MLW files lawsuit against WWE, WWE responds

BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH ASSISTANT EDITOR


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MLW has filed an antitrust lawsuit against WWE citing that they “undermine competition in and monopolize the professional wrestling market by interfering with MLW’s contracts and business prospects.” MLW released a press release on the suit on Tuesday.

Specifically, the suit alleges that WWE applied pressure on potential MLW partners to move on from a relationship with them including disrupting a streaming deal. In addition, MLW alleges that WWE tampered with their negotiations with Vice TV in an illegal way. The full press release courtesy of Post Wrestling can be read below:

San Francisco, CA – Jan. 11, 2022 – 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, WWE pressured third parties to abandon contracts and prospective relationships with MLW. 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.

WWE has responded to the allegations and the suit via comments to PWInsider. The company says that there is no merit to the claims and that they will vigorously defend themselves.


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