In January, MLW filed an anti-trust lawsuit against WWE and claimed that there are “ongoing attempts to undermine competition in and monopolize the professional wrestling market by interfering with MLW’s contracts and business prospects.”
On Wednesday, WWE filed a 35-page motion to dismiss the lawsuit before the United States District Court, Northern District of California. WWE cited the success of AEW and here is an excerpt from the motion via PWInsider.com…
AEW’s success further undercuts MLW’s unsupported assertion that substantial barriers to entry exist. The complaint alleges that WWE’s popularity has “declined” over the last five years. It goes on to say that, during the same period, AEW entered the proposed market and successfully sold broadcast rights to WarnerMedia. Subsequently, AEW managed to capture an average 2020 rating of 0.344 compared to WWE Raw’s 0.5075 in the key 18-to-49 demographic. This successful entry and expansion refutes the existence of substantial barriers to entry.
Dave Meltzer noted that WWE brought up the October 15th 2021 episode of WWE Smackdown going head-to-head with AEW Rampage for 30 minutes. Rampage beat Smackdown in the 18-49 male demo 0.34 to 0.32 and Rampage also beat Smackdown in the 18-34 demo 0.17 to 0.15. Meltzer wrote the following…
“In the WWE’s response to the MLW lawsuit, besides the written response they provided an exhibit. The exhibit was the October 18, 2021 issue of the Observer that covered WWE losing the 30 minutes head-to-head with AEW as evidence they weren’t a dominant monopoly.”
In the WWE's response to the MLW lawsuit, besides the written response they provided an exhibit. The exhibit was the October 18, 2021 issue of the Observer that covered WWE losing the 30 minutes head-to-head with AEW as evidence they weren't a dominant monopoly.
— Dave Meltzer (@davemeltzerWON) March 16, 2022