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MLW Files Anti-Trust Lawsuit Against WWE, WWE Issues Statement

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• MLW Files Anti-Trust Lawsuit Against WWE, WWE Issues Statement

Major League Wrestling issued the following press release:

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.”

WATCH: Stephanie McMahon Kisses Vince McMahon:

• Old School Wrestling Veteran Celebrates His Birthday

Today would have been the 54th birthday of Old School ECW Veteran Big Dick Dudley (Real name: Alex Rizzo).

He was considered the leader of the Dudley Family in Paul Heyman’s Extreme Championship Wrestling, where he wrestled from 1994 till 1999.

He was married to ECW Diva Elektra, but they divorced shortly before he passed away in 2002.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY & † REST IN PEACE

January 12, 1968 – May 16, 2002

        
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