WWE File Motion To Dismiss MLW Lawsuit

WWE have filed to dismiss MLW's lawsuit

WWE filed a motion to dismiss Major League Wrestling's antitrust lawsuit in the United States District Court, Northern District of California, yesterday, PWInsider have reported. 

MLW sued WWE back on January 11, alleging WWE had made ongoing attempts to "undermine competition and monopolise the professional wrestling market by interfering with MLW's contracts and business prospects."   

Specific reference within the suit was made to MLW's deal with VICE TV and a major streaming deal with FOX that would have seen MLW content air on TUBI. 

Within the motion to dismiss, WWE took issue with MLW claiming to be an "innovative startup", pointing out the promotion had failed to secure a broadcast rights deal, something 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. 

"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. 

"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 also made specific reference to alleged interference in MLW's deals with FOX and VICE TV, and the company argued they were not in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. 

MLW owner Court Bauer told PWInsider following WWE's filing: "Of course WWE is scrambling to dismiss. They don't want this thing to go to court. I look forward to that opportunity."

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Aidan Gibbons

Written by Aidan Gibbons

Journalist/Editor-in-Chief of Twitter: @theaidangibbons