The landscape of professional wrestling is constantly evolving, with originality becoming a rare occurrence in the industry. A wrestler filed a plagiarism lawsuit against WWE and AEW, which was initially dismissed but has now been given a second chance. An update on the lawsuit has emerged once again.

In case you didn’t know a wrestler named Anthony Duane Wilson filed against both WWE and AEW, accusing each company of “plagiarism, market damages, product damages, personal damages and financial damages.” Ultimately, the lawsuit was dismissed on November 3rd, 2023. Judge Benita Y. Pearson dismissed the case, citing that neither defendant had been served within 90 days of the lawsuit, which was filed back in August.

Most of the specifics in the original filing were written by hand, where Wilson had alleged that “WWE, its contractors, and employees have on multiple dates used my creative works without permission, infringing on my wrestling gimmicks, names, slogans and likeness.”

Wilson claims that he intended to launch his own wrestling promotion and had discussions with Bullet Club members to join him. He alleges that they appropriated his plans, excluding him without credit or the rightful share of the company he believes he deserves as the creator.

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Wilson asserts that this has resulted in various damages, including to his market, product, personal, and financial interests. He contends that both AEW and WWE continue to use his works without acknowledgment or compensation, accusing them of intentionally derailing his career.

In seeking justice, Wilson is pursuing $250,000,000 in damages and the return of all his intellectual property. He initially filed the lawsuit in August 2023, but it was dismissed in December 2023 due to neither defendant being served within the 90-day period after filing. However, the lawsuit would then get second chance last month, and this time, both AEW and WWE were served.

According to PWInsider, in response to the request for a jury trial, AEW presented several defenses and denied the allegations as well.

“Wilson’s Complaint, in whole or in part, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

Wilson’s Complaint, in whole or in part, fails to comply with Fed. R. Civ. P. 8 because it fails to provide a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”

Wilson’s Complaint, in whole or in part, is barred by the applicable statute(s) of limitations.

To the extent Wilson alleges a claim for copyright infringement, such a claim is barred because Wilson does not allege the existence of a registered copyright.

To the extent Wilson alleges a claim for copyright infringement, such a claim is barred because any alleged work is not an original work of authorship.

To the extent Wilson alleges a claim for copyright infringement, such a claim is barred because of All Elite’s independent development of any allegedly infringing work.

To the extent Wilson alleges a claim for copyright infringement, such a claim is barred by fair use.

To the extent Wilson alleges a claim for trademark infringement and/or unfair competition, such a claim is barred because Wilson does not allege the existence of a valid trademark.

To the extent Wilson alleges a claim for trademark infringement and/or unfair competition, such a claim is barred by fair use.

To the extent Wilson alleges a claim for trademark infringement and/or unfair competition, such a claim is barred by the First Amendment.

To the extent Wilson alleges a claim for trademark infringement and/or unfair competition, such a claim is barred by abandonment.

To the extent Wilson alleges a claim for violation of his right of publicity and/or invasion of privacy, such a claim is barred because Wilson’s name, likeness, and/or persona have no commercial value and/or were not used by AEW for a commercial purpose or for commercial profit.

To the extent Wilson alleges a claim for violation of his right of publicity and/or invasion of privacy, such a claim is barred by the First Amendment.

To the extent Wilson alleges a claim for fraud, it is barred because he failed to plead it with specificity as required by Fed. R. Civ. P. 9.

To the extent Wilson alleges a claim for tortious interference, it is barred because no enforceable contract existed at the time of AEW’s alleged improper conduct.

To the extent Wilson alleges a claim for tortious interference, it is barred because there was no breach of an underlying contract or disruption of an underlying relationship.

To the extent Wilson alleges a claim for tortious interference, it is barred because AEW’s actions were legally justified and/or privileged, including but not limited to the privilege of fair competition.

To the extent Wilson alleges a claim for tortious interference, it is barred because the underlying contract was unconscionable.

To the extent Wilson alleges a claim for tortious interference, it is barred because AEW has no duty to contract with Wilson.

To the extent Wilson alleges a claim for conversion, such a claim is barred by abandonment.

To the extent Wilson alleges a claim for conversion, such a claim is barred by the non-existence of, failure to identify, or lack of value of the allegedly converted property.

To the extent Wilson alleges an entitlement to special damages, such a claim is barred by the failure to plead with particularity as required by Fed. R. Civ. P. 9.

Wilson’s claims are barred, in whole or in part, due to Wilson’s failure to mitigate its damages.

Wilson’s claims are barred, in whole or in part, because to the extent Wilson has suffered any damages, those damages were caused by his own actions or inactions, or the actions or inactions of third parties.

Wilson’s claims are barred, in whole or in part, by the doctrines of waiver, laches, estoppel, and unclean hands.

Wilson’s claims are barred, in whole or in part, by lack of consideration.

AEW reserves the right to amend this Answer and to raise any additional affirmative defenses not pleaded herein should it discover that such defenses are appropriate and/or available. WHEREFORE, having fully answered and stated affirmative defenses, AEW prays for judgment in its favor, for an award of attorneys’ fees and costs, and for such other further relief as this Court deems just and proper.”

The dismissal was without prejudice, which allowed Wilson to re-file the lawsuit. Therefore, he has re-filed that lawsuit to give it another try. We will have to see if he is successful in his endeavor, as WWE still has yet to give a reply as well.

What do you think of this bizarre lawsuit? Do you feel the lawsuit has merit? Let us know in the comments section below!

Subhojeet Mukherjee

Subhojeet is a professional wrestling fan for over 22 years. He got captivated by the sport during the Monday Night Wars and has a passion for it ever since. He also enjoys TV shows, movies, anime, novels and music, which broadens his perspective and appreciation for wrestling. He is a knowledgeable and respected voice in the industry.

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