The pro wrestling post: TNA sues WWE, Lesnar PPV buys and Wrestler v. Wrestler
May 25, 2012
Welcome to another edition of the pro wrestling post. This week we look at TNA sues WWE, Brock Lesnar’s return to PPV with the WWE and wrestler sues wrestler.
TNA sues WWE
TNA Wrestling has filed a lawsuit against the World Wrestling Entertainment and a former employee of TNA and the WWE for what amounts to misappropriation of trade secrets (a desriptiion , interference with existing contracts and other breach of contractual claims. Essentially, Brian Wittenstein, a former employee of TNA Wrestling left the company to work for the WWE. Wittenstein allegedly took information regarding TNA and other matters while he worked for TNA in the talent relations and live events department and gave it to the WWE as he was hired by the company after his time with TNA.
According to Cageside Seats (via PWInsider.com), the WWE fired Wittenstein after he presented WWE officials with the information. However, a couple weeks had passed before the WWE let TNA know of the information. TNA is claiming that the WWE is trying to poach TNA wrestlers utilizing the information it knows from the TNA information.
Payout Take: You may recall a similar event occurring with Bellator suing local Arizona promotion Desert Rage. In that case, it was claimed that an individual working on behalf of Bellator utilized information he knew about Bellator contracts to find fighters for a Desert Rage event. There, the Bellator event and the Desert Rage event were held on the same night in the same vicinity. An injunction has been filed by TNA in which the court has ordered the WWE and Wittenstein to hand over the confidential information Wittenstein obtained while he was with TNA. MMA Payout will try to track down the lawsuit and provide further comment.
Lesnar’s WWE return on PPV
The Wrestling Observer reported the PPV buys for WWE’s Extreme Rules at 251,000 buys broken down as 144,000 in North America and 107,000 overseas. Lesnar was in the main event against John Cena. A match which Lesnar lost. The buy rate was an increase of 35,000 buys from 2011’s Extreme Rules.
Payout Take: Is the increase a disappointment? Did we expect more with Lesnar at the top of the card? Did the WWE mishandle Lesnar? In the UFC, Lesnar was the PPV draw as he drew over 1 million buys 4 times when he was on a UFC card. Extreme Rules is not Wrestlemania, so maybe we discount the magnitude of the event. Still, Lesnar came back to the WWE with much fanfare. Perhaps the re-emergence of Paul Heyman in the WWE is a sign that Lesnar needs a mouthpiece to get over with the crowd in terms of promoting his matches.
Wrestler sues wrestler
An amusing lawsuit (not for the injured person) with some insight on what we all know about pro wrestling (its not real but you can still get hurt). The USA Today reports that a wrestler on the independent circuit has sued another wrestler for failing to follow the script. As a result, the wrestler lost a testicle.
John Levi Miller is suing the wrestler and the wrestling promoter for “unspecified compensation for medical expenses and for possible consequences from the injury, which he says could include erectile dysfunction, loss of testosterone, loss of sex drive and osteoporosis.”
As is the case with many pro wrestlers on the indy circuit, Miller has no insurance and has incurred $20,000 in medical bills. Miller contends that Clinton Woosley did not want to work on their match prior to performing and Woosley kicked Miller in the groin in an effort to win the match. However, it was predetermined that Miller would win according to Miller.
(H/t: Sports Law Prof)
Payout Take: The story seems like a fact pattern for an exam in law school. Did Woosley have a duty to work with Miller prior to the match? Was there an assumption of the risk by Miller? How is the promoter liable? Did the promoter have insurance? The lawsuit is unique as things like this on the independent circuit never get to the courtroom. But, the lack of health insurance, unpaid medical bills and injuries are realities of pro wrestling and MMA in small promotions.