WWE filed a motion to dismiss Major League Wrestling’s antitrust lawsuit in the United States District Court, Northern District of California yesterday, PWInsider reported.
MLW sued WWE on January 11, alleging that WWE had continually attempted to “undermine competition and monopolize the professional wrestling market by interfering with MLW’s contracts and business prospects.”
Specific reference in the lawsuit was made to MLW’s deal with VICE TV and a major streaming deal with FOX that would have seen MLW content aired on TUBI.
In the motion to dismiss, WWE took issue with MLW claiming to be an “innovative startup”, pointing out that the promotion failed to secure a broadcast rights deal, which All Elite Wrestling was able to do with Warner Media.
The motion stated:
“MLW markets itself as an ‘innovative startup’ in the world of professional wrestling with ‘cutting edge storylines’, but the complaint tells a very different story. Since 2017, MLW has attempted to sell ‘broadcast rights’ for the professional wrestling content to broadcast networks, cable networks and streaming services. 1, around this time, MLW alleges that newcomer All Elite Wrestling exploded onto the scene and quickly secured a contract to sell the rights airing his professional wrestling program, Dynamite, to WarnerMedia for $43.8 million a year.
“Later in the same period, MLW alleges that market licensees WWE secured contracts with NBCUniversal and Fox to sell its United States broadcast rights to two of its programs for a combined average annual value of $470. million, and Impact Wrestling (“Impact”) landed a broadcast deal on cable channel AXS.
“But not MLW. Despite some potential opportunities with cable channel VICE TV (“VICE”) and streaming service Tubi, MLW has yet to sell the broadcast rights to its wrestling program. Hundreds, if not thousands other potential broadcast rights buyers exist, but MLW does not allege that it attempted to sell its content to any of them. MLW could launch its own streaming service and reach consumers directly – as it acknowledges that the WWE and Impact did – but he doesn’t claim to have tried that either.
“MLW forfeited competing in the ring and instead elected to compete in the courtroom. MLW sued WWE for monopolization, intentional interference with contractual relationships, intentional interference with potential economic advantage and unfair competition. in a vain hope to shift the blame for its failures away from itself. But MLW’s failures are its own. Its claims are baseless and must be dismissed under the law.
WWE also specifically referenced alleged interference with MLW’s deals with FOX and VICE TV, and the company argued that 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 fire. They don’t want this thing going to court. I’m looking forward to this opportunity. “