The XFL Has More in Common With the WWE Than the NFL

The NFL’s only notable competitor in the world of football, the XFL, is back. Well, maybe. In any case, the XFL’s most recent strategy did work out for some time, especially compared to its first attempt. That said, this new version of the XFL is still more similar to the WWE than the NFL. Here’s why.

What sets the WWE and XFL apart from others

First and foremost, implied by the ‘E” in WWE, both organizations aim for entertainment. WWE has always been more about entertaining fans than being a true athletic contest. For example, in WWE as well as in other “pro wrestling” organizations, the fights are almost always scripted. Wrestlers have a fake persona of being the good guy (known as the face) or bad guy (known as the heel).

While other sports have had a history of match-fixing, by and large, most sports, including the NFL, do not script games. The XFL’s games aren’t scripted, but still, the XFL will live by the philosophy that WWE was founded under entertainment. 

This has always been the goal of Vince McMahon, founder of WWE and the XFL. In fact, according to The Undefeated, McMahon even said the XFL won’t involve any politics. This is, of course, a reference to Colin Kaepernick and the NFL’s handling of players kneeling during the national anthem. Instead, McMahon said XFL viewers will solely be entertained by the games.

What the WWE and the XFL have in common

St. Louis Battlehawks running back Keith Ford scores a touchdown
St. Louis Battlehawks running back Keith Ford | Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Furthermore, as WhatCulture explains, the two organizations will have plenty in common other than entertainment. For example, because both organizations are owned by McMahon, both will promote each other a lot. This includes XFL players attending WWE events and vice versa.

WhatCulture said there’s even a tie-in reference to a famous WWE wrestler. Randy Orton, WWE’s “The Viper,” is somewhat related to an XFL team, the Tampa Bay Vipers. On top of those cross-promotions, the XFL and WWE also have something in common that sets them apart from the NFL.

Unlike the NFL, neither the XFL nor WWE have cheerleaders. This is likely in response to the first XFL’s use of cheerleaders, which doesn’t really fly nowadays.

Lastly, and again due to the XFL’s focus on entertainment, the games will be shorter than the NFL’s, too. For comparison, a single WWE match is very short, but a whole event may take as long as a regular NFL game. 

Other ways the XFL is different than the NFL

These shorter matches have been good for football fans, as many followers don’t like watching hours of the sport for just a few minutes of action. This is one of the ways the XFL has improved since the last time it tried its hand at football. 

Rather than using gimmicks to entertain fans, the XFL has made changes that speed up the game compared to the NFL. For example, in a bid to reduce concussions, punts and kickoffs are different in the XFL. The XFL also has a “sky judge” who can basically make a ruling as fast as possible. 

Many minor rule differences and major salary differences exist between the XFL and NFL. And, unfortunately, according to ESPN, one other difference between the two is that, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the XFL may have been canceled again.