When XPW’s Rob Black Ran for Mayor of Los Angeles

In Southern California wrestling, 2001 was a pretty crazy year. Revolution Pro began to really break out and was producing matches that would help influence an overall change in independent wrestling, UPW was in the midst of a deal that would eventually see a total of 43 wrestlers get signed to WWF, and a lot of young wrestlers were starting to come into their own and start to usher in a period that is fondly remembered by a lot of fans who were around for it.

Then there was XPW, who probably had the biggest year in its history. After several well-reviewed shows at Patriot Hall, they began holding events at the most historic wrestling venue in Southern California history, the Grand Olympic. With ECW and WCW folding, bigger stars than ever before were showing up in the promotion. And XPW’s owner Rob Black ran for mayor of Los Angeles.

With incumbent mayor Richard Riordan being prevented from running for a third term due to term limits, a very eclectic group of people through their names into Los Angeles’ 2001 mayoral race.

You had Riordan’s handpicked successor Steve Soboroff, the former speaker of the California state assembly Antonio Villaraigosa, and city attorney James Hahn as the favorites. Other actual politicians such as Los Angeles City Council member Joel Wachs, United States Representative Xavier Becerra, and California State Controller Kathleen Connell entering their names into the mix as well.

Then there were the rest of the candidates. Activist Francis Dellavecchia put his daily campaign life on his “Watch the Mayor” website before YouTube helped make vlogging a thing. Martin Luther King Aubrey, Sr. was a state worker employed at Metropolitan State Hospital. Howard Stern Wack Packer Melrose Larry Green also ran for mayor, as did noted socialist Wendy Lyons and journalist Bob Shea as the Libertarian Party’s candidate. News helicopter pilot Bob Tur even ran. And then there was Rob Black.

Admittedly running as nothing more than a publicity stunt, the owner of the adult film company Extreme Associates and XPW announced his candidacy in late 2000 and used it as an angle in XPW.

The primary election was held on April 10, 2001. Antonio Villaraigosa received 152,031 votes or 30.43%. James Hahn came in second with 125,139 votes, 25.05% of the total. Because neither candidate received 50% of the vote there would be a runoff on June 5, 2001. Rob Black finished with 789 votes to come in eleventh out of fifteen candidates.

In the end, James Hahn won the runoff and became the 40th Mayor of Los Angeles. While Rob Black was unable to beat Melrose Larry Green or the Socialist Party’s candidate, he did manage to get the publicity he was looking for from the race. Aside from getting his name in the newspaper every time they would list all the candidates, the two biggest pieces of publicity to come out of it was an article in New Times LA and a feature on Comedy Central’s Daily Show.

Rob Black’s candidacy is a mostly forgotten footnote in XPW’s history, but since then there have been other local wrestling personalities to run for office. Aaron Proctor, promoter of the original PCW in Southern California, ran for Mayor of Pasadena in 2007 and managed to get over 11% of the vote and recently former Revolution Pro and PWG referee Steve Daulton Jr. ran to become a delegate in the 41st assembly district.

About the Author

Steve Bryant
Fan of Godzilla.