Back in January, Major League Wrestling filed a lawsuit against WWE for antitrust violations. In the midst of legal battle, WWE has filed a motion to dismiss MLW’s lawsuit.
Yesterday legal team of WWE filed a 35-page motion to dismiss said lawsuit in the United States District Court, Northern District of California, PWInsider has reported.
The lawsuit by Court Bauer’s organization alleged that WWE made attempts to “undermine competition and monopolize the professional wrestling market by interfering with MLW’s contracts and business prospects.”
In the motion to dismiss, WWE specifically took an issue with MLW claiming to be an “innovative startup” and points out that the promotion failed to secure a broadcast rights deal, which All Elite Wrestling had been able to do with WarnerMedia.
The motion stated:
“MLW styles itself to be an ‘innovative startup’ in the professional wrestling world with ‘cutting-edge storylines,’ but the complaint tells a very different story. Since 2017, MLW has attempted to sell ‘broadcast rights’ for professional wrestling content to television broadcast networks, cable networks, and streaming services. 1, In that time, MLW alleges that a new entrant, All Elite Wrestling, exploded onto the scene and quickly captured a contract to sell broadcast rights for its professional wrestling program, Dynamite, to WarnerMedia for $43.8 million annually.
The motion also made reference to MLW’s deal with VICE TV and a major streaming deal with FOX that would have seen MLW content air on TUBI.
“Further in that same time, MLW alleges that market incumbents WWE secured contracts with NBCUniversal and Fox to sell its US broadcast rights for two of its programs for a combined average annual value of $470 million, and Impact Wrestling (‘Impact’) secured a contract to air on the cable channel AXS.
“But not MLW. Despite some potential opportunities with the cable channel VICE TV (‘VICE’) and streaming service Tubi, MLW is yet to sell broadcast rights for its wrestling program. Hundreds if not thousands of other potential buyers of broadcast rights exist, but MLW does not allege that it attempted to sell its content to any of them. MLW could start its own streaming service and reach consumers directly – as it acknowledges that WWE and Impact have done – but it does not allege to have tried that, either.
The motion repeatedly points out that MLW blew up potential deals and has no intentions of competing in the ring and that Court Bauer’s organization would instead prefer to compete in the courtroom.
“MLW has given up competing in the ring and chosen instead to compete in the courtroom. MLW brought claims for monopolization, intentional interference with contractual relations, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, and unfair competition against WWE in a vain hope to shift blame for its failures away from itself. But MLW’s failings are its own. Its claims are meritless and should be dismissed as a matter of law.”
WWE has argued that they are not in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Following the WWE’s filing of the motion to dismiss, Court Bauer told PWInsider, “Of course, WWE is scrambling to dismiss. They don’t want this thing to go to court. I look forward to that opportunity.”
Historically WWE has survived several similar lawsuits against them, and the boss Vince McMahon has lived to see them all. MLW is aware that the victory could potentially change the entire wrestling landscape, and MLW owner Court Bauer has made it pretty apparent that he will not stop until they take WWE to court.