- The Associated Press has picked up on TNA’s lawsuit against WWE, so expect it to be popping up in the mainstream. Below is their article in its entirety:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Two giants in the wrestling world are getting ready to rumble – in a courtroom.
Nashville-based Total Nonstop Action Wrestling has sued World Wrestling Entertainment, accusing WWE of obtaining secret contract information in an attempt to poach TNA’s wrestlers.
TNA’s top wrestling talent includes veteran wrestler and actor Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair. The company says in the lawsuit that WWE appears to have already tried to lure Flair and is pursuing TNA’s other wrestlers.
An attorney for WWE denied the allegations. A message left for TNA’s corporate counsel on Friday was not immediately returned.
The lawsuit, which was filed in Nashville this week, claims that a former TNA employee leaked secret information to WWE, which included the terms of the contracts TNA has with its wrestlers.
Armed with the secret contract information, TNA says its Connecticut-based competitor is now in a position to steal its wrestlers by offering better deals.
“The disclosure exposes TNA to potential liability with respect to its contract – WWE knows the details of TNA’s contractual relationships with its wrestling talent, which could allow WWE to place itself in the right place, at the right time, with an offer to TNA’s talent at just the right place,” the lawsuit says.
Jerry McDevitt, WWE’s longtime attorney, said WWE has not tried to lure Flair or any other wrestlers under contract with TNA.
The lawsuit claims that former TNA employee Brian Wittenstein went to work for WWE and then leaked the information.
A message left at a phone number listed for Wittenstein in Nashville was not immediately returned Friday.
He signed a contract with TNA saying he would not disclose any of the company’s confidential information after his employment ended.
McDevitt said that WWE never asked Wittenstein to disclose the information and that the company fired him when he did. Furthermore, WWE told TNA officials about the breach and sent back the information Wittenstein leaked.
“To us, it’s no good deed goes unpunished kind of thing,” McDevitt said. “They sued us for doing the right thing.”
Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle has signed a restraining order barring WWE from using the information to solicit wrestlers from TNA and from interfering with any of its contracts. The order also bars WWE from destroying any of the information.
A hearing on the matter is set for June 11.
- Wrestling News World reader Jonathan Watson sent in the following:
Vince Russo gave a rare interview to Inside The Ropes this past Thursday (www.facebook.com/theinsidenetwork) where he talked about HBK costing Foley his main event at Mania in 99, The wrestling business today being vanilla, why he feels title belts are props, why he left TNA and why the only time he was successful was in the WWF. Here are the highlights….
How he got his start in WWF
- I was doing a wrestling radio show in Long Island, New York which I was Funding with my own money. I started running out of money. I wrote a letter to Linda McMahon, knowing if I wrote to Vince he probably wouldn’t answer it. I wrote a letter to Linda McMahon introducing myself, telling her what I was doing and saying I’d love an opportunity in the World Wrestling Federation at that time.
WWF being stuck in same rut as 1995
- Here we are, twenty years later almost and in my opinion the wrestling business is at the same exact spot. In my opinion at that time WWE was about ten years behind with what was going on in society at that time. I feel here we are in 2012, and I feel that the wrestling industry is at the same exact place, I think time has passed them by. They’ve become irrelevant. There’s nobody willing to make the changes that need to be made to bring the product up to speed.
What led to Vince going with the Attitude idea and pushing the envelope
- I remember it was a RAW where it was being simulcasted they were shooting in the States and overseas. The rating came in the next day and it was rock bottom, it was maybe a 2.1, I mean it was really really bad. I went into work the next day and literally as soon as I sat down at my desk, Vince’s assistant called me that he wanted to see me. I went up to Vince’s office, he had all his key people in the room. He had the RAW magazine in his hand. I was worried, I was ready to be fired. He took that RAW magazine and slammed it down on the desk and said “this is what the show need to be” I was absolutely shocked. I thought it was going the other way. I had no dream that it was going to go that way.
Was the original plan for WrestleMania XV to be triple threat Austin/Rock/Foley
- Absolutely. That’s the way it was booked but someone who wasn’t involved had a very different opinion about it and they kinda got in Vince’s ear and Austin’s ear and next thing I know Mick was out the picture, I wasn’t happy about it, I thought Mick deserved it, but you do what the boss tells you so we made the change. Just to clarify, was it Shawn Michaels that was in Austin and Vince’s ear – Could have been…
Did Ferrara’s Oklahoma gimmick go too far?
- Absolutely. There’s no question about it. But that’s where it was at the time. I look at that now and I think ‘how could you do that?’ Thankfully I’ve had probably 3 or 4 conversations with JR since, I was able to apologise and get it all off my chest. Being 51, looking back at that now, yeah it was wrong.
