If Terry Harper’s name is attached to a wrestling show, I pay attention. The concert promoter doesn’t put on wrestling shows very often, but he doesn’t mess around when he does. He gave us Kongo Kong vs. Jeff Jarrett. He brought Sandman to The Arena, and he booked MJF hot on the heels of his All In curtain jerker with Matt Cross.
I was a bit thrown when I saw his next show is a revival of wrestling company called XCF. I’ve been following indie wrestling in Southern Indiana and Louisville for close to a decade now, and the name was not familiar to me. Turns out XCF has a history that is truly inspiring.
It all started with a bunch of kids who wanted to be professional wrestlers putting on shows – where else? – in the backyard. One of the founders was also one of the best kept secrets in indie wrestling, The Iron Demon Shane Mercer.
“We originally called the company ECF,” says Mercer. “E from ECW, C from WCW, and F from WWF. We originally started on a ground with a base, moved to a trampoline, and then to an actual ring. We even had a cage set up at one time.”
The ECF guys merged their backyard fed with another started by Aidan Blackhart. The new group changed its name to XCF, and the homegrown shows continued even as many of its founding members began wrestling professionally.
“The style we wrestled is everywhere now, but it was frowned upon at the time,” says Mercer. “We felt the freedom in XCF to do things our way.”
XCF connected with other small companies and produced super shows. They had an annual “Wrestlemania” type event they called Last Rites. They held their own awards banquet at the end of the year, complete with dinner and highlight reels showing the best performances in an XCF ring.
In addition to Mercer and Blackhart, XCF had a number of regulars like Satu Jinn, Alex Zayne, and Maxx Mizery. JC Bailey joined forces with them on several occasions, bringing his own crew up from Bardstown, Kentucky.
“We told ridiculous stories and had bad ass dream matches,” says Mercer. “We had so many styles, from technicians to deathmatch advocates to goofy dumb stuff and more. It brought us all closer, and we kept it going until it finally faded out around 2011-2012.”
The momentum of XCF faded, but not the memories. A place like XCF no longer felt necessary, thanks to the changing styles of indie wrestling, but Shane Mercer couldn’t shake the thought of “What If.”
Shane shared his “what if” thoughts with the right person. Terry Harper came on board, and Shane out the word out. “It blew up like I never thought possible. So many people from the past wanted to jump on board because because that electricity we felt for XCF never died.
A true XCF reunion would be impossible because more than a hundred people wrestled for them at one time or another. Shane assembled the “Originals” and teamed up with Terry to book a card loaded with indie stars: Shane Mercer, Billie Starkz, The Rejects, Team No Respect with Mad Man Pondo and Duke the Nuke, Mickie Knuckles, Aaron Williams, Gary Jay, Kongo Kong, Dan Maff, Jason Kincaid, Lord Crewe, Atticus Cogar, Chance Prophet, KTB, and a host of surprises appearing in an XCF Battle Royal.
“The card is full of bangers and badass matches,” Mercer promises. “No filler ever.”
Will XCF: Resurrection be a one night only reunion or a true rebirth? That’s up to the fans who are buzzing over the show and snapping up tickets. And Shane and Terry of course. The important thing is tickets are still available for what is sure to be one of the biggest nights of wrestling ever at The Arena.
The show takes place Friday night, November 11, at The Arena, 1416 Spring Street in Jeffersonville.