Don’t expect the likes of Alex Shelley, Velvet Sky, Devon, Angelina Love or even Hall of Famer Ric Flair to pop up in a WWE ring anytime soon. According to Wrestling Observer editor Dave Meltzer, Vince McMahon’s company is steering clear of any and all recently affiliated TNA Wrestling talent while the two grappling organizations do battle in court.
On May 23, 2012, TNA Entertainment, LLC. filed a lawsuit in Nashville, Tennessee against World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. and Brian Wittenstein, a former office worker for both organizations. TNA accused WWE of obtaining secret contract information in an attempt to poach their talent in violation of Tennessee’s Uniform Trade Secrets Act.
Wittenstein, who worked for TNA Wrestling for three years, was terminated on August 3, 2011. At that time, he entered into a Separation Agreement and General Release, preventing him from disclosing certain confidential TNA information. TNA alleges that Wittenstein violated the agreement by downloading confidential TNA trade secrets and providing that information to WWE after joining the organization months later. Although WWE fired Wittenstein and alerted TNA officials as to the disclosure of the information, TNA claims WWE waited three weeks to notify them and has used the confidential information, including data regarding wrestler compensation, to recruit contracted TNA talent to work for WWE. Wittenstein’s contract with TNA had specifically ordered that he not share confidential information about the organization after his employment ceased.
Matt Morgan, who had teased joining WWE since concluding his contractual obligations to TNA in June, resurfaced at Saturday’s house show in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Dressed in street clothes, Morgan entered the ring through the crowd and laid out Robbie E. Meltzer wrote on the F4WOnline.com message board regarding Morgan’s apparently renewed partnership with TNA, “I guess that tells you about that TNA lawsuit now since they didn’t take Morgan.”
It has also been speculated that Alex Shelley and Ric Flair could wind up in WWE now that both individuals are free agents. Meltzer, however, reveals that the organization is not negotiating with either talent despite being legally able to.
“Nobody is talking about Shelley and they won’t even officially talk to Flair even though his non-compete is up,” he wrote.
Following the lawsuit filing, it was reported that TNA was looking to cut costs by restructuring talent contracts when they expired. This ploy appears to have led to the respective departures of Devon and Velvet Sky since both talents reportedly left the organization due to their financial terms not being reached on new deals.