In the second part of my interview with XPW Vice President Kevin Kleinrock we discuss a few things that XPW has never publicly commented on before, such as New Jack and his XPW debut, going to Philadelphia, the Messiah, the infamous surprise, the future of XPW, and more.
Steve: In January 2001 New Jack debuted for XPW. Knowing then what you know now would you have still have brought him into XPW?
Kevin Kleinrock: Implying what?
Steve: You know, with the bounced check promo, the constant shooting on XPW…
Kevin Kleinrock: New Jack was easily one of my favorite people I’ve ever dealt with in wrestling. He is
one of the funniest, most surreal people you will ever meet. Scary mother fucker. Scary as hell when he’s pissed off. But genuine and funny.
We got hooked up because, I don’t even remember who contacted who first, but New Jack wanted to come here because he wanted to stick it to Paul [Heyman]. We talked and I told him “look, this is what I can pay you” and he said “cool”. Then he started coming out here and working shows and it was great. I mean his debut was probably one of the ten greatest moments in XPW history. I mean just the pop and the whole thing, and the way that it went with Vic Grimes coming in. That whole period of time was really good. Jack liked working for us, I think in part, he didn’t get paid like he did on a lot of shows but he got to come out to California, he got to hang out, he got all the free porn he wanted. I mean he’d come out here and he’d leave with a good couple month’s supply. Or we’d mail him some stuff. It was a fun experience, he got to stick it to Paul, and everything was good.
He put his body on the line for us a lot, and we always appreciated it. Somehow Jack always gets over on you. Like, we agreed on his base pay, which like I said was less than he got from other people, but he’d ask for an advance and we’d give him his pay in advance, then the night of the show he’d risk his life or something and we’d give him more money. So I think he ended up paid every show, by the time we gave him his advance and gave him some money that night, I think he ended up getting paid close to his normal rates. Well, time goes on and EPIC is going to start up, and Jack calls me up. This goes back to our whole philosophy, which was wrestlers who wrestle for XPW are exclusive to us in the areas in which we promote. If we don’t do a show in that area you can wrestle for whoever else. Wrestlers in LA were to only wrestle for XPW, because we wanted coming to an XPW show to be special. Why are you going to pay $30 to sit front row at an XPW show, when you can pay $5 to see the same guy wrestle at a Boys and Girls Club down the street next week? It doesn’t make the whole experience a special experience. Well, Jack called me up, and I still remember the conversation as plain as day. I was standing behind the Extreme building on my cell phone, and he said “look, EPIC is offering me three times the amount that you guys pay me. I can’t say no. It’s just a business decision. And if saying yes to working their shows means I can’t wrestle for you guys anymore, then I can’t wrestle for you guys.” That was it. It was a conversation. It wasn’t a fight, it wasn’t an argument, just a conversation. It was “Jack I understand, you have to do what you have to do.” I told him “I don’t think EPIC is going to be around more than three shows, so if you’re willing to get the big payday now in jeopardy of the long term…” because the other thing is, once you leave XPW, you don’t come back. Guys like Konnan and Vampiro, who chose to work another promotion’s dates over ours, when they had XWF dates that happened to conflict with XPW dates they had already booked themselves on. Once XWF was over and they both wanted to come back we told them “no, you chose someone else over us, so on principal you can’t come back.”
And I love Vampiro. Vampiro is probably my absolute favorite person that I have met in this business and that I got to deal with over the years. I loved working with him. You know, as a friend I wanted to bring him back, but as a business decision, Rob was very stern on these decisions. Once you chose to start working somewhere else, it just sets a bad precedent and we can’t take you back. The only person who ever came back was Damien Steele, and that was because he did the right thing. He came in and said “it’s better for my career at this point in time to go to UPW. I’ll do the right thing.” We had three shows like a week or so after that. He did the job all three nights and put over the people who were on their way up. That was the end of it. And then when he wanted to come back, we brought him back. So I told New Jack that was where we stood and that was the end of it.
Well, before that we had given New Jack that was an advance on two shows because he needed money. Well, the check bounced. Now previously we had given Jack a check that bounced and he cashed it at the same check cashing place. It bounced, they called us up, he called us up, we sent the money, it was all good. This time though after the check had bounced and as we were preparing to pay them, he told us he quit basically. I think it was like $800 if I’m not mistaken. You’ve probably seen the check.
Steve: Yeah, it was $800.
