The two biggest wrestling promotions in the United States may be having a grudge match in a courtroom instead of a ring.
According to PWinsider, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling filed a lawsuit in a Nashville court on Wednesday against World Wrestling Entertainment and former TNA and WWE employee Brian Wittenstein for interference with existing contracts, conversion, breach of contract, civil conspiracy, unfair competition and violation of the Tennessee Uniform Trade Secrets Act. They are also suing Wittenstein for breach of duty of loyalty.
The suit claims that Wittenstein, who worked for the company for three years as the person who handled third-party booking for TNA talent to work independent shows before leaving in 2011 and going to work for WWE, provided WWE with inside information on TNA contracts.
According to the Wrestling Observer, WWE let Wittenstein go after he presented the company with confidential TNA contract information, but TNA claims WWE did not inform them of this until weeks after the fact.
Wittenstein was hired by the WWE earlier this year and worked as an assistant under Michael Hayes before being let go.
According to PWinsider, Wittenstein was informing WWE personnel about when TNA contracts were expiring, and TNA is requesting a temporary restraining order against Wittenstein and WWE to prevent them from sharing information or approaching talent and asking that any material Wittenstein shared with WWE be returned.
The lawsuit claims that WWE is trying to poach many of the TNA talent and using the contract knowledge to their advantage.
This wrongful disclosure and misappropriation allows WWE to effectively price TNA out of the market and cause irreparable harm to TNA’s business and profitability. WWE now knows the confidential details of TNA’s business affairs including its marketing and business strategy and analysis, which leaves TNA vulnerable to WWE’s unfair position in the market.
TNA wrestler Ric Flair is mentioned in the lawsuit claiming that two days after WWE contacted TNA about Wittenstein, on May 7, Flair approached TNA about getting out of his contract.
Flair then no-showed TNA events, between May 10-15, that he was scheduled to appear at, including the Sacrifice pay-per-view.
Per the lawsuit:
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
While not mentioned in the lawsuit, TNA wrestler Alex Shelley is reportedly looking to leave TNA when his contract expires to possibly go to WWE. According to the Wrestling Observer, the WWE has contacted Shelley, which implies they were aware of when his contract expires.
WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt has responded to the lawsuit.
Our reaction is that no good deed ever goes unpunished,” he said. “What the WWE did here is what you would hope any company would do in these circumstances it found itself in