WWE has disputed the allegations (Picture: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Major League Wrestling, a smaller promotion based in the US, has accused both WWE and chief executive Vince McMahon of threatening broadcast partners to discourage them from doing business with them.
In a press release, the company claimed the sports entertainment juggernaut has made ‘ongoing attempts to undermine competition in and monopolise the professional wrestling market by interfering in MLW’s contracts and business prospects’.
MLW CEO Court Bauer said in a 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 behaviour has to stop.’
The company claims the market leader has ‘pressured third parties to abandon contracts and prospective relationships with MLW’.
WWE boss Vince McMahon hasn’t been named as a defendant (Picture: WWE)
They allege that WWE have disrupted ‘every level of MLW’s business’, while referencing its axed deal with streaming platform Tubi.
The service is owned by Fox, which is one of WWE’s two major TV partners in the United States as the home of its SmackDown brand.
It’s also claimed the company tried to derail a proposed relationship between MLW and Vice TV.
The press release adds: ‘A then-WWE executive warned Vice TV that WWE owner Vince McMahon would be “pissed” that Vice TV was airing MLW programes, and that Vice TV should stop working with MLW.’
MLW also alleges that WWE aired footage of an MLW star during a broadcast without any authorisation, while also encouraging MLW talent to breach contracts by disclosing confidential information.
MLW is seeking unspecified triple and other damages.
WWE has responded to the lawsuit to dispute the allegations, and said in a statement: ‘WWE believes these claims have no merit and intends to vigorously defend itself against them.’