Kevin Kleinrock: So New Jack tells us he’s not working for us, we had given him an advance for two shows which he cashed before he quit, but now it’s bounced and he’s already quit. So we tell him “Jack you’re going to have to pay the guy back because you quit and you are not working those shows.” Plus, he borrowed from us, because we had that nice good relationship, a $3000 camera, which he either still has or he sold. So now, New Jack has quit XPW and we are out almost $4000. Do we go bad mouth New Jack? No. Do we even say anything? No. Mind you he’s also in the middle of a storyline. He’s trying to
get over this new guy Crimson [Matt Sinister], who god knows needs help getting over. Jack, was one of the most selfless people there was. He did what so many people like Shane Douglas bitch about older guys not doing. Not helping the younger guys by putting them over and teaching them. Maybe Jack can’t teach you how to be a better wrestler, but he had no problem going out there and helping to get the younger guys over. And for that we greatly appreciated him. So he’s in the middle of this thing with Crimson, and I know he’s having a hard time with it. He told me “I’ll do it because you are asking me, but it really fucking hurts me that I got to put this guy over.” We said “Jack we appreciate it, you are doing the right thing.” Then we shoot a promo because he’d just quit and we’d already announced him against
Crimson as being on the next show. So we have to do a promo on TV addressing the situation. Crimson says “I scared New Jack away.”
So, I get a call from New Jack after somebody here locally, most likely someone who works for EPIC, called him up and said “Jack, you have to see what they said about you on TV.” He goes off on me. He is just ranting and raving about how we could fuck him over like that. I said “Jack, let me send you the promo. Let me show you what he said, that this was nothing. It was a single line about ‘we ran this guy
off.'” He was livid. I mean I felt bad, but what were we supposed to do? I mean we did it the nicest way possible. We didn’t bury him, we talk shit on him, we didn’t do anything. We just had the guy he was in the middle of a program with say “I ran him off.” That was the best way we could do it. We didn’t put together a video of him getting the crap beat out of him. Nothing. We did the easiest, most nicest thing we could do. But that pissed him off.
Then he goes and does the EPIC thing, and shows the bounced check in the ring. And again, Bob Barnett, bless his soul, I don’t know if he was just being a cocksucker because he’s that way with us, or whether he didn’t understand the situation, goes out there and talks about how we bounced a check to New Jack. Meanwhile, we know since then other people have bounced checks to him and he’s never done anything publicly like that again. That was the situation.
So then he calls me back later down the road and goes off on me how we were paying Sabu multiple times what he was getting paid because it was a racial issue. That we paid him what he was getting paid because he is black. That we fucked him. We paid New Jack what we paid him because I said “New Jack,
this is what we can pay you” and he said “OK.” He forgets the fact that by the time he got his advance and his pay that night he was always getting over on us. Plus repeatedly, time after time he’d tell me “I make less here, but I like it because I get to come out to California and hang out with all these people and I get all the free titty movies I can get.” And that was the end of it. We never came out, until this very, day we never told the New Jack story. This is the first time, and this is only because XPW is at the point where we are coming out and telling all the stories.
I mean this is a completely justifiable defense of our position. It was a check for advance money and he quit the company. He still has a $3000 video camera of ours and has never once made an attempt to give it back. He has said “send someone down to the show I’m at to get it.” However, I can’t say that there weren’t fears of something physical happening when he was still ranting about the bounced check. Something happened after that between me and him, where he called me, and that makes me not want to deal with him anymore. When he was here though he was great. I loved having him as a worker, I loved having him be part of the company, and he did great things for this company between putting his body on the line and getting the new guys over.
Steve: OK, moving ahead a full year now, at New Year’s Revolution 2 in January 2002, XPW hyped that there would be a surprise that would “change wrestling history.” Then as everyone knows, there was no real surprise. Was there ever a surprise planned, and if so what was the surprise? In hindsight do you think it would have been better for XPW to come clean before or after the show about the surprise?
Kevin Kleinrock: Rob Black is about to do a shoot interview with OG Siderman [from XPWTV.com], that’s going to be like a two hour video taped interview. I’m only saying two hours because based on the questions that I’ve already seen that OG has on his list, and the fact that Rob is going to go into intricate detail on everything, because he feels like it’s finally time for him to speak up after two years of not talking about things. That exact same question is what I saw on [OG’s] list. So I’ll touch on that real quick, but I’ll let Rob expand on that in his shoot interview.
