WWE had until Monday to give their arguments against MLW’s response to WWE’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit against them before the United States District Court, Northern District of California.
As previously noted, MLW filed a lawsuit in January where they alleged that WWE interfered with potential streaming/television deals with Tubi and Vice TV.
On March 15, WWE originally filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit and MLW argued last month that it should go forward. WWE filed a 28-page response to MLW’s latest response on May 16. Here is a breakdown of what WWE argued, courtesy of PWinsider.com:
WWE argued MLW has failed to allege a plausible claim against WWE nor provided any direct or circumstantial evidence of WWE having “Monopoly Power”, and has not plausibly alleged exclusionary conduct on WWE’s part. Their claim of WWE having Intentional interference with Contracts is “implausible and unsupported with factual allegations” and their claims lack standing to bring an Unfair Competition Law (UCL) Claim in the State of California.
WWE stated MLW’s various state law claims should be dismissed for lack of diversity and/or supplemental jurisdiction.
WWE argued that MLW’s market definition of what professional wrestling is “remains factually unsupported.” They also argued that MLW’s product market definition consists of a conclusory statement that the relevant market is the national market for the sale of broadcasting wrestling programs to networks or streaming services.
WWE also argued that while MLW has failed to prove factually that WWE controls 85% of the pro wrestling industry as they have alleged. WWE claimed that MLW argued that a previous legal case MLW was using to support their own claims (Facebook vs. Reveal Chat Holdco LLC), but now MLW is trying to pivot because it wouldn’t help their case.
WWE claimed that “MLW fails to plead facts demonstrating how an alleged market share of 85% allows WWE to dictate prices to networks, cable, and streaming services or to control what programming they purchase. Without such allegations, the claim is deficient.”
WWE argued that in the lawsuit, MLW did not “alleged exclusive contracts” and cited that, “MLW argues, again without a modicum of support in its Complaint, that WWE has exclusive contracts with NBCUniversal and Fox, and that these contracts prevent MLW or other wrestling promotions from selling broadcast rights to two of the yet-to-be-alleged number of networks, cable, and streaming services. This reframing of the Complaint completely fails. The Complaint itself contains no allegation about WWE’s use of exclusive contracts or de facto exclusive contracts with NBCUniversal or Fox. Further, MLW failed to allege that these exclusive contracts resulted in substantial foreclosure or foreclosure from “key” purchasers of broadcast rights. Indeed, the words “substantial”, “foreclosure”, or “key” fail to appear at any point in MLW’s Complaint.”
WWE argued MLW never alleged any facts supporting that FOX, NBCUniversal, VICE, or Tubi are necessary purchasers of broadcast rights. WWE argued that MLW has not “plausibly alleged other exclusionary conduct” in addition to MLW failing to plead an “Antitrust Injury” in their lawsuit.
WWE stated, “MLW alleges inadequate facts about WWE’s purported interference with the Tubi contract to plead intentional interference. MLW failed to allege who at Tubi spoke to Ms. McMahon, what Ms. McMahon said to force Tubi to terminate its contract with MLW, or how frequently Ms. McMahon spoke to unnamed individuals at Tubi. As WWE noted previously, MLW also alleged that it received a letter terminating its contract with Tubi but it failed to plead the letter’s contents or the grounds for termination.”
Also, WWE argued what Tubi told MLW as to why the deal didn’t happen is needed to understand the complete situation and that unless that termination letter is related to WWE, there’s no direct link that can be proven legally.