This Week in ‘E – “Big” Legal Woes

WWE continues to get besieged by lawsuits, releases another small batch of talents and apparently has finally signed Dos Caras, Jr. to a contract.

Opening Witty Banter
Hello out there, I hope you are all doing better than I am right now. Other than that I have nothing funny, relevant or exciting to say here, so let’s just get on with the news.

Let’s take some ‘E…

The News of the Week
SoBe Entertainment slapped with WWE and Big Show in particular with a helluva lawsuit. Here are the details, according to PWInsider:

The lawsuit was filed by SoBe Entertainment International against Paul “Big Show” Wight, his wife Bess and World Wrestling Entertainment. SoBe Entertainment claims to have signed Wight to an exclusive contract with SoBe to “to act as a performer, entertainer, actor, boxer, wrestler, athlete and celebrity person for a five-year period covering March 1, 2007 through February 27, 2012.” They are seeking $15 million in damages and claim that when Wight returned to WWE in 2007 that the company has “tortuously interfered with the contractual relationship.” They also laid out the following:

– In 2007, SoBe met with Wight, his wife Bess and Hulk Hogan regarding him becoming a boxer.

– Wight promised to be “managed exclusively” by their organization if they would advance costs for his boxing training.

– They claim that in total they fronted the Wights $2 million between salary and an advance of $1 million for the purchase of a Miami, Florida home, feeling they would recoup the money from his boxing earnings. The Wights then apparently used the Miami property to escape back tax issues, attain a line of credit and then they say that he failed to execute a second mortgage, which was an agreement he had with the company.

– In November 2007 Wight states he will go back to WWE and will “no longer honor or otherwise fulfill his obligations under the contract”.

– They claim that the WWE angle with Floyd Mayweather, Jr. was based on the public knowledge that Wight was training for boxing.

– They sent a letter to WWE, claiming that WWE was interfering with SoBe’s contract with Wight, and requested that WWE cancel the WrestleMania bout with Mayweather.

– They claims that “WWE handsomely profited at the expense of SoBe” at WrestleMania XXIV, XXV and “at least seven other PPV events”.

– SoBe says that WWE is aware of the breach of contract, but chose to ignore it.

From Wight, SoBe is seeking the initial $2 million investment, for a lien to be placed on the Miami home, that it be sold in foreclosure and Sobe given the funds of the sale, and court costs. From WWE, Sobe is seeking lost profit damages, compensatory damages, and punitive damages and request a jury trial for the proceedings. Neither WWE nor Wight has responded yet.

I have a feeling this could be drug out for quite a while. We probably haven’t heard the last of this one by a long shot.

The legal trouble for WWE didn’t stop there as the details regarding Jody Hamilton and Deep South Wrestling’s case against WWE were released. Again, here are details thanks to PWInsider:

Both Joe Hamilton and Deep South were paid $80,000 a year to train developmental talent for WWE, and provide a TV outlet, which Deep South did provide.

– There are several claims of bullying by trainers of WWE developmental talents, to the point that DSW were required to begin filming the training sessions by WWE. But there was low morale from trainees due to injures during training.

– WWE was not happy that Deep South signed a TV deal with MavTV on their own, because WWE didn’t want their developmental product seen on a wide scale basis.

– Hamilton claims to have set up several events at Six Flags for The American Cancer Society and M.A.A.D.A. for the summer of 2007, with WWE talent set to appear on those events. Then four days before the events, WWE arrived (4.18.07) at the Deep South facilities to announce that the relationship between WWE and Deep South was finished. WWE personnel also arrived that day and removed wrestling rings, seating, computer hardware, software, and information belonging to DSW.

– Hamilton also claims that the deal between Deep South and WWE required 90-days notice before severing the deal. He also claims that WWE made every effort to make sure that he did not know about the end of the deal or that they were coming. Hamilton also says that WWE plans were to remove all personal and computer information without Deep South Staff there.

– DSW talent were transferred to other developmental systems and told not to have any further dealings with Hamilton or anyone from Deep South.

– Hamilton is claiming losses of nearly $400,000 due to having to cancel all of the summer bookings, as well as emotional distress. He claims that WWE intended to cause damages to Deep South. The lawsuits requests that both Hamilton and Deep South as a company recover the damages from the breach of contract by WWE, as well as any punitive damages that a jury may rule in favor of.

Merely on paper it sounds as if Hamilton has a decent case built up here, but I’m expecting it to be settled out of court in short fashion.

On June 19, World Wrestling Entertainment announced the releases of both Candice Michelle and Sim Snuka.

Neither release really comes as too big of a surprise. Michelle, a former WWE Women’s Champion, has been labeled as injury prone and hadn’t been inside the ring as a wrestler for months. She has done a lot of modeling and television work in the past so it is unknown whether she will continue in the wrestling business or not.

