WWE’s Pursuit Of AEW Talent Has Slowed Due To The Ongoing MLW Lawsuit

WWE had a hiring freeze earlier this year before Vince McMahon agreed to sell the company to The Endeavour Group, led by Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel, with the intention of merging WWE and the UFC to form a new company.

WWE is also fighting an antitrust lawsuit filed by MLW. The original lawsuit claimed that WWE violated the Sherman Antitrust Act in the US market for pro wrestling content, that WWE attempted to undermine MLW’s pursuit of media distribution deals, and that WWE attempted to hire contracted talent away from the company.

Dave Meltzer stated on Wrestling Observer Radio that when it comes to WWE pursuing talent from other promotions who are looking to see what they can get on the market, WWE is being cautious due to the lawsuit.

This comes at a time when Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks will lose market value when their AEW contracts expire in 2024. Following Dynamite on Wednesday, Omega stated that they will continue to work together in the future. This came up during a discussion about Gable Steveson being promoted to make a decision about his NXT future while preparing for more amateur wrestling competition.Meltzer: “I don’t think he’s going to say that [Gable going after a gold medal]. Maybe he will.”

Bryan Alvarez: “Well, I don’t also picture Kenny Omega coming in front of the crowd and going, ‘Hey, we’re all gonna stick together when we leave.'”

Meltzer: “But that wasn’t on TV.”

Alvarez: “I know, but he still said it in AEW, shown in front of a crowd of 9,000 people.”

Meltzer: “But, when they said it in all that, they were all gonna stick together, which was funny because I know people who said that when they said it, they didn’t mean it, but the Young Bucks and Kenny meant it.”

Alvarez: “But the point is, that could have been WWE could have been, but there was no AEW at the time.”

Meltzer: “Yeah, it could have been WWE. There was no AEW that could have been; it wasn’t going to be Ring of Honor and probably wasn’t going to be New Japan Pro Wrestling. I mean, the hint was that it would be anything but WWE. But the reality is this; it could have been WWE.”

Alvarez: “This person says he didn’t say he would leave. I know that. But the point is when he said that, like many people online are presuming that they’re all going to WWE, that is the presumption people have because of What you say.”

Meltzer: “No, I would certainly not presume; I would not presume anything until November or December. But November, I think, by November, unless they sign before then. Tony’s trying to sign him right now. Still, unless they sign, I wouldn’t presume anything because a million things can happen in the next couple of months. I mean, they could get, you know, WWE is very leery because of the MLW lawsuit. So they’re not making, like, if this was, if that MLW lawsuit wasn’t there, WWE, and it’s not just these guys. There are other guys that this relates to and have an interest in, at least in hearing from WWE.

And one case, interest in going to WWE, and WWE has been uncharacteristically, whatever the word is, not aggressively trying to steal talent. Like, unless somebody’s contract is over because of that MLWlawsuit. If it was two years ago in this situation, would they not go in there and go, Hey, we’ll offer you millions and millions of dollars, you know, make a move when your contract’s up. Right now, I don’t think that they would do that. They might, but I don’t think so. I think the WWE is very, you know, that lawsuits… it’s like if they do something wrong and it gets out in that law, that’s not a good thing for that lawsuit. And that lawsuit may end up being nothing but an antitrust lawsuit. I mean, it’s like, there’s a lot that could be very scary. And, plus, it’s no longer Vince being defiant; Vince, you know, it’s Emmanuel. And I mean, he’ll flip out if they do something to make the lawsuit work, you know, worse. And I don’t think they want Ari flipping out and going like; you gotta get rid of whoever put it this way, whoever makes that offer, if an actual offer is made and it comes out and it gets to Ari. Ari will never fire Vince. Like, he will never fire Dana [White]. But though there will be a scapegoat, you know, in that, which is why nobody better do it or should do it or make sure it doesn’t get out because anything that makes that lawsuit worse is not something that Endeavor wants. It’s not something WWE wants either, for that matter.”

(h/t to WrestlingNews.co for the transcription)