There definitely was something planned. I was a very big proponent of not promising a surprise unless there was a surprise already locked in. Actually it’s funny, because GQ Money did an interview recently where they asked him about the same thing, and he even said “Kevin was against it, and Rob and I was ‘let’s go for it.'” Rob and GQ, who was at the time working with me and Rob booking everything and writing everything, said “you know what dude, were going to pull something off, let’s hype it.” It was two to one, what could I do? We had a couple of different surprises that were supposed to come off.
I don’t really remember at this point what the initial surprise was. There were two that we worked on. The first one was Scott Hall, I believe. I don’t know if timeline wise that makes sense though.
Steve: I remember at the time hearing that is who it was.
Kevin Kleinrock: OK, so it was supposed to be Scott Hall. He was actually supposed to be up in the Bay Area for Kirk White [BTW promoter] doing an autograph signing for them, then something happened and he ended up not being on the autograph signing and therefore having decided not to take any bookings because something was going on with him.
Steve: He signed with WWE at that time.
Kevin Kleinrock: There was one point in time where I talked to Scott’s agent and he said “he’s just not going to be doing any indy shows right now.” So I said “what about that thing with Kirk White?” and he said “what thing? I’ll have to look into that.” I hope I didn’t just ruin anything between Scott and his agent. Then it was going to be Joey Styles.
We got a hold of Joey, and at the time he just didn’t want to get back into wrestling. He hadn’t been doing anything with wrestling, he’d only been working on his real job, and I talked to him, we were in Vegas actually for the Consumer Electronics Show, and I remember being in the hall of the hotel and talking to Joey on the phone and trying to convince him to do it, and he just really didn’t want to get back into wrestling at the time.
This was the days right before the show, and sometime, most likely as a joke, the whole idea about getting a couple homeless people to be the surprise, as a lack of surprise came up. Oh I think Dusty Rhoades was somewhere in there too. We tried to pull off Dusty Rhodes. Nothing was working. So the day of the show we go out and try to find some homeless guys on the streets of LA who will for $50 do this little spot with us. I was absolutely shocked at the amount of bums who turned us down for $50. Some of these people were very proud homeless people who were like “nah, you aren’t going to exploit me that way.” So more power to them. We ended up finding a couple guys, and they went ahead and they did the angle. As we heard later from Joey Styles when we started working with him again, that was probably the one of the absolute worst things that we did, considering that GQ went out right before that and put out a challenge to all the Internet writers to come and check out our product then we don’t
deliver on our promise.
In hindsight, like I said I was against it in the first place, but we tried for two weeks to pull off an acceptable surprise. Then in the end we said it’s better than to have no surprise to try and turn it into an angle and get some heat on the Enterprise. Well, it put heat on the Enterprise and it put heat on the company. We definitely learned from that. I don’t think there were any more surprise hypes after that where someone wasn’t locked into being there.
Steve: At Night of the Champions in July 2002, Shane Douglas came back and in the storyline he took over XPW and was taking it back to Philadelphia, to the ECW Arena. Why the ECW Arena and Philadelphia? Why there before places that are more local to Los Angeles?
Kevin Kleinrock: I’ll answer the California part first. We, when we started out, one of the things that kind of sums up a lot money problems in the beginnings is that XPW went all over the place. We were in Bakersfield, we were in Ventura, and a completely ill fated show in San Bernardino. For awhile we were doing Ventura every month and Los Angeles every month. Then we added Bakersfield. There was one weekend were we did three shows in a row. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We were all dead tired after that and never wanted to do that again. It’s hard enough draw money in LA, and again like I told Tony T., one XPW show, talent, advertising, venue, doing it up right cost between twenty and thirty thousand dollars. Nobody, nobody besides TNA has ever in the past few years has come along on a consistent
basis and spent twenty to thirty thousand dollars on a live event. It just doesn’t happen. All the local indys here, nobody spends a fraction of that on a show. It was important for us to do everything right. So spending that money on local shows where we weren’t doing anything even near breaking even just wasn’t worth it for us.
