POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Amended lawsuit against WWE includes witnesses

An amended lawsuit filing against WWE includes two witnesses, Edge's injury, Orton comments on Black Lives Matter, UFC's finances & more.


**Our WWE Backlash POST Show is up on the site with a rundown of WWE Backlash and discussing the “Greatest Wrestling Match Ever” between Randy Orton and Edge that was the entire focus of the show. Plus, your phone calls, Edge’s injury sustained during the taping of the match, and more.

**We have a big edition of Rewind-A-Raw tonight as Wai Ting and I go through Raw and welcome WH Park to discuss Monday’s NJPW Together Project show and preview the New Japan Cup that begins Tuesday. We will also take your questions and feedback at the end of the show.

**On Tuesday, Andrew Thompson will have an interview posted with Mark Haskins of Ring of Honor here on the site on his YouTube channel.

**Wai Ting and I will review Episode 4 of “The Last Ride” on Rewind-A-Dynamite this Wednesday.


Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw with John Pollock & Wai Ting w/ guest WH Park
Tuesday: MCU Review – Avengers Endgame w/ guests Nate Milton & Brent Chittenden
Wednesday: Rewind-A-Dynamite with John & Wai
Wednesday: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown LIVE (Live for all Patrons)
Saturday: The Rocky Maivia Picture Show w/ Nate Milton (Review of G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation)


**WWE is taping this week’s episodes of Raw and Friday Night SmackDown today at the Performance Center. Next week’s editions will be taped Tuesday and then they return June 29th and 30th. Tonight’s episode of Raw is being advertised around the fallout of Backlash Dominick Mysterio confronting Seth Rollins. The build begins for their next pay-per-view, which is Extreme Rules on July 19th.

**Randy Orton will start the show tonight with WWE teasing that both suffered injuries during the match in their show preview. They have also added a rematch between Asuka and Nia Jax for tonight’s episode for the Raw women’s title and an appearance by Ric Flair on the show.

**A consolidated amended class action complaint has been filed against WWE, Vince McMahon, and former co-presidents George Barrios & Michelle Wilson. The plaintiffs are led by the Firefighters’ Pension System of the City of Kansas City, Missouri, and are representing several others. The new 140-page filing outlines the allegations made against WWE and asserting that they were misled as shareholders with the period covering February 7, 2019, to February 5, 2020.

One of the arguments made in the suit is that WWE informed investors in June 2018 that they anticipated revenue from existing and new content agreements to grow from $235 million that year to $435 million in 2020. This would include their Middle Eastern deal with broadcaster OSN that was up for renewal in 2019. The suit alleges that WWE either knew or “were deliberately reckless in not knowing” that months prior that the deal with OSN would not be renewed. This includes an alleged letter sent by OSN in November 2018 to inform WWE that they were getting out of sports content and their coverage would end in July 2019 and that the sides agreed to terminate their agreement early on March 31, 2019, which the suit says was corroborated to them through a WWE representative that worked at OSN until March 2019.

This coincides with Vince McMahon selling 3,204,427 shares of company stock for approximately $261 million on March 27, 2019. Of course, McMahon was deep into the XFL launch plans by this point and it may be difficult to prove that the stock sale was connected to the company’s quarterly results.

They did not inform investors of the deal being done until July 25, 2019. This news was tempered with the announcement they were in discussions for a new deal with the government of Saudi Arabia and went so far to state they had “an agreement in principle”.

Where this suit gets more interesting is their belief that WWE and the government of Saudi Arabia were having problems in their negotiations with the suit listing a confidential witness backing these claims. The suit claims payments in 2018 by Saudi Arabia were delayed and that the two sides were very far apart on figures for the proposed television rights deal and was misleading to state there is an “agreement in principle”. The plaintiffs believe WWE either knew or were “deliberately reckless in disregarding, that any new media rights deal for the MENA region would not get done in 2019”.

The confidential witness is listed as an employee of the Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC) that is run by the government of Saudi Arabia. This witness says the two sides could not agree on the expected revenue the deal would bring. WWE proposed an $80 million licensing fee based on the projection of getting 100 million subscribers for their OTT service.

