BANKIE'S HOT TAKE #7 - X-Factor
I came across a random clip on YouTube as I was searching for old WWF videos from 2001. And it instantly took me back.
I found the Titantron video of the X-Pac, Justin Credible, and Albert stable with Uncle Kracker’s “What Chu Lookin’ At” song.
That’s right - the X-Factor.
As a teenager in early 2001, I was a die-hard wrestling junkie. I would literally, and I mean literally, watch anything and everything. Whether it be WWE, WCW, WOW at 3am early Sunday morning on FOX, or various VHS tapes of vintage wrestling my Dad would record, wrestling was on my brain 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
So on an episode of Monday Night Raw on TNN on February 12, 2001, I was surprised to see the return of Justin Credible to WWF, albeit under a different alias. (NOTE: Credible was the "Portuguese Man-O-War" Aldo Montoya in the mid-1990s)
X-Pac had just defeated Grand Master Sexay, just after Scotty 2 Hotty had to pull out of the original contest due to a knee injury. Chris Jericho, who had just re-entered a rivalry with X-Pac after a multi-month feud in the Fall of 2000, came out and laid waste to the former European and Tag Team champion with a few takedowns and his patented Lionsault. As Y2J enjoyed his work, the crowd murmured as a familiar face ran down the aisle, weapon in hand.
Credible, former ECW World Heavyweight and Tag Team champion, blasted Jericho with a steel chair and laid waste to him with punches and kicks. X-Pac got up and celebrated with the “Impact Player”. “Good Ol’ JR” Jim Ross and Jerry “the King” Lawler pondered on why the union between Pac and Credible began.
To the casual fan, it was unknown. To the hardcore fan, it was as clear as pie.
X-Pac and Justin were aligned via “the Kliq” behind the scenes in the mid-1990s in the WWF. Although Sean Waltman was one of the more recognizable members, it was highly unknown that the former Aldo Montoya was under the learning tree of Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Mr. Waltman, and a young Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Both men became fast friends, and upon their reunion on Raw, it just made sense to pair them together.
Exactly one month later, X-Pac and Credible faced off with the Hardy Boyz for the WWF Tag Team championships on Raw. Just as the dastardly duo looked as if they were about to lose, big Albert, who was last a part of the T&A tag team with Test at the end of 2000, pulled Jeff Hardy out of the ring and gorilla press slammed him over the barricades and into the crowd. The 6’7, 300 pound pierced monster rolled underneath the bottom rope and gave Matt Hardy the Baldo Bomb. X-Pac, Credible, and Albert stood tall as one.
X-FACTOR WAS BORN.
Over the next few weeks on television, X-Factor went on an undefeated streak. Most notably, on the Sunday Night Heat before WrestleMania X-Seven on April 1, 2001, X-Pac and Credible dominated the team of Grand Master Sexay and Steve Blackman in under 3 minutes.
By Backlash on April 29, X-Factor was on full cylinders. In what many consider to be a major upset, the trio defeated Buh Buh Ray, D-Von, and Spike Dudley in a six-man tag, and then followed it up with an awesome rematch on May 7 in a tables match. Furthermore, Pac and Credible were putting on great performances in tag team matches on live events in England and the United States, including a couple on television against the Hardy Boyz and the APA.
It’s really interesting to see the structure of this trio, especially twenty years later, from a creative standpoint. For starters, after years of being the sidekick in multiple wrestling factions, it was refreshing to see X-Pac as the leader of his own group. Justin Credible was treated as more of an equal to X-Pac instead of a sidekick, yet had extreme credibility due to his run in ECW. Plus, after the previous few years as a tag team specialist, Albert was able to break out as a singles performer and look like a true monster in his showings.
And then, there’s the theme song.
Look, unlike everyone else on the planet, I do not believe Uncle Kracker’s “What Chu Lookin’ At” is the worst wrestling theme of this millennium. It’s got a different vibe to it. Once you hear “You dealin’ with the X-Factor”, the chorus of the song starts to play.
I got everything I ever wanted
And I'll never give that back
Oh I know you hate that factor
But you ain't gotta look at me like that
I said you ain't gotta look at me like that
Once the bass bumps, the theme plays out and surprisingly worked with the group as they entered the arena. I genuinely enjoyed it and appreciated the unique vibe. It's awesome.
By the end of June 2001, two-thirds of X-Factor made a strike towards singles championships. The night after WWF King of the Ring 2001, X-Pac, in a return match from the night before, pinned Jeff Hardy to win the WWF Light Heavyweight championship on Raw. Three days later on SmackDown, Albert shocked the world and, with help from WCW’s Diamond Dallas Page, pinned “the Big Red Machine” Kane to win the Intercontinental championship in a no-disqualification match. Both men won them in Madison Square Garden.
X-Factor was a force to be reckoned with.
And then the bottom fell out.
The night before the infamous July 9, 2001 Raw, X-Factor were guests on Sunday Night Heat live from WWF New York with Michael Cole and Tazz. As all three men sat down, Cole and Tazz addressed a lot of the questions toward Pac and Albert and their careers. Also, with the WCW Invasion in full swing, the titled duo talked trash on their rival company. However, this was where things went a tad sideways.
As Justin went to discuss the WWF, X-Pac cut him off and continued ranting about WCW. Credible actually looked a little perturbed at that slight disrespect. And once Justin tried again, Cole cut him off with a “Sorry, Justin” and ended the program.
Although a slight was made, not much more was thought of it. Until the next night on RAW, Justin Credible was among the 10 men who ran in the ring and attacked Chris Jericho and Kane during their tag team match. Paul Heyman, from the broadcast desk, came in the ring and announced that ECW would be joining the Invasion and taking things to the EXTREME.
Just like that, X-Factor was done.
X-Pac made his way into the Cruiserweight/Light-Heavyweight scene and at one point held both WCW and WWF lightweight belts. However, X-Pac would get hurt by the end of October 2001 and the WWF Light Heavyweight title would fade away into obscurity.
Albert lost the Intercontinental championship to Lance Storm the night after Invasion and wouldn’t really do anything of note until November, when he would form a new tandem with Scotty 2 Hotty and become “the Hip Hop Hippo”.
Justin Credible would fall into the mess of the Invasion and not do anything of note with the WWF until he was released in January 2003.
There was no blowoff match. There was no major group split. It literally was a case of “one day here, next day gone”.
When people talk about X-Factor, it’s honestly about the Uncle Kracker theme song and not much else. For a 5-6 month span in 2001, the success this group had always gets overshadowed by the mess that was the Alliance. Creatively, I loved X-Factor and felt it deserved more time to grow. I was happy to give props to the trio here and I hope you guys look back a little more fondly on them.
Will this give me “X-Pac Heat”? #BANKONIT
What Chu Lookin’ At?
X-FACTOR FORMS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6YCIa7kjes
X-FACTOR VS DUDLEYZ: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpn22v-MUUQ
X-FACTOR THEME SONG: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sksLPq2gNsk
X-FACTOR AT WWF NEW YORK: https://youtu.be/P9L6MV-TOuY