Sim Snuka, the son of legendary Superfly Jimmy Snuka, had been with company for many years and was a former WWE Tag Team Champion under the moniker “Deuce.” Only in late 2008 was he “outed” as the son of the Superfly, which led to his biggest on-screen push. Unfortunately his success was short-lived as he was booted from Randy Orton’s fledgling Legacy group in early 2009 and hadn’t been seen on TV since. WWE also largely blamed Snuka for the scary bump the Undertaker ended up taking at WrestleMania XXV when he dove out of the ring. Snuka of course was the cameraman who was supposed to catch him.

Also last week, WWE released developmental talent Joseph Canterbury, son of former WWF star Mark Canterbury. Canterbury stated the following about the release on his MySpace page.

“I was released by WWE last week. This has been the biggest and most rewarding experience in my life. Although I will no longer be under contract I plan to continue my training and work on the things I need to so I can be a better and more rounded athlete to hopefully return in the future. Thanks to everyone in the WWE, FCW and everyone who supported me.”

I honestly had no idea that a younger Cantebury was even on the roster.

This has been reported for seemingly years now, but apparently it is official that WWE has signed Dos Caras, Jr. to a three-year deal. The plan is for him to start as soon as possible. The interesting thing is that according to the deal Caras Jr. will be keeping the rights to his name and gimmick, but WWE will be allowed to use the rights during the time that he is signed with the company.

I really like the idea that he gets to keep his name and gimmick, but as I’ve said in the past, I’ll believe his debut when I finally see it.

Details have been announced for a “Best of SmackDown 1999 – 2009” three disc set. The discs will be basically will be a countdown of the top 100 moments in SD history.

I’m not going to include the entire list here, but looking at the rundown it looks like a pretty good representation and a few that judging by their titles I have no recollection of at all. I see that TLC III has a listing so I’m curious at how much of Benoit’s involvement will be shown in the clip as Benoit’s match with Austin in Edmonton and virtually the entire “SmackDown Six” era are ignored. But then again that could be just spite for Heyman as well.

Fox Business has an article up which states that WWE, USA Network, and GE (parent company of USA Network) could all be in trouble with the SEC for sending out a press release last week saying that RAW had been sold to Donald Trump.

Wow…they really felt that people were going to buy into the story of Trump buying Monday Night RAW. I guess it’s one thing to send out essentially a phony press release, but I can’t imagine anything really come of this.

The Road to…The Bash
World Heavyweight Championship
CM Punk (c) v. Jeff Hardy

WWE Championship
Triple H v. Randy Orton (c)

ECW Championship Scramble Match
Tommy Dreamer (c) v. Mark Henry v. Christian v. Finlay v. Jack Swagger

Intercontinental Championship versus Mysterio’s Mask
Rey Mysterio v. Chris Jericho (c)

Unified WWE Tag Team Championship
Carlito & Primo Colon (c) v. Legacy – Ted DiBiase & Cody Rhodes

WWE Women’s Championship
Melina (c) v. Michelle McCool

Wrestler of the Week
Week of June 15 – 21: Edge
For the second week in a row I have to give the nod to Edge once again. He was a participant in WWE’s two best matches of the week, first as part of the triple threat World Heavyweight Title match on RAW against CM Punk and Jeff Hardy, and then a victory over John Morrison on SmackDown in what may end up being more valuable for Morrison than Edge in a long run. There must been something in the water over there on SmackDown.

RAW’s On Tonight!
Tonight RAW comes live from Green Bay, Wisconsin, and will be the show’s first-ever commercial free broadcast. Plus RAW’s new “owner” Donald Trump will be live in attendance to shake up the show in the only way he can, I suppose. And in the night’s main event Triple H will challenge Randy Orton for the WWE Championship in the duo’s third Last Man Standing in as many years. I’m really having a sneaking suspicion we will see Trips walk out as Champion in order to justify another rematch between the two six days later at the Bash. Plus I’m sure there will be plenty of other stuff, but it’s Triple H, Donald Trump and commercial free. What more do you need?

On Last Week’s Episode…
ECW

RAW

How They Rated
Superstars (6.11.09) – .9

SmackDown! (6.12.09) – 1.8

A.M. RAW (6.14.09) – .9

RAW (6.15.09) – 3.6

ECW (6.16.09) – 1.1

This is Boring, What Else is There to Read?
Glazer breaks down Austin Aries’ potential Championsip contenders.

PC give his thoughts on the death of Misawa.

Wiswell also looks at where Aries goes as ROH World Champion.

For more relevant, interesting and exciting wrestling information from your truly, check out my gig as the Pro Wrestling Examiner over at Examiner.com.

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