The East Coast has been the wrestling market. That is where you have to go to make it. All the magazines are based out there, everything is based out there. California is like an island to the wrestling community. I imagine if not for your site California would be invisible. It took us a couple years just to break PWI into covering us. Everything you ever read, most of it was written by me. Everything you read in Wrestling World magazine or different publications was just me under a different pen name. It’s stuff I would write and send in and they would publish it. Rampage Magazine, some of the stuff I wrote, some
of the stuff they wrote., but it’s nearly impossible to get publicity out here. So we knew we had to go to the East Coast to become the national company we wanted to be. We never wanted to be a complete national company in terms of touring all over the country going from city to city, but we wanted to have a couple different markets we could hit on a monthly or semi-monthly basis. That’s what we wanted to be. What better place than the ECW Arena? That was like the Mecca of pro-wrestling. I got my first ECW tape from Ed Ferrera, who was a huge ECW fan. I got a bunch of tapes from him, back when they were still only on local TV out there, before they got anywhere near the national level. I had always want to
go as a fan and see a show there. I mean that was the building, that was the place. If we were going to make it, we were going to make it there. We decided let’s do it. We went out and Hostile Takeover was one of the best shows we ever did. Top to bottom. Wrestling wise, storyline wise, drama wise, audience wise, just one of the greatest experiences we ever had. It was a real good experience to do Hostile Takeover there. After that… it wasn’t as good.
We had to go through a lot of drama and bullshit just to do that first show there. Every promotion out there jumped us. CZW, 3PW, I mean no one else before had to ever go through what we did. I had to fly myself to Philadelphia, drive an hour and a half to the state capital, sit down with the athletic commissioner, and assure him we weren’t the devil worshiping, child molesting, evil doers that everyone was saying we were, and that we should be able to have a wrestling license. No one else ever had to do
that shit. From day one the cards were completely stacked against us in terms of being able to run a profitable business there. Then we made the mistake of signing the lease on the building. That is one of the biggest mistakes we ever made. We completely got fucked in that deal. The day before we signed it, Sandman came to me and pulled me aside and gave me some words of advice, which I said to him that “I appreciated them, but didn’t need.” I should have listened to Hack. You should always listen to Hack. We didn’t heed his advice and we got royally screwed.
Steve: Before I continue on with Philadelphia, around that same time the Messiah was attacked in his home and had his thumb cut off. What were your thoughts on that when you first heard about the attack, and your thoughts a year later?
Kevin Kleinrock: Well, you were actually a part of that. I remember exactly where I was when I answered the phone when you called me. I remember exactly where I was sitting. I’ll never forget you calling me and giving me that phone call. If I remember correctly I told you to call me back because I needed a couple minutes to figure out what the fuck was going on.
People outside of XPW don’t really know me. People outside of XPW don’t really know that I’m the one who has always been the champion of the guys. I’m the one who always looks out for the boys and have been that link between them and Rob. The first time I saw Billy [Messiah] wrestle, back when he wrestled for Slammers, I fell in love with his wrestling ability. I watched him that very first night and said “this kid has got ‘it.’ He’s going to be a star.” As soon as the XPW thing started I wanted him to be in XPW. He was by far one of my closest friends here at XPW. Plus the fact that he ended up working in the office, so I ended up working with him on a daily basis. Good times and bad. I mean we were so close that I bought a new car, and I had my old car, and I had somebody offer me cash for the car, and
Billy needed a car. So I made a deal with Billy to give him the car and he’d pay me a little bit a week until the car was paid off. I mean, who do you turn down cash for? Billy to me was one of my closest friends in the business.
When he left here it sucked, you know? There was drama and he had to go, but I missed not being good friends with him. We still talked from time to time because he was still paying on the car. Then you gave me the call, and I couldn’t believe it, and I talked back with you. Then over the next couple of days
I talked with Gary Yap three or four times a day, just constantly getting updates from him. One of the things that kind of upset me, when Billy did his first interview after that, he made a statement
saying the only person from XPW that even called him or tried to see how he was doing was Kaos. I was thinking “where did the line of communication break down?” I talked to Gary three or four times a day. I always told him “I don’t know where Billy’s head’s at, but let him know that I’m here for him. He knows how to get a hold of me if there’s absolutely anything I can do for him.” I don’t know if that didn’t get translated, or if it just didn’t matter, but I still haven’t talked to him since them. I don’t know. I don’t even know what to say or what to do. I feel so terrible that that happened. I wish he would have let me be the friend that I was when he was here working for us, because I always enjoyed that relationship with him.
