WWE has fired its latest salvo in the ongoing antitrust lawsuit filed by Major League Wrestling. MLW is suing the world’s largest pro wrestling company on the grounds that they tampered with potential television and streaming deals. WWE has once again asked the judge to dismiss the case.
MLW has alleged that WWE has made ongoing attempts to undermine competition in the pro wrestling industry. They alleged that WWE interfered in possible distribution deals with streaming platform Tubi as well as Vice TV. WWE believes there is no merit to those claims.
Mike Johnson of PW Insider reported on the latest court filing from WWE. The company’s legal team argued that MLW failed to address WWE’s use of exclusive contracts with media partners, whether those contracts foreclose MLW’s target markets, and a failure to respond to WWE’s arguments against the case.
“First, MLW’s monopolization claim(s) remain unviable. MLW has not and cannot plead the core elements of a monopolization claim: (1) a relevant product market, (2) monopoly power, (3) anticompetitive conduct, and (4) antitrust injury. Confronted with WWE’s motion to dismiss and the deficiencies of its own Complaint, MLW now tries to reframe its Complaint through its opposition (Opp.), asserting that WWE’s exclusive contracts with Fox and NBCUniversal foreclose MLW from the “market” by cutting off its access to key distributors or purchasers. However, MLW’s complaint is silent on (1) WWE’s use of exclusive contracts, (2) whether these exclusive contracts substantially foreclose the proposed market, or (3) the existence of “key” networks, cable, and streaming services that control access to this proposed marketplace.
Second, MLW’s various state law claims should be dismissed for lack of diversity and/or supplemental jurisdiction. Even if this Court could continue to exercise jurisdiction, MLW fails to respond to WWE’s arguments in its moving brief. The intentional interference claims are not plausibly pled, and MLW has no standing to bring a UCL claim.”
WWE has also alleged that MLW has failed to substantiate many of their antitrust claims. Time will tell if the judge agrees to throw the case out. The next scheduled hearing in the matter is not until September 29th.