MLW (Major League Wrestling) previously filed an antitrust lawsuit against the WWE, claiming that the promotion violated the Sherman Antitrust Act in the U.S. market for pro wrestling content, where they attempted to undermine the competition in regards to the pursuit of media distribution deals of Major League Wrestling and WWE even tried to hire contracted talent away from the company.
According to MLW, WWE’s deal with Peacock contributes to their antitrust case against the WWE because it keeps non-WWE wrestling content off of the service, including REELZ and that their MLW Underground program was not allowed to air as well nor be promoted on the service. MLW also said that the WWE has made attempts via the promotion’s Chief Content Officer and Head of Creative Paul “Triple H” Levesque to prevent the ROH G1 Supercard Event from taking place at Madison Square Garden in 2018.
Major League Wrestling would then file their amended lawsuit in March 2023, which the WWE filed their response to last Monday before the United States District Court, Northern Division of California, San Jose, where they denied any wrongdoing on their part. WWE’s filing had a total of 25 pages, where the company also listed several potential defenses.
You can check out the full filing below:
“WWE asserts the following affirmative defenses on information and belief. In doing so, WWE does not assume any burden of proof, persuasion, or production on such defenses where such burden would otherwise fall on MLW. Additionally, WWE’s affirmative defenses are asserted in the alternative, and none of them constitute an admission of liability or that MLW is entitled to any relief.
The First Amended Lawsuit (FAC) fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
MLW’s claims are barred because MLW lacks antitrust injury or injury in fact.
MLW’s equitable claims are barred, in whole or in part, by the doctrines of unclean hands and in pari delicto.
MLW’s equitable claims are barred, in whole or in part, based on the doctrines of estoppel, laches, and waiver, as MLW’s claims are based, in part, on actions and events spanning decades.
MLW’s claims are barred, in whole or in part, because it does not have standing to raise those claims.
MLW’s claims are barred, in whole or in part, because WWE’s actions were authorized or permitted under state and/or federal law.
If and to the extent that MLW has been damaged, which WWE denies, MLW, by the exercise of reasonable diligence, could have mitigated its damages but did not and is therefore barred from recovery. Alternatively, any damages sustained by MLW, which WWE denies, must be reduced by the amount that such damages would have been reduced had MLW exercised reasonable diligence in mitigating its damages.
MLW’s claims are barred, in whole or in part, because, to the extent that MLW suffered any injury or incurred any damages as alleged in the FAC, which WWE denies, WWE’s alleged conduct was not the actual or proximate cause of any injury or damage to MLW.
MLW’s claims are barred, in whole or in part, because, to the extent that MLW suffered any injury or incurred any damages as alleged in the FAC, which WWE denies, any such injury or damage was caused and brought about by the acts, conduct, or omissions of individuals or entities other than WWE, and, as such, any recovery herein should be precluded or diminished in proportion to the amount of fault attributable to such other individuals or entities.
MLW’s claims are barred, in whole or in part, because, to the extent MLW suffered any injury or incurred any damages as alleged in the FAC, which WWE denies, any such injury or damage was caused and brought about by intervening or superseding events, factors, occurrences, conditions, or acts of others, including forces in the marketplace, and not by the alleged wrongful conduct on the part of WWE.
MLW’s equitable claims are barred, in whole or in part, because any recovery would result in unjust enrichment to MLW.
MLW’s claims for equitable relief are barred because MLW has an adequate remedy at law.
MLW’s claims are barred, in whole or in part, because WWE had legitimate business and/or economic justifications for the conduct at issue.
Reservation of Rights
WWE reserves the right to assert additional affirmative defenses as they become available. WWE has insufficient knowledge or information upon which to form a basis as to whether it may have additional, as yet unstated, separate defenses available. WWE reserves the right to amend this Answer to add, supplement, or modify defenses based on legal theories that may be or will be divulged through clarification, through discovery, or through further factual or legal analysis of MLW’s allegations, contentions, and positions in this litigation.”