I know that people now, that were involved with XPW at the time, have seen him and talked to him, and I just don’t know where his head is at with things. I still haven’t made an attempt to talk back with him, because obviously it’s been said that he feels that this was done by, you know, who he feels it was done by. I can sit here and try and state the contrary, but I don’t think it will matter to him. I’m sad that it happened, I’m sad that he feels the way that he does, and I’m sad that not only was his life hurt and affected, but I’m sad that things had to go down the way that they did, that someone I considered one
of my closest friends in the business and one of my closest friends at work and what not, that our relationship had to end the way that it did. I would still love to stay up on his career and talk to him from time to time, but that’s something that would have to come from him at this point.
As far as my thoughts on the attack at this point? Disgusting, absolutely disgusting. I don’t know how many times I was asked about it after it happened. From all the websites and all the press. There’s an author who’s doing a book on indy wrestling, and he had come out here when XPW was starting, and
spent about a week out here with us, and I hadn’t talked to him for about a year, and he called me up and wanted to do some final questions for the book. He gets out here and it became an entire interview about the Billy situation.
I don’t know where it’s at now, and I sincerely hope, at least for him, someday there comes a conclusion to all of this. It’s only right for that to happen.
Steve: Getting back to Hostile Takeover, the attendance for Hostile Takeover by far the largest attendance you guys had in Philadelphia. Why do you think it is your attendance dropped every show after that?
Kevin Kleinrock: Obviously the first one was going to be the best. I mean, just the fact that people came from miles and miles around to see what they’d only heard about. Hopefully that will be part of the success of the first pay per view. Hopefully people will go “I’ve heard of XPW, I think it will be worth 19.95 to see an hour of their absolute craziest best stuff.” You know, people in states that we never even
came close to. It was the same thing. It was the curiosity factor I think.
Why did the attendance drop after the first show? It certainly wasn’t because of the quality of the first show. I mean the first show rocked. Philly is an over saturated wrestling market. Every single weekend, every single night, at least one show in a town near by is running. Just too much good stuff really.
Between all the factors I explained before about how the Internet wrestling community, which really is Philadelphia itself, that is a total Internet wrestling based crowd, the fact that we were shunned because we had fought the ECW establishment, and a lot of people that hadn’t gone to the first show, either the Ring of Honor type fans who were thinking we were all blood and guts, and the CZW type fans who were thinking we weren’t enough blood and guts, there’s just too much stuff for one town. Plus the fact that we were the outsiders, and people rallied around the locals. I don’t know. I don’t know why exactly. Maybe if we could have figured it out we could have had a more successful end of the run there. But then we went to Pittsburgh and drew phenomenal. I think the first show we did in Pittsburgh even had more attendance than the first show we did in Philly. That’s a great building. I don’t know. Philly just sucks. Philly freakin’ sucks.
Steve: XPW came back to SoCal after that, and did the two back to back shows at the X-Park. Attendance was overall down from when XPW was running in SoCal before, but the quality of the shows had definitely been stepped up.
Kevin Kleinrock: Like I said we grew as a company. Rob had become more appreciative of actual wrestling. We grew just in terms of putting together better matches. We also had a much better roster. I mean, come on. Jerry Lynn, X-Pac, Juvi, Matt, and Josh. That roster was by far the best roster we ever came to California with. So that was exciting to be able to bring that to our original die hard fans. To be able to bring them a high quality show like the East Coast had been getting.
Attendance on one hand was disappointing, but on the other hand the fact we had been screwed around on television, and a lot people didn’t even know that we existed anymore. A week wouldn’t go by where someone would come up to me in a mall or a store and say “Hey, aren’t you that guy from XPW? What
happened to XPW?” And I would be like “Well, we’re still on TV, and were doing this or that?” You know as much as everyone goes “put it on the website and people will find out”, there’s a lot of people who don’t go on the computer still. There are a lot of people who need to have that regular television show on, in that old time slot. When KJLA moved us and didn’t even tell anyone, including us until it was too late,
we lost a lot of our following I think, and it hurt. I think that we would have been able to build it back over time, but for various reasons we didn’t do another show after that.
Steve: Obviously the federal raid of the Extreme offices played a part in XPW canceling it’s second Pittsburgh show. If the raid didn’t happen would there have been any XPW shows after that Pittsburgh show?
Kevin Kleinrock: Yeah. We were looking forward to Pittsburgh being a really strong market for us. I mean that’s Shane’s [Douglas] home town. He worked the media there, he worked everybody. We went there and put on a really good show. We were looking forward to doing Pittsburgh every eight weeks. That building is a great building, it’s probably the best building we ever ran in. We were definitely planning on going back there at least, on a regular basis.
