WWE Files motion to dismiss antitrust lawsuit from MLW

WWE filed a motion on Monday to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit against them from Major League Wrestling (MLW).

MLW filed suit against WWE this past January, alleging that WWE put pressure the Fox-owned streaming service Tubi, as MLW’s lawsuit says a deal with Tubi fell through after WWE had interfered.

The lawsuit from MLW claims that in early 2021, a WWE executive contacted Vice TV and put pressure on Vice TV to stop working with MLW. Back on October 7, 2021, MLW did air the special on Vice TV that featured Alexander Hammerstone defeating Jacob Fatu to win the MLW World Heavyweight Championship. 

MLW CEO Court Bauer said the following in a previous press release:

“WWE has been wrongfully depriving its competitors of critical opportunities for many years, but its latest conduct has been even more unconscionable…I think we speak for the rest of the professional wrestling world when we say that this anti-competitive behavior has to stop.”

WWE responded by saying that while MLW has claimed to be cutting edge professional wrestling, the promotion has yet to acquire any major TV rights deals since 2017 when the company was resurrected, even though other promotions – including AEW has. Furthermore, a portion of WWE’s motion to dismiss states the following:

“MLW’s claim for intentional interference with prospective economic advantage fails because MLW does not allege that WWE knew about MLW’s negotiations to sell a third party first-run programming.”

In a statement to PWInsider, MLW owner Court Bauer said the following:

“Of course WWE is scrambling to dismiss. They don’t want this thing to go to court. I look forward to that opportunity.”

WWE’s Lawyer Jerry McDevitt made the following statement to F4WOnline:

“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 shows and lost most of the audience. I think I read they got 40,000 viewers. No wonder Vice did no further deal.”

According to PWInsider, WWE also argued the State of California held no jurisdiction over either party, so the court should not be hearing the lawsuit to begin with, and that MLW’s claim claim under the California Unfair Competition Law does not hold, either.  They are also, as is clear from the filing, stating that, thus far, MLW has brought nothing tangible to prove their claims to the table.

The court has ordered a hearing for September 29, 2022 to hear arguments on WWE’s motion to dismiss.

Source: PWInsider and F4WOnline