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May 17, 2022

WWE Files New Argument Against MLW Antitrust Lawsuit

WWE filed another argument for a court to dismiss the antitrust lawsuit brought against the company by Major League Wrestling (MLW), according to a report by PWInsider.

World Wrestling Entertainment filed its first motion to dismiss the lawsuit in March, and MLW argued against the motion in April. In response, this latest filing by WWE argues that MLW has failed to provide any evidence that WWE has “monopoly power” over the professional wrestling industry. It also states the allegation that WWE interfered with MLW’s contract negotiations is not supported by facts.

An excerpt from WWE’s court filing reads:

“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.

MLW originally filed its lawsuit in January, alleging WWE’s “ongoing attempts to undermine competition in and monopolize the professional wrestling market by interfering with MLW’s contracts and business prospects.” Part of WWE’s most recent argument against MLW’s monopoly claim is that WWE is just one of a vast amount of programming options available to its broadcast partners.

WWE vs. AEW: Analyzing the top wrestling companies’ live-event experience

WWE Issues Statement On Sasha Banks and Naomi Walking Out Of RAW

WWE has issued the following strongly-worded statement on the Naomi and Sasha Banks walking out of Monday's WWE RAW broadcast:

“When Sasha Banks and Naomi arrived at the arena this afternoon, they were informed of their participation in the main event of tonight’s Monday Night Raw. During the broadcast, they walked into WWE Head of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis’ office with their suitcases in hand, placed their tag team championship belts on his desk and walked out.

They claimed they weren’t respected enough as tag team champions. And even though they had eight hours to rehearse and construct their match, they claimed they were uncomfortable in the ring with two of their opponents – even though they’d had matches with those individuals in the past with no consequence.

Monday Night Raw is a scripted live TV show, whose characters are expected to perform the requirements of their contract. We regret we were unable to deliver, as advertised, tonight’s main event.”

Sasha Banks And Naomi Walk Out Of WWE RAW Mid-Show

Reports from PWInsider reveal that Banks reportedly went into Vince McMahon's office and raised concerns about how the booking was set to go down concerning The 6-Pack Challenge that was announced at the top of the show.

After McMahon rejected Sasha's concerns, Banks stormed out of the arena with Naomi.

The report reads:

The word making the rounds backstage at the taping is that Sasha Banks took issue with some of the planned creative for the original main event, a Raw Six Pack Challenge to determine Bianca Belair's next challenger at Hell in A Cell. Banks had a meeting with Vince McMahon and the belief among those we've heard from is that when McMahon didn't choose to change direction on the plans, Banks wouldn't back down on her issues and made the decision to leave the taping.

WWE reportedly shot several new segments with Adam Pearce and Becky Lynch to instead set up Asuka vs. Lynch as the new main event. Corey Graves officially addressed the situation on commentary, stating the duo of Sasha and Naomi had "unprofessionally left the arena" which is being viewed as a direct line from Vince McMahon who is known not to take too kindly to talent who act in this manner.

Banks also reportedly unfollowed a number of WWE Superstars and Vince McMahon on Twitter recently.

This Day In Wrestling History

Bruno Sammartino defeats Buddy Rogers for the (WWWF)WWE Championship at Madison Square Garden.

May 17, 1963

Vince McMahon Sr. died of cancer at 69.

May 17, 1984

Marty Jannetty defeated Shawn Michaels for the WWF(E) Intercontinental title.

May 17, 1993

"British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith died of a heart attack at 39.

May 17, 2002

May 14, 2022

WWE Will Have Major Presence At Upcoming NBCU And FOX Advertiser Presentations

According to Deadline, WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns and RAW Women’s Champion Bianca Belair headline a list of major WWE stars that’ll speak at the upcoming NBCUniversal and FOX advertisers presentation.

The NBCU presentation, set for Monday, May 16 will feature RAW Women’s Champion Bianca Belair as well as former WWE Champion, The Miz, who will both speak at the event. NBCU’s presentation is set to emanate from Radio City Music Hall in New York, New York.

FOX’s presentation will also take place on Monday, May 16, but will take place at Skylight on Vesey in New York, New York. It will feature WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns and former SmackDown Women’s Champion, Charlotte Flair.

On May 5, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon, as well as Chief Revenue Officer/President Nick Khan, Chief Financial Officer Frank A. Riddick, and the company’s Senior Vice President and Head of Investor Relations Seth Zaslow hosted WWE’s First Quarter of 2022 Earnings Call. The company reported a quarterly record of $333.4 million in revenue and announced that WrestleMania 38 generated 2.2 billion social media interactions, which was more than the 1.8 billion impressions that this past February’s Super Bowl LVI generated.

May 13, 2022

WWE NXT Reportedly Set To Resume Touring

It was reported via Wrestling Observer Radio how there have been talks of NXT resuming a touring schedule of live events, and now POST Wrestling’s John Pollock reports that a schedule has been put together.

The NXT brand is set to resume non-televised live events in the state of Florida beginning in June.

NXT has not held any non-televised live events since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020. At one point NXT had two groups touring, one for the state of Florida, and another in various states across the country.

The current plan is for the NXT roster to tour just the state of Florida beginning next month, but it’s possible that they resume the NXT Road Trip tour across the country in the near future.

WWE To Unveil Second “NEXT IN LINE™” Class At Inaugrual NIL Summit In June

WWE will announce the second class of athletes entering its “Next In Line” (NIL) program at the inaugural NIL Summit on Monday, June 13. The class of 15 athletes will be in attendance and unveiled live during the NIL Awards ceremony at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

WWE will join Meta, Wasserman and Invesco QQQ and others as founding Partners of the inaugural NIL Summit and will also serve as the exclusive Presenting Partner for the Breakthrough Athlete of the Year Award. Additionally, WWE is nominated for the Brand of the Year Award which recognizes creative excellence by a brand or organization for collaboration with a student-athlete.