MBC’s internal data projected 6.5 million subscribers at most. MBC raised the projection to ten million and then, fifteen million to “please WWE” and not because they were realistic figures. WWE reduced the licensing fee request to $50 million but MBC could not go above $14.5 million and talks appeared to die down over the massive difference.

This ties into the Crown Jewel event last November where wrestlers and personnel were stranded in the country and ultimately led to WWE having to fill SmackDown with NXT talent to produce the show that Friday.

The suit cites a second confidential witness (CW-2) who worked in the company from 2012 to April 2020 and was on the Crown Jewel show. The following is from the case filing:

CW-2 recalled that he was initially told the charter flight he was scheduled to leave on was delayed because the plane needed to be pulled around. After they boarded, they were removed from the airplane after 20-30 minutes. CW-2 explained that he spoke with a stewardess on the flight about the delay, who told him that “it seems someone doesn’t want us to leave the country.”

CW-2 further explained that the pilot sounded “distressed” when he informed the passengers that the flight was unable to take off. CW-2 recalled that then they were told that it was because of mechanical issues, but he recalled seeing a “ton” of guards wearing black “militia” attire and wearing guns that were blocking their exit and “staring at the wrestlers.”

CW-2 became aware that something was wrong and explained that a number of the other personnel were referring to the event as a “hostage” situation. CW-2 explained that he asked the Senior Director of Talent Relations, Mark Carrano, about what was going on and that Carrano told him that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and McMahon had gotten into an argument over late payments in connection with the June 7, 2019 Super ShowDown event.

Carrano also informed CW-2 that McMahon had cut the live feed for the Crown Jewel event and that this had made the Crown Prince “very mad.”

The suit also outlines the level of stock being sold by company executives in “unusual and suspicious amounts totaling more than $280 million” while “outside investors suffered hundreds of millions of dollars in losses and economic damages as the price of the WWE stock collapsed when the truth finally began to be revealed over time.”

**Friday Night SmackDown finished with 2,065,000 viewers on Fox this past weekend with 0.5 in the 18-49 demographic. The overall viewership is their highest mark since April 17th edging over several past episodes. It is the show’s seventh consecutive week with 0.5 in the key demo, which was enough to make SmackDown #1 for the night against rerun network programming.

**The major news from Sunday was the report from Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp that Edge (Adam Copeland) suffered an injury during the taping of the match with Randy Orton. Edge suffered a torn triceps, although the exact spot of the match is not known. It’s an injury that will place him out of action for several months and it would be questionable if he returns in 2020 depending on how severe it is. Copeland will turn 47 in October and this is a big injury to come back from. It will be interesting if the injury is acknowledged on Raw tonight – for storylines purposes they don’t need to as the punt kick to end the match would be enough to explain Edge’s disappearance as the cover reason.

**Kris Statlander confirmed the news that she has suffered an ACL injury that will require surgery and place her on the sidelines:

Since the news is out. I told you I’d dive on Kip again and dammit I did. But in doing so, I ended up with a high grade tear in my ACL. Yes I need surgery. Yes I’ll be out of the ring for a while. I’ll do my best to still show up on your TVs as much as I can.

**Randy Orton spoke with Brent Brookhouse of CBS Sport on his change of opinion in Colin Kaepernick’s decision to take a knee during the national anthem several years ago. Orton explained that he initially believed Kaepernick was disrespecting the American flag and those that served the country, but the light went off when he spoke to those around him regarding experiences they have had with the police.

I’m embarrassed to say it, but it took me a little while but I get it. What I said on Twitter, I stand behind. If anyone doesn’t agree with me, I think they need to do more digging. Go look at Big E’s Twitter from a week ago, go look at Xavier Woods’ Twitter, go look at things Kofi said, that Mark Henry said, that Shelton said, that R-Truth said. If you read what they’re saying and try to put yourself in their shoes for even just a minute, you’re going to see right now that it’s not fair. All lives do matter, but like I said on Twitter, until black lives matter, all lives can’t matter. My only regret is that it took me a little bit and some soul searching to see that.

