What was The Wittenstein Lawsuit?


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As loyal readers of both WrestlingNews.net and WrestlingNewsWorld.com will know, today saw the end of what has become known as the Wittenstein Lawsuit. For people who aren’t sure what exactly this entailed, I will try and clear things up for you.

HOW DID IT ALL START?

Brian Wittenstein was employed by TNA Wrestling after many years working on the New York independent scene for many years. However, many people in both TNA and WWE claim that Wittenstein was notorious for having a big mouth and not knowing his place in the company. This led to TNA agreeing a severance package with Wittenstein on August 3rd, 2011.

As part of this severance package, Wittenstein agreed that he could not divulge or take any confidential TNA information. TNA claimed that Wittenstein, before he left, downloaded some information he was legally not allowed to. However, Wittenstein was allowed to work for WWE, again, only if he did not divulge information to his new employers.

WHEN DID WWE GET INVOLVED?

WWE hired Wittenstein, and soon after, Wittenstein sent WWE officials memorandums containing confidential TNA information, such as contract statuses. When the memorandums were received, WWE say that they immediately fired Wittenstein and informed TNA Wrestling.

At that time, it was no secret that Ric Flair was unhappy in TNA, and was actively seeking a return to WWE, with other TNA superstars in similar frames of mind.

HOW DID THE LAWSUIT COME ABOUT?

On May 7th, WWE Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs Scott Amann contacted TNA General Counsel Creede Williams to inform their competitors that Wittenstein had divulged information without the permission of WWE officials, or without the request of the WWE. He also informed TNA that WWE had information in both hard and electronic forms.

TNA claimed that WWE had known about the information three weeks earlier though, and when Amann was asked about the delay, he gave no answer. When TNA went on to contact Wittenstein, he admitted disclosing the information to WWE. TNA went on to claim that WWE had forced Mr. Wittenstein to disclose that information, and that their hand’s were ‘unclean’.

One thing that added to the doubt in TNA offices was the fact that on May 9th, Ric Flair attempted to end his TNA contract, claming he was on his way to WWE. It was around this time that Flair started to no show events.

On May 23rd 2012, TNA Wrestling filed a lawsuit in Nashville, Tennessee against both WWE and Brian Wittenstein.

When they filed the lawsuit, TNA stated, with regards to Flair that:

‘In order to injure TNA and gain a competitive advantage, WWE intentionally interfered with TNA’s contractual relationship with Ric Flair and maliciously used the trade secrets and confidential information provided by Wittenstein to approach Ric Flair’.

WWE were asked not to destroy any evidence under a $30,000 bond.

HOW THE LAWSUIT EFFECTED BOTH TNA AND WWE

A number of TNA superstars let their contracts come to an end, apparently due to interest from WWE. However, in order to allow themselves the best possible position in the lawsuit, WWE refrained from employing any TNA employees who were employed during the time Wittenstein worked for TNA. For months, rumours were rife that stars such as Matt Morgan, Velvet Sky and Alex Shelley would leave TNA and sign for the WWE, as well as Flair. There were even rumours and stories that Matt Morgan himself was behind the Revolution vignettes we saw in the summer (eventually used for the WWE 13 Video Game).

Eventually Morgan and Sky re-signed with TNA, but Shelley himself has gone to Japan to work for NJPW.

 

WHERE WE ARE TODAY

Today, TNA filed a motion for dismissal in a Nashville court, stating that both sides had reached terms, and that both sides had reached a settlement.

However, as I stated before, numerous stars that WWE were interested in have re-signed with TNA. Matt Morgan is now in a programme as the enforcer for Joey Ryan, with a vendetta against Hulk Hogan. Velvet Sky re-signed, and is now chasing the Knockout’s championship held by Tara.

Velvet Sky is the complication in this whole series of events. As I stated before, Alex Shelley is a superstar WWE are definitely interested in, and he is hoping to join with his Motor City Machine Gun Tag partner Chris Sabin, currently nursing a knee injury. Sabin however is currently dating Velvet Sky.

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Sabin is also still under TNA contract, so it remains to be seen how this will all play out.

It is also likely now that Ric Flair will sign some sort of permanent WWE contract in the near future, after his one off appearance fees over the past few weeks.

 

I hope this has been helpful for anyone not too sure what has been going on, and thanks for reading.

 


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