Seeing title belts as props
- The first time I saw wrestling, it was clear to me it was entertainment. I knew it wasn’t real. The characters were great, over the top. The storylines were straight out of soap opera digest. To me, it was entertainment and that’s why it always was. You have this title belt, it’s not real, these matches aren’t real, nobody is winning this belt. We’re writing it that way. So you use that belt as part of the entertainment. I feel that way to this day. When I saw Capt Lou Albano and the Valiants, I got it, I understood what it was. That was always my philosophy.
Why have TNA struggles to create their own brand name stars?
- Because I think there’s a lack of patience. Ratings don’t happen overnight. Ratings happen when you commit to something and you stay the course. That’s why the attitude era worked. Vince stuck with it, we didn’t let the rating affect us on a weekly basis, we rode it out. Unfortunately, that was never the mindset at TNA. There was a lot of emphasis on the rating week to week, then creative is being directed to jump all over the place. It might take a year, but if you stay with it and believe in it, it’s going to work. It’s not going to work if every 6 weeks or 2 months you’re changing course and going in a different direction. I feel TNA have been guilty of that for a very long time.
Russo, Bischoff and Hogan in TNA together – Why didn’t it work?
-It’s simple, you can’t have these three strong personalities in opinions working together, you can’t. I worked very peacefully with Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff. In working together like that, everyone really trying hard to get along and wanting to get along, what each person is doing, is compromising your ideas and beliefs so everyone gets along. In my opinion its not a good was to business. There needs to be one boss, laying out the direction. If it’s working great, if it’s not, get rid of him and bring the next guy in. I’m a firm believer in that. In my opinion all these cooks in the kitchen, trying to get along, you end up with a product that’s very vanilla.
Was it the “too many cooks in the kitchen” that led you to leave TNA?
- Yeah it was. It was kinda like, OK it was, me, Eric and Hulk, that’s cool. Then you’re gonna bring in Bruce Pritchard. It gets to a point where it’s too much. It gets to a point where I feel like I’m wasting your time and I’m wasting my time because I can’t be the real Vince Russo. You’re not getting what you paid for. Once another chef was added to that kitchen, I just took a step back, and for the good of the company somebody had to bow out and I decided it would be me.
Anything he wanted to do in TNA that he couldn’t?
- To be me. Not compromise myself. The only time in my career that I was successful was in the WWF. Vince McMahon gave me the ball and he let me run with it. There were no committees. There was no 6 other peoples opinions. He trusted me, he gave me the ball. That was the only time in my career that I was allowed to work that way. I know what kind of environment I need to be put in to be successful. Committees in the wrestling business, do not work. Someone need to show me a committee in the last 15 years that worked. You need to have a head writer, let him bring in his crew, if they run with it and it’s a pass great, if they fail, get rid of them. Anything else is going to be vanilla and is going to be a so-so product which is what you’re seeing now in the wrestling business and not just in TNA.
Is bad relationship with Jim Cornette due to different philosophies?
It definitely is. The relationship isn’t bad on both parts. I don’t have a problem in the world with him. I don’t bad mouth him, I never have. It lies with him, not with me. All it is, is different philosophies. I think for some reason Jim has taken it to the extreme. That’s his deal, that’s not mine.
Quick Fire thoughts:
Hulk Hogan – Legend. He is the guy.
Ric Flair – I think of wrestling
Sting – Out of those, I had the closest relationship with him, I
think of gentleman.
Dixie Carter – Confused
Jim Cornette – Great wrestling mind
Vince McMahon – The creator
- Don West has informed TNA Wrestling that he plans to leave the company. West has been with TNA since the company’s inception in 2002 and worked as a color commentator alongside Mike Tenay until August 2009 when he was moved his new work in merchandise. He has a website located at WildWestDeals.com which he will continue to maintain.
- Matt Morgan, who is reportedly through his TNA contract, posted the following on Twitter when asked if he would be at Thursday’s live Impact Wrestling:
— Matt Morgan (@Tnamattmorgan) May 29, 2012
- Wrestling News World reader Fernando sent word that TNA has removed Alex Shelley’s profile from their official website. As we previously reported, Shelley’s contract came up and he chose not to re-sign.
- TNA issued the following press release today:
THE NEXT EVOLUTION OF PRO WRESTLING ON TV STARTS THURSDAY MAY 31st ON TNA IMPACT WRESTLING LIVE ON SPIKE TV
TUNE IN AT NEW TIME SLOT OF 8:00p.m./ET FOR LIVE ACTION AND MUCH MORE
NASHVILLE, TN (May 30, 2012)– TNA IMPACT WRESTLING announced today that the highly-rated weekly series will be making changes to its programming to include a hybrid of reality and explosive action each Thursday, live on SPIKE TV at 8:00pm/ ET. The reality elements and production technique represent the most significant evolution in this genre in more than 15 years.
