News broke today that MLW has filed an antitrust lawsuit against WWE, claiming that WWE has interfered in their business dealings and has had a hand in squashing relationships and deals that would have helped MLW expand and grow in significant ways. That includes a streaming deal that MLW felt would've been "transformative for the company", and now WWE has responded to the lawsuit and those claims. WWE issued a statement to Forbes, saying "WWE believes these claims have no merit and intends to vigorously defend itself against them." Whether that means a countersuit or just fighting these claims in court remains to be seen, but we'll keep you posted as we learn more.
For reference, you can find the official release on the lawsuit in its entirety below.
"Professional wrestling company Major League Wrestling (MLW) (MLW Media LLC), filed a lawsuit today against World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE). The federal court antitrust lawsuit is based on WWE's ongoing attempts to undermine competition in and monopolize the professional wrestling market by interfering with MLW's contracts and business prospects.
As described in the complaint, WWE pressured third parties to abandon contracts and prospective relationships with MLW. WWE's misconduct included disrupting every level of MLW's business, including a major streaming deal for MLW which would have been transformative for the company.
MLW also allege in the complaint that in early 2021, after MLW announced that it was in talks with VICE TV to air MLW programs on VICE TV, a then-WWE executive warned VICE TV that WWE owner Vince McMahon was "pissed" that VICE TV was airing MLW programs, and that VICE TV should stop working with MLW, the VICE TV executive responded that WWE's conduct was illegal and an antitrust violation, with the WWE executive responding that she could not control McMahon.
"WWE has been wrongfully depriving its competitors of critical opportunities for many years, but its latest conduct has been even more unconscionable," said MLW CEO Court Bauer. "I think we speak for the rest of the professional wrestling world when we say that this anti-competitive behavior has to stop."
WWE's ongoing misconduct has hurt fans of professional wrestling and competition in the professional wrestling industry. Through this lawsuit, MLW seeks to recover its losses due to WWE's interference and to enjoin WWE from future interference.
The case is captioned MLW Media LLC v. World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. MLW is represented by Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP."