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By Mike Johnson on 2009-07-01 11:35:04
Former XPW owner Rob Zicari (professionally known as Rob Black) and former XPW performer Janet Romano (who performed as Lizzie Borden) were sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison as well as two additional years of supervised probation.

The couple plead guilty last March to one count of conspiracy to distribute obscene materials.   Zicari also plead guilty at the time to one count on behalf of his now defunct video company, Extreme Associates Inc.  The March pleas were made part of an agreement between the defendants and prosecutors that saw nine counts of violating federal obscenity statuettes dropped. The couple and Extreme Associates Inc. were indicted in August 2003 for selling graphic pornography via the mail and online after a long investigation by federal prosecutors.  At the time, they were accused, "of sending obscene movies to a Post Office box in the Pittsburgh area. The suspects also allegedly sent obscene tapes and DVDs to a local wholesaler and transmitted obscene footage on the Extreme Associates Website."

Before the guilty pleas the couple were facing upwards of 50 years in prison and up to a $5 million fine.

Black promoted Xtreme Pro Wrestling (XPW) from 1999-2003 in California, using his adult video production company Extreme Associates as the parent company.  The promotion was something of a West Coast answer to the original ECW after a falling out between Zicari and then-ECW owner Paul Heyman, running regularly for several years using a mix of former ECW talents like Sabu, New Jack and the late John Kronus as well as West Coast performers they cultivated like Supreme, Kaos and Johnny Webb. 

XPW, using Shane Douglas as booker, had expanded into Philadelphia in 2002.  Their entrance set off the Philadelphia wrestling war of 2002-2003.  At one point, they held exclusivity on the former ECW Arena, preventing all other independents from running the venue during a really hot period where tons of companies were running (and most drawing) in the city of Brotherly Love.  A side effect of their run inadvertently lead the way to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission taking a much stricter stance on hardcore wrestling following an incident when a particularly bloody bout ended up in the ECW Arena's women's restroom and a woman affiliated with a Commission member ended up with blood on her. 

Although the company was gone from Philadelphia by February 2003, they had also moved into the Pittsburgh market, drawing a good house there thanks to Douglas' local promoting and were still running regularly in Los Angeles.

That all changed in April 2003 when Extreme Associates was raided by federal authorities after receiving materials that were ordered from the website of Black's adult video company and shipped to Pennsylvania.  Once the federal charges were filed, the promotion pretty much ceased to exist although they maintained the company website for some time afterward and aired several taped "Best of" XPW PPV specials.

An XPW revival show "A Cold Day in Hell" was staged last year in California and later released on DVD, but Zicari was not involved as he had sold the rights to the company and its video library to XEG and Big Vision Entertainment in 2004 and was later said to have "despised wrestling and all it 'did to him", according to an interview I conducted with former XPW official Kevin Kleinrock to promote the reunion show.

A second XPW reunion show is tentatively scheduled as a smaller scale production.

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