Steve: After the raid happened, and everything got put on hold, in a recent interview you did with Tony T. [krisskloss.com] you mentioned that Rob Black has lost his passion for wrestling. What do you think made him lose that passion?
Kevin Kleinrock: Well, there is a couple things. Then again that’s probably a better question for Rob,
and if it’s not on Siderman’s list of things to ask him, I’m going to add it. No one can explain it better than he can. To give what I think is a couple sentence summary, Rob is kind of like the Vince McMahon story. Vince try as he might makes money at professional wrestling, but his attempts to make money elsewhere, from the WBF to the XFL, often fail. Rob is an extremely creative person. You know it’s funny. When Shane Douglas came around, somehow all the booking was better, the TV shows were better, the this was better, the that was better. The only thing Shane Douglas booked in full was his matches. It was still me and Rob who wrote the weekly TV show, who booked the matches, who came up with the storylines. It’s funny that Shane came around and all of the improvement was credited to him, but anytime anything was bad “that must have been Rob Black who booked that.” That was kind of funny
for us to sit there and watch. We didn’t care. As long as people were talking good we didn’t care who got the credit. That’s just not the type of people that we were. I’m certainly not that way. As long as the product is going well I can care less if everyone knows what I did.
Rob’s forte is entertainment, and he’s had most of his success in the adult entertainment business. XPW was always planned on being a real viable business that would succeed and be profitable on it’s own. Let me tell you something. Everyone in the adult entertainment business, doesn’t want to be in the adult entertainment business. They want to get their money so they can go do something in the mainstream world. So XPW was a way for Rob to do something in the mainstream world while the adult company paid the bills. Between various things that happened in the adult company, that put it on a rocky course financially, and the fact that when Extreme Associates was set financially it was easy to fund XPW with that money, it was easy for us to sit back and justify dumping the loads of money because people still had money in their pockets. Extreme Associates took some bad turns and it became harder and harder to put more and more money into XPW.
Rob is getting closer to being thirty years old and he’s got Lizzy at home, and I’ve got my wife and now baby at home, and you kind of sit around and say “where is the money to pay the bills and have a sense of security going to come from?” When we were doing XPW full time, the television show and live events included, and Extreme Associates full time, we were pulling sixteen to eighteen hour days. That’s a long day. I mean coming in at 9:00 AM and going home between 1:00 and 3:00 AM and coming back the next day and doing it all over again. That started to take a toll. Rob is at the point right now where he
just really wants to put things on a smooth course so he can stop worrying about thing. Unfortunately to continue at the level and doing all the things, such as live events and the what not at this point was starting to take away from the guaranteed security. Tom Byron, who was Rob’s partner with Extreme Associates before him and I left to start a new company called Evolution, always said that porn girls were the biggest primadonnas in the world, until he met professional wrestlers.
It was just like “you know what? I don’t need this stress right now, it’s not making me any money, I’d rather work on my future and security than spend money on a professional wrestling company.” It just kind of slowly chipped away at him till he was like “life is easier without it.” When you can say life is easier without something, it’s very easy for you to lose your passion for that thing. I think that’s how it
came to the point where he lost his passion.
Steve: Do you see XPW ever running live shows again?
Kevin Kleinrock: Right now we have enough footage between our 130 plus TV episodes and four years of live events to make home videos and pay-per-views for years to come and never have to lay out another dime to do a live event. But… if the pay-per-view is successful, which I hope it will be, again
especially because of the curiosity factor and it’d playing for a month and a half. It debut’s Thursday [August 7th] at 8:00 PM, but there are replays all the way up through September 15th. So hopefully the buzz from the people who watch the first one will get around the Internet, it will get good reviews, more people will watch it, and it will be successful. If there is a demand in the future for live events, there could be a return to live events. Will it be on a regular basis in terms of trying to do a touring schedule again? No. Would it be maybe one big shows every three months to get new footage, or maybe one day do a live pay-per-view? Possibly. It’s going to depend on the success of the pay-per-view and the demand for the product. If the demand for the product is there, then yes at some point I’d expect to see a return to live events.
