product. The whole philosophy that first night was you know, how many tables can we break and how much blood can we spill. Over the years Rob became more appreciative
of the sport and the athleticism of wrestling, but at the time it was all blood and guts. So in the long winded version, that’s
how I got started in the business and got involved with XPW.

Steve: Well I think you answered my first eight questions.

Kevin Kleinrock: No one ever asks me about me so when I get the opportunity you know it just comes out.

Steve: In February of 2000 XPW ran it’s first King of the Death Match tournament. Who’s idea was it to do a death match tournament in XPW? Do you think that the tournament is what first really got people talking about XPW?

Kevin Kleinrock: I’ll answer the second part first, yes. My first love is the sport of wrestling. Shawn Michaels is still in my opinion, in his prime the greatest wrestler to ever live. His matches were just unbelievable. At the same time I know there’s a place for something a little out there. I think what really separated our deathmatches on a whole from others, is that ours were much more the Japanese style where it was a wrestling match where bumps happened to be taken into to stuff as opposed to the CZW style where they walk around and hit each other with stuff. Granted we had definitely we had our share of just walking around bashing each other with shit stuff. Anything that involved Kronus or Axel Rotten. If you look at some of the past matches we had, what were really our standout matches was stuff involving Supreme, Messiah, or Angel, and there was always that wrestling element to it. I had gotten my hands on some King of the Deathmatch tapes from Japan. In December of 1999 we had met [Josh] Lazie, and Lazie had come to work for Extreme Associates and XPW, and my likes with his likes, and Rob’s new found interest in deathmatches all gelled together. So collectively we said lets do this and we’re going to make it an annual thing and we’re going to make a champion and have him defend his title. Nobody in the US was doing it. I think technically IWA, Ian Rotten’s group, did their first tournament before ours, but they didn’t have a deathmatch title that was defended on a regular basis. Our goal was to do a tournament, then to crown a champion, and to have him defend it. Not on every show, but every now and then. So that’s where it came from. Just all of us seeing that first tournament
in Japan with Cactus and Terry Funk and saying “we got to do this.”

Steve: In April XPW began running shows at the LA Sports Arena. Do you think that was a good move for XPW to move into the Sports Arena?

Kevin Kleinrock: Here’s the deal. We started at the Reseda Country Club, and it got sold and turned into a church. We moved into the Palace in Hollywood, and every show we had to turn people away. Sometimes it was up to 300 people. And the rent on that place was so expensive. And we had to do
shows in the afternoon and get out in time for Club KISS, or some stupid radio station party that happens after us. We had to find somewhere new. At the time, which actually became part of the
XPW storyline, there was a group of investors from New York who wanted to, they told us at that point in time, buy into XPW. As we moved along, we found out based on the contract they were really
trying to steal XPW. They were going to try and get the name and library and everything. It was not an investment. They were basically trying to give us a loan we were never going to be able to pay back. But the guy who was in charge of this group of investors had run arenas all over the country and had these incredible hook ups. So we went into the LA Sports Arena, I think we paid $2,000.00 to rent that building. Just for comparison when were at the Olympic I think we paid $10,000.00 just to walk in the door. So we had a smoking deal. And the footage we have from the Sports Arena is by far the best footage we’ve ever had because that hard camera side. I mean it looks like you are in a full arena that is jam
packed. By no means is it a regret. And Go Funk Yourself, which was our first anniversary show which we did there was our best attended show ever. We had over 2,000 people at that show. Yes a lot of it was paper, but we also had more paid people than any other show too. I think we had about 1,500 paid, so more than any other show. So not a regret by any means. The Sports Arena was hoping that they’d make some money off the deal on concessions and parking. They were hoping we’d have a little bit more attendance.  When American Gladiators, I think it was American Gladiators, some gladiator show anyways, was going to shoot again they rented the Sports Arena for like five months so we had to leave anyway.  So as time came around between us not wanting to go back in and negotiate a higher price, and at this point we were already doing shows at Patriot Hall, and packing fans in there past the fire capacity code, we decided to focus on going somewhere smaller like the Olympic, and that’s why we never went back.

Steve: Sabu debuted at the first Sports Arena show, despite legal threats from ECW. What was it that made you guys decide to use Sabu despite ECW’s threats?

