It all started when Memphis Wrestling promoter hired Hulk Hogan to work on the same wrestling card as Jerry “The King” Lawler. Although Lawler is under contract to WWE, he had regularly worked for Maclin’s Memphis Wrestling.
Lawler and Hogan were both booked to work on a huge show Maclin had planned for April, 2006, but then WWE forbade Lawler from working on the show, because Hogan would be on the same show. Maclin ended up hiring Paul Wight, who had wrestled for WWE as “Big Show.” Wight appeared at a press conference and renounced his WWE “slave name” and announced he would be known as Paul “Great” Wight.
The Memphis Daily News reported the Corey Maclin recently filed a claim for damages in Shelby County Circuit Court against WWE and Vince McMahon, its president and CEO, claiming that WWE violated section two of the federal Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Jerry Lawler is not a plaintiff or defendant in the suit.
In the suit, Maclin alleges that McMahon pressured other WWE-connected wrestlers to avoid Maclin-promoted matches in the Memphis area, with the result that Maclin lost a contract to do weekly wrestling promotions at Sam’s Town casino in Tunica.
Maclin declined comment to the Daily News on the lawsuit on the advice of his attorney.
The suit claims WWE and McMahon “took these actions because of a long-running feud with Hogan and in an effort to continue its extensive market control of the wrestling market by not allowing Maclin, a competing promoter, to have a successful and popular promotion.” No set dollar amount in damages is specified in the suit. It seeks “punitive damages and all additional damages allowed” under common law.
WWE states that all of its wrestlers are self employed independent contractors. As such, the law states that they should be able to set most conditions of employment for themselves, as well as decide for themselves for whom they should work. WWE has been known to pull their wrestlers from independent wrestling shows when they find out that TNA wrestlers are booked on the same show. Besides dictating which other promotions their people can work for, WWE puts many other restrictions on their performers, including a dress code.
Needless to say, if Maclin wins his suit, it could have far reaching consequences in pro wrestling.
— Karen Belcher