WWE Files Motion To Dismiss MLW’s Amended Lawsuit

(Image Credit: MLW & WWE)

WWE has filed a motion to dismiss MLW’s amended antitrust lawsuit.

Following its initial lawsuit, which was filed in January 2022 and dismissed by the court of law, MLW filed an amended complaint on March 6, 2022.

According to the motion, MLW’s definition of the market “remains fatally flawed,” and the company “failed to sufficiently allege direct evidence of monopoly power.”

WWE also claimed that MLW had failed to support their case, pointing out that media companies view wrestling shows differently than other shows. WWE claimed that MLW failed to “plead allegations addressing why other ‘sports entertainment’ or media’ content for which broadcast rights might be sold to distribution channels are not appropriate substitutes.”

WWE also claimed that the MLW complaint lacked “any non-conclusory allegations that WWE wields market or monopoly power over the hundreds of networks and streaming services with which it has no commercial relationships.” MLW has alleged that WWE “possesses or has a dangerous probability of obtaining monopoly power.”

WWE also disputed MLW’s theories about anticompetitive behavior, claiming that the latter’s alleged blocking of “key” or “favored” networks and streaming services “passes muster,” given the number of alternative media rights purchases available and MLW’s successful acquisition of a television deal.

WWE claimed that MLW failed to allege a single instance of WWE “unlawfully interfering with MLW’s contracts with professional wrestlers or venues,” which was a key point in the lawsuit. WWE also referred to its previous motion to dismiss, claiming that the claims lacked subject matter jurisdiction in California.

In response to MLW’s question about WWE’s ownership of talent-related intellectual property, WWE stated:

“[A] federal district court has already ruled that WWE’s ownership interest in the characters delineated on its television product are as legitimate as DC’s ownership interest in Superman. At base, MLW is grousing that it cannot develop its own characters and would prefer to steal WWE’s copyrighted characters… Indeed, even during the course of this litigation, WWE has had to send MLW a cease and desist letter regarding its attempted theft of the ‘Enzo Amore’ character owned by WWE.”

Finally, in response to a report that REELZ would not air MLW Underground as part of its livestream on Peacock due to WWE’s exclusivity with the streaming service, WWE stated, “MLW does not allege that WWE prevents it from selling its media rights to Reelz, nor that Reelz could distribute only through Peacock rather than, e.g., Amazon Prime, Roku, Pluto, Apple TV, or other platforms potential number of purchasers, it cannot escape the reality that WWE only sells its media rights to two of the many potential purchasers of MLW’s content.”