Nobody here is looking to do a weekly TV show anymore. Nobody here is looking to get on the road and trying to have a LA, Pittsburgh, Philly, Colorado, and God knows where else circuit. Maybe someday again, but it’s at least not in the cards for the foreseeable future. Would I like to go back to the Olympic again and do a huge show someday as a pay-per-view taping? I would. While I’m burnt out on running a professional wrestling company, like I told you at the beginning of this interview. I wanted to get into wrestling to use what I thought was my creative skill to book matches and write storylines. I never wanted to run a business. I’ve spent four years running a business. The day to day operations of a business. Everything you can imagine. Everything that goes into running a company I’ve had to do. I can safely say that on that end of things I’m burnt out right now. I haven’t lost my passion for wrestling, but I’ve lost my passion for running a wrestling business. It’s pretty much just the two of us, me and Rob, with a little help along the way from this person and that person. Like I said at one point in time GQ Money was very involved, at one point in time when we started with Shane again Shane Douglas and Cody Michaels were very involved. I would still love to every now and then contribute creatively in some way, so to do a show every now and then is a distinct possibility that we might consider depending on the demand.
Steve: OK, so if the WWE called you tomorrow would you quit Evolution and head over there?
Kevin Kleinrock: I always thought the WWF is where I wanted to go. Even at the beginning of XPW, everybody here, except maybe Rob, but all the wrestlers, all the employees still wanted to get to the WWF. Since then I’ve kind of changed. One thing is I have a wife and kid, and if working for the WWF
meant being on the road, I wouldn’t want to do it. I treasure my time that I’m home with my child and I don’t want to be away as he grows up. If it was just an office job, or a job where I was traveling once or twice a week, I wouldn’t say that I wouldn’t entertain the offer. Anyone who is anyone, I don’t care who you are in the wrestling business, if you are not in the WWF, you want to be in the WWF. No matter what anyone tells you. They’ll come up with their excuses. They don’t like the product, it’s not for them, they don’t to work in that type of environment, it’s all bullshit. If you are not in the big leagues, you want
to be there. It could be that you only want to be there if you get paid X amount of money, but you want to be there. I mean look at AJ Styles. He turned down a developmental deal because it wasn’t the right deal for him. I’m not saying he didn’t want to be in the WWF, he wanted to be in the WWF, but it wasn’t enough of a guarantee for him. He did the right thing. Not many people would do that. So I don’t know.
The other thing is, I’ve talked with enough people that have worked there, one in particular, who had what I thought was the dream job, and he says it was the absolute worst experience of his life. He would never go back there for any amount of money and that working for Vince McMahon was just a horrible experience. And this is someone who’s opinion I respect more than anyone else in the business. He told me when you get there it’s like “we want you here, you are the greatest, we’ll do anything to get you”, and then once they get you it’s months of telling you “that you don’t know your ass from a whole in the ground and you’re shit.” It’s just a horrible work experience. After hearing this from that person I went “you know what? I guess it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. I thought that he had it made.” I guess if I had never heard that story my answer would be different, but like I said, it’s life and it’s wrestling and you never say never. If the right offer came along I’d consider it, but it would have to be the right offer.
Steve: I’m just about running out of tape, so before the tape runs out is there anything else you’d like
to say, or add, or get off your chest before we end?
Kevin Kleinrock: I guess all I can say is I think that from day one we tried to bring the fans of Southern California a different product, a good product and I think we did a decent job, and I hope those who like our product will watch our pay-per-view and see some highlights of some of the best stuff that they saw and some new stuff that they have never seen before. And the fans that really never gave us a shot will check it out because you walk away going “that’s XPW.” From the little bits of angles and skits that are in there, to the deathmatch stuff, to the flying stuff, it is a great sampler platter. If people have ever wondered about XPW, rather than go out and buy a tape in the store that they may like or may not like, it may be a great show we did or just a decent show we did, it’s much more worth it to drop twenty bucks on the pay-per-view and go “that’s XPW. That is tremendous.” You can’t walk away. You can’t get up and walk away during the pay-per-view because you are going to miss something. It’s an hour of non-stop highlights of the best stuff that we’ve done. Not all of it, because you couldn’t fit it all into an hour, but non-stop highlights. So I hope people check it out, and I hope people will get on the SoCal boards and talk about it, and let us know what they though, because there will most likely be another one in October and I’d like to know what people liked and what people didn’t like so we can make the next one better if need be. That’s it. Give us your opinion. Give us your feedback and we’ll come read the boards.
Steve: Thanks for your time.
Kevin Kleinrock: No problem, have fun typing the interview up.
“Best of XPW: Xtreme Pro-Wrestling Vol. 1” airs on pay-per-view beginning August 7th and runs through mid-September. For more information check out xpwrestling.com.