Kevin Kleinrock: Back in the day, when we decided to become XPW, Paul Heyman decided he was going to sue us and stop us from using the name, stop us from doing everything under the sun, and the letter we published to Paul Heyman in WOW magazine really didn’t sit well with him. Everyone else, including ECW employees thought it was hilarious that someone would actually pay to have an advertisement that basically shot on Paul Heyman.  If nothing more, love him or hate him, Rob Black is a character.  He did a lot of things that no one else really had the balls to do. So we just kind of figured there was nothing they could really do. We consulted our lawyers. We actually spent thousands and thousands of dollars trying to help Sabu with his legal situation with ECW. Trying to help him make sure that his contract was done and over and that we weren’t going to have any problems and that he would be free to go make money. Paul was trying to starve him. Paul was trying to see that he wasn’t going to be able to work anywhere, because he walked out there. So we spent time and money and energy trying to help Sabu get out contract, and from that I think at the time he was appreciative and grateful. That was the story of bringing Sabu here.

But you know what? We were ready to go to court.  The only reason the ECW case got dropped is because they went bankrupt. When they went bankrupt the case disappeared. So it never ended up going to trial or anything.

Steve: ECW came out to LA for the Heatwave pay-per-view, and the incident happened where XPW wrestlers tried to turn their shirts inside out, and were thrown out and it lead to a brawl outside.

Kevin Kleinrock: That was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. We went there with no intentions other than publicity. Not to cause drama, not to jump the rail, not to do anything other than get signs and t-shirts on TV because they were coming into our backyard. We were the rebels, we were
the bad boys, we were going to have some fun with it. It was a setup from the beginning. We get there, first off Ronnie, who runs Atlas Security, who is one of the greatest guys ever in this business, told people who showed up with XPW t-shirts they couldn’t wear them and had to turn them inside out. They were confiscating every XPW sign at the door. There were just regular fans of ours who were bringing signs and they were taken away. Now, I don’t know why no one has ever thought of this before, the day tickets
went on sale for the pay-per-view I stood in line at Tower Records and bought the entire front row. We didn’t know where the camera would be, we tried getting on what we thought would be the hard cam side but we weren’t sure, and we bought the row, and bought one row upstairs where I was sitting, and we went there just with the intention of flashing some signs on TV, showing some t-shirts, just having people at home watching the pay-per-view wondering why XPW was sitting in the front row.

We walk in and both Doc Marlee and Jasmin St. Claire are working for ECW that night pointing out everyone who is with XPW. I mean just being total, total rats. I actually had a security guard assigned to me all night that would follow me and watch me. I was flattered. They’d ask me where was Rob Black and Lizzy.  They were at home, they were watching the pay-per-view on TV. They weren’t showing up. All night I had security guards behind me. As it got time for the main event the plan was simple, take off the shirts, turn them around. If they had let them wear the shirts in the first place there would have never been an incident, but they wouldn’t let them. So they get up to turn their shirts  around, and if it didn’t smell like a setup already, that locker room cleared out in a single file line and started throwing punches.
I mean no punches were thrown first by our people what so ever.  I had already left before this  happened. I had left with some people to grab flyers and hit the cars and people on the way out.
So I’m standing on the corner by the side door, with Big John who was on the X Show and had just started training with us. The doors fly open and I can’t believe what is happening.

I was on my cell phone with Rob, and I said “you are not going to believe what is happening. There is a brawl going on right now and Paul Heyman is taking swings at the Messiah.”  There is a pay-per-view going on inside and the company owner is out in the streets throwing punches at a local wrestler. I’m
sitting there ducking behind Big John because I don’t want to get involved in the brawl and people know who I am. It started getting ugly out there. I mean they threw down girls who were part of our street team, I mean if you are going to throw punches at least throw them at guys. So that calmed down, they went back inside, they finished their pay-per-view, apparently we caused the main event of their pay-per-view to get cut short. We’re sorry.  That was it. We were the talk of the wrestling world for the next
six months.

Steve: Do you think that if not for the Heatwave incident XPW would have had a better chance attracting fans or been able to survive in the Philadelphia market and grown a lot bigger than it did?

Kevin Kleinrock: Let me tell you the problem, and this has been confirmed to me by a number of people. Back when ECW existed we were a brash newcomer trying to attack the beloved establishment of ECW. Every major Internet writer was employed by ECW. was owned Joey Styles and Bob Ryder, all the people worked for ECW. We started out with this negative image after that. After ECW folded it could have gone one of two ways. The way I feel it should have gone is that the people who were these writers and the Internet fans who listen to what the writers say could have gone “you know what, our beloved ECW is gone, but there is another company out there now who is trying to provide us with the same action. Using a lot of the wrestlers from ECW, and for lack of a better word,
the same product as ECW. ECW is gone, we should support XPW because they are giving us what we want.” At that time our wrestling quality had improved and we were definitely a much more well rounded company. However it didn’t go down that way. What it became was “our beloved ECW is gone, and you rat bastards are still around. That’s fucked up. So you know what? Instead of supporting you we’re just going to shit on you.” So I guess it was a roll of the dice, and because of Heatwave and because of all the other things that have gone down, a lot of the Internet community, and therefore a lot of the fans in Philadelphia turned around and lashed back. In hindsight I don’t think we would have done it differently. I think we might have handled some of the Internet publicity and maybe some of the verbal stuff back and forth differently, but we would have done the pay-per-view thing over again. It’s still going to go down in history as one of the most classic moments on pay-pay-per-view, I mean it absolutely has to. It’s in the PWI almanac from that year, you know? No one had ever done that before, and I don’t think anyone will ever do it again. I wouldn’t have changed that.