Four of the 16 initial members of WWE’s “Next In Line” program are nominated for awards including Olympic gold medalist Gable Steveson (University of Minnesota) for Male Athlete of the Year, Haley & Hanna Cavinder (University of Miami) for Female Athlete of the Year and Jon Seaton (Elon University) for the Hustle Award.

“We are excited to unveil our next class of NIL athletes at the inaugural NIL Summit which brings together the brightest minds across this emerging industry for the first time,” said Paul Levesque, WWE Executive Vice President, Global Talent Strategy and Development. “WWE’s ‘Next In Line’ program has already proven to be transformational for our talent pipeline. We have forged many incredible partnerships with student athletes during the first six months of the program and look forward to ushering in the next wave of talent.”

WWE corporate

May 11, 2022

WWE looks to boost its sponsorship revenue as live events return and a key media deal expires

April 30, 2022

WWE Releases 10 NXT Superstars

WWE released several NXT talents:

* Dexter Lumis
* Malcolm Bivens
* Dakota Kai
* Harland
* Persia Pirotta
* Raelyn Divine
* Draco Anthony
* Vish Kanya
* Mila Malani
* Blair Baldwin

April 18, 2022

Triple H Addresses WWE NXT Changes, Competition From AEW, Wrestlers Jumping Ship, More

During an interview with The Athletic, Triple H discussed the recent changes to the WWE NXT brand to NXT 2.0, and the new directive to hire hiring younger talent.

On hiring college athletes and younger talent:

“It always bothered me, like, (to get into wrestling in the past) you’ve almost got to be someone with nothing else going on or can’t take no for an answer and dig and dig and dig. But that pool is so small, people trying to get into this business. As I met more people, and you become savvy to the world of athletes, you realize the NFL is letting go 500 players a year. … You look at that massive pool of incredible athletes (from all sports). If you take that pool and 10 or 5 percent have big personalities that would be good for your business, you’re talking about a talent pool that’s 1,000 times bigger than right now.”

On the change to NXT 2.0:

“There was this point where it was on the (WWE) Network, had this cult following, and we needed to get on television. How do we do that? We need more experience, need to professionalize this a little bit to make the product to where fans want to see that. We got them to that place. The pandemic (messed) it up a little bit because it was right when we went on TV and we had to shift our focus, doing it in front of no people. It completely altered what we were doing. We couldn’t recruit or train talent for almost two years. … But the show stayed. Then we said, OK, let’s reboot it and go back to what we originally were. Some of these people won’t be ready for television, but we’re gonna put them on television, and we believe the audience is invested enough that the numbers might come down, but a core group of them will stay, and now you’re creating fresh stars all the time. That’s where we are now. The numbers have stabilized.

People like Bron Breakker, he’s been training for a year. Half the women, they’ve been here a year maybe. There’s a lot that’s just so fresh and new. People used to say the constant churn of NXT was a negative. The churn is what’s great about it. The people here now, hopefully a year and a half from now, none of them are even in NXT anymore, and the ones that make it will be on to “Raw” and “SmackDown. That’s the magic. It truly is the developmental league, the college football, Triple-A baseball. Yeah, they’re not all quite ready to be in that major-league role yet, but you’re discovering them before they become household names. We were talking about this shift anyway. That’s where we were headed. It happened at a period of time where I had to leave for a bit. Luckily, Shawn (Michaels) had been doing it with me all that time, so it was a seamless thing. I stepped out, did what I needed to do, but that team has killed it. They’ve really created a show where you can really say that’s the next generation of stars.”

On competition with AEW:

“As far as the competition aspect goes, it’s great. It makes everybody sharper. You get lazy if you’re all there and everybody goes about their business. The end of the day, it’ll make us better, and we’ll all be better for it. All those things have forced us to be in a better place right now. Not that we wouldn’t have gotten there anyway, but we had to do it quicker in some manner. That’s an important piece of it, right? As long as there aren’t things hurting the business overall, I think any of that stuff is good. If you’re a 6-year-old kid, you turn on the TV, wrestling is on and you like it. Now you’re caught up in it. Then you start sampling all of it. You get to where you’re a huge fan. That’s the money. There’s room for everybody to do it. It’s like saying the USFL or XFL is starting up and the NFL is panicking about market share. It’s just going to increase people’s love for football. If you love football that much, you’ll watch all of the football, and it’s great. But the NFL is not sweating that.”

On former NXT wrestlers in AEW:

“I like all those guys. They helped us get where we needed to get, and I’m thankful for it. The truth is there was a period of time where we were trying to build NXT. We built NXT. Then we were trying to build a brand that could get a television show and sustain it. All those names helped us get there. Whether anybody believed or not they fit on “Raw” or “SmackDown,” those aren’t necessarily my decisions solely, and they’re Vince’s (McMahon) decisions and fans’ decisions; and then, can we continue to do business with them? If they have great gigs, I’m happy for them. I stay in touch with almost all of them. I like to think they came into us here, we taught them a lot, got them to (a higher level) where they learned how to do television, how to be professionals and all that to be successful there. At some point, they might come back with us, or they might never because they don’t fit our brand as well, but that’s OK. They got us to certain places, and I’m thankful for that, and they’re thankful for that, and they’re off to different things. But that doesn’t stop the train. People leave football teams, move to different teams all the time, and it’s great.”

April 6, 2022

The Rock Debuts New XFL Logo And Vision

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Oderint Dum Metuant: Let Them Hate As Long As They Fear