MLW’s Antitrust Lawsuit Against WWE Update
As noted before, Major League Wrestling filed an antitrust lawsuit earlier this year against WWE. MLW is claiming that WWE illegally interfered in several of their business deals with television networks and engaged in contract tampering with several of their contracted talent. WWE filed an official motion this past March requesting for MLW’s lawsuit against them to be dismissed.
PWInsider’s Mike Johnson reported that WWE filed a new motion this past Monday to the United States District Court, Northern District of California requesting again for MLW’s lawsuit to be dismissed.
WWE is claiming in their latest filing that MLW has failed to provide any evidence of WWE having “monopoly power” over the wrestling industry. The filing also claims that MLW’s allegations of WWE interfering with their television contract negotiations are not supported by facts.
Portions of WWE’s filing:
First, MLW’s monopolization claim(s) remain unviable. MLW has not and cannot plead the core elements of a monopolization claim: (1) a relevant product market, (2) monopoly power, (3) anticompetitive conduct, and (4) antitrust injury. Confronted with WWE’s motion to dismiss and the deficiencies of its own Complaint, MLW now tries to reframe its Complaint through its opposition (Opp.), asserting that WWE’s exclusive contracts with Fox and NBCUniversal foreclose MLW from the “market” by cutting off its access to key distributors or purchasers. However, MLW’s complaint is silent on (1) WWE’s use of exclusive contracts, (2) whether these exclusive contracts substantially foreclose the proposed market, or (3) the existence of “key” networks, cable, and streaming services that control access to this proposed marketplace.
Second, MLW’s various state law claims should be dismissed for lack of diversity and/or supplemental jurisdiction. Even if this Court could continue to exercise jurisdiction, MLW fails to respond to WWE’s arguments in its moving brief. The intentional interference claims are not plausibly pled, and MLW has no standing to bring a UCL claim.
Actual disruption of the prospective economic advantage is another threshold element that MLW fails to allege, and which MLW does not address in its Opposition. Based on the Complaint, VICE aired a first-run episode of MLW content, thus showing (i) that negotiations continued for months after the supposed call between a WWE employee and VICE executive, and (ii) that they were not remotely disrupted by WWE.
Finally, MLW does not allege causation and misunderstands WWE’s argument on this point. WWE is not suggesting that one potential cause for the supposed disruption of the VICE negotiations (the single communication with WWE) should be disregarded for another (MLW’s reportedly disappointing viewership). Rather, WWE argues that MLW must allege more facts to plausibly suggest that a call from a WWE employee in June is what caused VICE to terminate its
negotiations with MLW many months later, not any number of other intervening events.
MLW alleges inadequate facts about WWE’s purported interference with the Tubi contract to plead intentional interference. MLW failed to allege who at Tubi spoke to Ms. McMahon, what Ms. McMahon said to force Tubi to terminate its contract with MLW, or how frequently Ms. McMahon spoke to unnamed individuals at Tubi. As WWE noted previously, MLW also alleged that it received a letter terminating its contract with Tubi but it failed to plead the letter’s contents or the grounds for termination.
WWE also requested for the court to prevent MLW from being able to adjust and update their lawsuit due to their claims of MLW never being able to “plausibly plead that WWE has market power over networks, cable, and streaming services, some of the wealthiest and largest corporations on earth, all with the means and ability to produce their own professional wrestling content or buy it from the myriad or other content creators.”
Wrestling Entertainment Series Announces Full Card for Their Debut Event
Wrestling Entertainment Series recently announced the full card for their Wrestling Entertainment Series UK debut event on June 4th at Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham, England. It was also announced that their upcoming event will air live on FITE TV.
- WES World Championship – Adam Scherr (former Braun Strowman in WWE) vs. Alistair Overeem
- WES Women’s Championship – Lina Fanene (former Nia Jax in WWE) vs. CJ Perry (former Lana in WWE)
- WES Tag Team Championship – Gzim Selmani & Sunny Dhinsa (former Authors of Pain in WWE) vs. Westin Blake (former Wesley Blake in WWE) & Steve Maclin
- Killer Kross vs. Samuray Del Sol (former Kalisto in WWE) vs. JONAH
- WES Women’s Tag Team Championship – Madison Rayne & Tenille Dashwood vs. Deonna Purrazzo & Chelsea Green
- Dean Muhtadi (former Mojo Rawley in WWE) vs. Lince Dorado
- Pre-show match – Mike Bennett vs. Biff Busick (former Oney Lorcan in WWE)
- Pre-show match – Dirty Dango (former Fandango in WWE) vs. Levis Valenzuela Jr. (former No Way Jose in WWE)
William Regal Comments on His Interest in Potentially Wrestling Again
United Kingdom based newspaper Metro held a recent interview with William Regal. One of the topics discussed included Regal’s thoughts on his interest in the idea of coming out of retirement to wrestle one more time.
“No, never. No. My last official match was against Cesaro. My last few years, I didn’t realise – it’s come out recently, I had a serious neck problem for 20-odd years. It finally caught up with me. All I ever wanted was a 20-year wrestling career when I started – I ended up with a 30-year wrestling career. I couldn’t have asked for any more. If you’re not me and you’re just looking from the outside, ‘Oh he should have been this, he should have been that’ – no. I was very happy with what I achieved. If I’d have never come to America, I had an incredible career. By the time I was 24, I’d been to 19 countries. In 20 to 24, I’d been to all the best places you could go to, wrestling all the best wrestling.
I can get in the ring now and wrestle just as good as I ever did. In fact people are like, ‘You wanna stop a bit.’ Training, I can get in there and do that. I still train, do all my squats and push-ups that I never thought I’d be able to do. But I look like a 54 year old. I don’t want the memories of me – I can still wrestle just as good as I used to. In fact, better because I’ve got full circulation now after god knows how many years. I wrestled my son for an hour before Christmas in the PC in Orlando. I can wrestle. I’d rather that match with Cesaro be my final thing. ‘Elvis has left the building.’ That’s why Colonel Tom Parker never let Elvis do an encore. Don’t ruin it for myself. That was as good as a match as it could ever be for me to finish my career, and 30 years in, it’s somebody else’s turn now. Why ruin it?”