“We took a step back to look at our product with fresh eyes,” says TNA IMPACT WRESTLING President Dixie Carter. “People watch TV differently today than before, and the wrestling format itself has become stale. What happens backstage, in the office and on the road is so entertaining that we decided it was time to pull the curtain way back and give viewers a peek at that world as well. Over the next few weeks and months, viewers will continue to see our show evolve as we expose more real aspects of our business that have always been sacred,” she continued.
This announcement is a key component in the continued growth of the TNA IMPACT WRESTLING brand that is bringing game-changing programming to the world of professional wrestling. Cameras will be everywhere. Meetings will be shot in real time and unscripted as we capture moments; not produced segments. Access to conversations and vantage points that have never been seen before, such as production meetings, talent evaluations and post match critiques, will be revealed. Combined with an emphasis on story structure, long term character and story development, these changes will help IMPACT WRESTLING pioneer the next generation of wrestling entertainment programming.
Going live allows IMPACT WRESTLING a deeper connection with our audience via social media. Starting with the May 31st broadcast, IMPACT WRESTLING will be the most socially interactive television program in the history of professional wrestling. Viewers will have a variety of unique opportunities to participate and influence certain elements of the program through various social media platforms. Also, backstage will take center stage, as fans will have access to live interviews being conducted featured on www.impactwrestling.com.
About IMPACT WRESTLING IMPACT WRESTLING is the world’s most innovative experience in professional wrestling, airing in over 120 countries worldwide. Join Hulk Hogan, Rob Van Dam, “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles, Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle, Sting, Bobby Roode, Velvet Sky, Brooke Hogan, the lovely and lethal TNA Knockouts and the no-limits X-Division for “IMPACT WRESTLING” every Thursday night LIVE at 8:00 pm ET on SPIKE. For more information on IMPACT WRESTLING, visit www.IMPACTWRESTLING.com. TNA Entertainment, LLC is a privately held company headquartered in Nashville, Tenn.
- TNA Champion Bobby Roode posted the following on Twitter:
Best of luck to Alex Shelley, sad to see u go. BEer Money vs MCMG best of 5……never be forgotten! See u down the road.
— Bobby Roode (@REALBobbyRoode) May 30, 2012
- Dixie Carter was on a conference call today to promote Impact Wrestling airing live in the 8 PM timeslot on Spike TV tomorrow night. Below are the highlights:
- Dixie said Brooke Hogan will be not wrestling but is there to help get some attention on the product.
- She doesn’t feel the company needs to do 12 pay-per-views a year and TNA is currently negotiating their pay-per-view contracts. When asked about the ideal number of pay-per-views, she said six to eight is a possibility.
- Dixie said it was her that approached Spike TV about the idea of going live every week during the summer.
- She said the workers prefer the four sided ring and as MMA gets more popular, there’s some confusion between the two. There is still a possibility they bring back the 6-sided ring for special events.
- Jimmy Jay will replace the departing Don West.
- A “major announcement” for tomorrow’s Impact was hyped.
- Dixie said TNA would be making an announcement regarding the location of Bound for Glory 2012 within the next few weeks.
- Dixie said they are concerned about making all 12 weeks this summer special and they haven’t talked to Spike TV about going live beyond those dates.
- Kurt Angle wrote to one of his Twitter followers last night that he will not wrestle past 46-years-old. The following is from his official Twitter account:
@y2jackbringit: I Will Not Wrestle Past 46 Yrs Old. I Love U AllGOD Bless.
— Kurt Angle (@RealKurtAngle) May 31, 2012
Angle, who is currently 43-years-old, signed a three-year contract with TNA Wrestling on September 8, 2011.
- Universal Studios has updated the Impact Wrestling taping schedule to reflect the show going live for twelve weeks this summer. There are no dates scheduled after August 23, 2012 as the company will reevaluate whether or not to go back to taping earlier in the week or if they will come to an agreement with Spike TV to go live on a more permanent basis. Click here to view the full schedule.
- Former WWE star Cliff Compton, formerly known as Domino, is backstage at tonight’s Impact Wrestling taping from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
- TNA will stream their Impact Wrestling Post Show live tonight on YouTube at the conclusion of tonight’s show. The stream will begin at 10 PM EDT at this link.
- TNA Champion Bobby Roode will face Sting for the title in the main event at TNA Slammiversary.
- TNA President Dixie Carter announced on tonight’s live Impact Wrestling that TNA will introduce their own Hall of Fame. The first inductee will be inducted at Slammiversary.
- A planned segment with Brooke Hogan and the TNA Knockouts was cut from last night’s live Impact Wrestling. Mickie James, who had teased the segment on Twitter, later offered an apology for not appearing:
I am so sorry gang. Seems I have lied. I assure you not purposely! I will not be on the show tonight. Watching it live backstage. Enjoy!
— Mickie James (@MickieJames) May 31, 2012
- Neither Jeff Jarrett nor his wife Karen were backstage at last night’s live Impact Wrestling taping from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.