• AEW Wrestler Takes WWE’s Side In MLW Lawsuit
Major League Wrestling issued the following press release recently:
MLW Files Anti-Trust Lawsuit Against WWE
“San Francisco, CA – Professional wrestling company Major League Wrestling (MLW) (MLW Media LLC), filed a lawsuit today against World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE). The federal court antitrust lawsuit is based on WWE’s ongoing attempts to undermine competition in and monopolize the professional wrestling market by interfering with MLW’s contracts and business prospects.
As described in the complaint, lo WWE’s misconduct included disrupting every level of MLW’s business, including a major streaming deal for MLW which would have been transformative for the company.
MLW also allege in the complaint that in early 2021, after MLW announced that it was in talks with VICE TV to air MLW programs on VICE TV, a then-WWE executive warned VICE TV that WWE owner Vince McMahon was “pissed” that VICE TV was airing MLW programs, and that VICE TV should stop working with MLW, the VICE TV executive responded that WWE’s conduct was illegal and an antitrust violation, with the WWE executive responding that she could not control McMahon.
“WWE has been wrongfully depriving its competitors of critical opportunities for many years, but its latest conduct has been even more unconscionable,” said MLW CEO Court Bauer. “I think we speak for the rest of the professional wrestling world when we say that this anti-competitive behavior has to stop.”
WWE’s ongoing misconduct has hurt fans of professional wrestling and competition in the professional wrestling industry. Through this lawsuit, MLW seeks to recover its losses due to WWE’s interference and to enjoin WWE from future interference.
The case is captioned MLW Media LLC v. World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. MLW is represented by Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP.”
Also in this lawsuit, MLW claimed that WWE was behind their streaming deal with Tubi ending:
“Prior to Tubi and MLW issuing the joint press release, WWE learned about the terms and existence of the License Agreement. On or about August 9, 2021, WWE executive Stephanie McMahon spoke with a Tubi executive located in California about the License Agreement.
Ms. McMahon initially pressured the Tubi executive to deny MLW a time slot that would compete head to-head with WWE’s NXT programs on Tuesday nights. But Ms. McMahon ultimately pressured the Tubi executive and other senior executives at Fox to terminate the agreement in its entirety.
Tubi’s affiliate, Fox, could lose WWE’s business or preferred content if Tubi did not acquiesce to WWE’s demand and terminate its agreement with MLW. On August 9, 2021 — the night before a planned press release about the Tubi-MLW deal — as a result of WWE’s pressure and interference, MLW received a letter purporting to terminate the License Agreement.
As a result of WWE’s interference, MLW has lost a critical platform to air its new programs. It can take months, if not years, to find such a platform. Although MLW had been offering and still offers its content for streaming on YouTube, that does not afford it a meaningful audience, and MLW receives no fees for the rights to its content and marketing support which are critical to its success as a business.
In order to survive economically and meaningfully compete in the Relevant Market, professional wrestling companies need fair, competitive access to media rights partners.
As a result of WWE’s interference with MLW’s ability to retain media rights, MLW’s brand recognition has declined and will continue to decline, it has lost and will continue to lose its valuable talent, and its business will be destroyed.”
WWE released the following statement regarding this lawsuit:
“WWE believes these claims have no merit and intends to vigorously defend itself against them.”
WWE’s longtime lawyer Jerry McDevitt sent the following statement about this situation to the Wrestling Observer:
“I have not seen the full lawsuit since WWE has not been served.
If Tubi breached, then sue Tubi. As to Vice, WWE has no commercial relationship with them or for that matter any of the other dozens of content distribution entities with whom MLW could do a deal with if they had a commercially viable product.
They put a show on Vice, if my memory serves me correctly after one of the Dark Side (Of The Ring) shows and lost most of the audience.
I think I read they got 40,000 viewers. No wonder Vice did no further deal.”
AEW Joey Janela is taking WWE’s side on this matter and took a shot at MLW Founder Court Bauer (who is also a former WWE writer).
Below is what he tweeted:
“This dude has ‘No GCW’ written into his new contracts because I called him out for taking advantage of young talent…
I hope the titan puts em out…
I know it’s the cool thing to support the underdog taking on the big dog, but this ain’t it…
Most of the undercard gets paid less than 3000 a year tbh, and Big court acts like he’s doing business around the world, private jet flying! Get lost you carny f**ks!”
WATCH: Maryse’s Big Juggs In Green Dress – Part 2:
• On This Day In Pro Wrestling History (January 18, 2005) – Old School Wrestling Veteran Passed Away
On this day in 2005, we lost Old School NWA/WCW/WWF Veteran “Pistol” Pez Whatley (Real name: Pezavan Whatley) at the age of 54 after a heart attack.
Some 80s NWA fans might also remember him as Shaska Whatley, which was his name during the feud with “The Boogie Woogie Man” Jimmy Valiant.
Later in his career, he worked as a “Jobber To The Stars” for the World Wrestling Federation in 1990 & 1991 and then also for WCW during the early & mid 90s.
Whatley was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2021 as part of their annual “Legacy Wing” inductions.
† REST IN PEACE PEZ WHATLEY