MLW has been a promotion on the upward trend over the past few years, but every time they seem to have secured a steady TV broadcast deal, the rug gets pulled out from under them and it doesn't come to fruition. According to a new lawsuit filed by the wrestling promotion, it's the doing of the WWE and they're suing Vince McMahon's empire for violating antitrust laws and monopolizing the industry.
MLW filed the lawsuit in California Federal Court yesterday and in it, they say WWE has directly interfered with potential TV deals they had set up in an effort to keep any potential rival promotion off of a major TV network. Former WWE Writer and MLW Founder & CEO Court Bauer elaborated on the lawsuit in the following statement:
"WWE has been wrongfully depriving its competitors of critical opportunities for many years, but its latest conduct has been even more unconscionable. I think we speak for the rest of the professional wrestling world when we say that this anti-competitive behavior has to stop."
The lawsuit was prompted by two different occurrences in which MLW claims WWE interfered to cost them a deal with a TV network. One involved an agreement this past July between MLW and streaming service Tubi, where they allege WWE put pressure on Fox, who owns Tubi, to not go through with the deal, or they would pull WWE SmackDown from the network where it airs live on Friday nights.
The second incident cited involves Vice TV (who happens to air the very popular wrestling docuseries Dark Side of the Ring), where MLW claims in the lawsuit that WWE Senior Vice President Susan Levison personally stepped in and "warned VICE to stop airing MLW programs, saying that Vince McMahon was 'pissed' that VICE was airing MLW content and wanted VICE to stop doing so." It further claims that when a Vice TV executive warned Levison that such a threat was illegal, Levison retorted that she couldn't control McMahon.
WWE has responded to the lawsuit, saying in a statement, "WWE believes these claims have no merit and intends to vigorously defend itself against them."