Steve: In September of 2000 XPW announced that it would be building it’s own arena. What ever happened with that?

Kevin Kleinrock: Like I told you about all the problems with the venues, LA sucks. I mean not only did we have to deal with the fact that wrestling in LA sucks, because imagine this. You are in some rinky dink town in the middle of America and there is wrestling on Saturday night, you are going to draw well. There isn’t nothing to do in town. We’re in Los Angeles where if you draw a hundred and fifty people to an indy show that’s great. We’re in the freakin’ entertainment capital of the world. There is a billion things to do on a Saturday night or a Friday night. It’s a rough market to be in. That’s one reason why LA sucks.

Number two there’s no buildings. We have said from the beginning we are not going to run shows in boys and girls clubs. We were never even going to run shows in high school gyms. We happened to do the Patriot Hall thing for a while and it worked, but we didn’t want to be that kind of a company. We wanted to be a step above everyone else in terms of class and production, from our music videos and our entrance videos to just being a step above everything else. To make going to an XPW show worth going to an XPW show because you were going to get something you weren’t going to get anywhere else. And that’s why they whole controversy a lot of the times about us having wrestlers being exclusive to XPW. We wanted to make it so if you saw a wrestler in XPW you wouldn’t see him at the local boys and girls club the next week for half the price.

So we looked and looked for a venue. Everything we found was either too big our too small. Like I told Tony T., we must have driven two real estate guys absolutely insane, having them for two years looking for buildings for us. We were in negotiations for buildings numerous times, and that’s what happened with this one, where we had a building all picked out. It is the movie theatre that is on almost the corner of Sherman Way and Reseda. If anyone’s ever been to that Reseda American Legion Hall where there have been some wrestling shows, there is a movie theatre right there that says, I think Reseda on it in lights, and the building has been abandoned ever since the Northridge earthquake. Well we were
in negotiations to take that building over and turn it into what we were going to call Club X. It was going to be a nightclub, it was going to have wrestling every Friday or Saturday night, and it was going to be our own little entertainment complex. The city of Los Angeles, and not just Los Angeles, I guess just government bureaucracy in general, prevented that from happening. We would find a building that was too small to put the number of people that we needed to put in there, in there. I mean if we are going
to pay the lease on a building, we have to be able to put at least 1,000 people into the building to bring in the ticket revenue to pay the lease. So we’d find a building that was too big, we’d find a building that was too small. We finally found a building that we thought we could build it up great. There was a stage
up front where we could have built a Monday Night Raw type entrance and everything. The problem is, the city of Los Angeles requires that when you have theatre style seating you need one parking
space for every five people in attendance. So for a thousand people you need two hundred parking spaces. That was always the hard part. We found over the time we were looking probably twenty different buildings that would have worked but they just didn’t have the parking spaces.

Steve: XPW and Onita had planned to do an exploding ring death match. What happened, and why did the match never take place?

Kevin Kleinrock: Let me see if I can remember this all. So Sabu had come to XPW and Sabu and Lazie had become really good friends, and Lazie had started being his manager here. Onita had always wanted to do an exploding ring match in the US. He was supposed to do one with Vince but that feel through, then he was supposed to done one with ECW but that fell through, so we were set to do it with Onita. He cut promos and sent them to us. Then we flew him out here from Japan and we did this whole press conference thing, which now has aired on TV and is bonus material on one of our DVDs. We’re all set and moving along to do it, and Onita ends up coming up with a $10,000.00 price tag to do it. Plus his flying all his people out from Japan, all his pyro guys, licensing and everything, the whole thing would end up costing us like thirty grand. At that time we were in the middle of the ECW lawsuit and it just became too big of an ordeal for us to undertake. We tried to reschedule it to do it later to see if we could figure out how to make it all work, but it just ended up being too big of a task for us to take on.

Look for part two in a few days where Kleinrock will talk about New Jack, the Messiah attack, going to Philadelphia, the pay-per-view, the future of XPW, and more.

About the Author

Steve Bryant
Fan of Godzilla.