**The 32-man New Japan Cup kicks off Tuesday morning with a show at 6 am Eastern on New Japan World. The tournament runs until July 11th with the winner challenging Tetsuya Naito for the Double Championship the next day at Osaka-jo Hall. This year’s New Japan Cup includes junior heavyweights to make up for the foreigners that can’t get into the country the needed spots filled. The shows prior to July 11th and 12th will be closed to the fans with the Osaka shows open at 1/3 the capacity. Below are the matches scheduled for Tuesday:
*Togi Makabe vs. Yota Tsuji – I’m sure Tsuji will get some offense in and ability to show some fire, but this should be a lock for Makabe to advance.
*Tomohiro Ishii vs. El Desperado – They were involved in a tag match today that Ishii wasn’t a big part of. Ishii advancing to face Makabe in the second round would seem the likely outcome.
*Jado vs. Toru Yano – Jado does not win matches.
*Hiromu Takahashi vs. Tomoaki Honma – This is the most interesting match on Tuesday’s card as Takahashi should win without question to establish the junior heavyweights as being on par with their heavyweight counterparts. For Honma, this is a big match for him and maybe the biggest since coming back from his neck injury. Both these men had career-threatening injuries and will hopefully, they don’t go insane in this setting.

**The winners of Tuesday’s matches will meet in the next round on June 24th. The New Japan Cup continues Wednesday with four matches and then takes a break until next Monday.

**Keith Lee spoke about his gear from last weekend’s NXT TakeOver: In Your House event promoting Black Lives Matter.

**The masked ninja alongside Akira Tozawa at Backlash was NXT trainee Jordan Omogbehin, who has been training at the Performance Center since 2018.

**Impact Wrestling has announced a renewal of its distribution deal with MVStv in Mexico, which includes the airing of their flagship program. Their initial deal was signed in 2018.

**The ongoing pandemic doesn’t appear to be harming certain networks when it comes to sports rights. Major League Baseball’s deal with Turner Sports is up for renewal this season with John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reporting that they are close to finalizing a seven-year extension that will see an approximate 40% yearly increase that works out to about $470 million per year. The new deal is expected to see Turner keep the League Championship Series, two Division series, and one wild-card game. This follows MLB’s seven-year renewal with Fox last November that also saw a 40% annual bump with MLB signing a $5.1 billion deal through 2028 with Fox.

**Ring of Honor is running a pay-per-view this Friday that will also be available on Honor Club. They will be airing ‘Very Best in the World’ featuring matches from their archives.

**IWTV announced a partnership with the UK-based Riptide Wrestling and have added the group’s library to the streaming service. Riptide has outstanding production behind their shows. Back in February, Jamesie did an interview with Riptide’s owner and promoter Josh Bevan on the British Wrestling Experience.

**The latest episode of Being the Elite was released on Monday.

**Here are the matches announced for Tuesday night’s episode of AEW Dark airing at 7 pm Eastern on their YouTube channel:
*Luchsaurus & Marko Stunt vs. The Capital Vices
*Joey Janela & Sonny Kiss vs. Musa & Shawn Dean
*Big Swole vs. Dani Jordyn
*Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian vs. Brandon Cutler & Peter Avalon
*Lance Archer vs. David Ali
*Penelope Ford vs. Skyler Moore
*Scorpio Sky vs. Robert Anthony
*Jimmy Havoc vs. Griff Garrison
*Allie & Brandi Rhodes vs. Kenzie Paige & Red Velvett
*Alex Reynolds & Stu Grayson vs. Brady Pierce & John Skyler
*Shawn Spears vs. Lee Johnson

**FS1 will be airing the Survivor Series from November 1996 on Tuesday night at 7 pm Eastern. The show featured the on-screen debut of Rocky Maivia at Madison Square Garden along with Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels defending the WWF title against Sid. Following the airing, WWE Backstage will have Bret Hart on the show as a guest with CM Punk part of tomorrow’s Backstage as well.

**Game Changer Wrestling is back this Saturday with a show on Fite TV at 5 pm Eastern with this updated card: Nick Gage vs. Nate Webb, Jimmy Lloyd vs. Alex Zayne, Blake Christian vs. Myron Reed, Mance Warner & Matthew Justice vs. Rickey Shane Page & Atticus Cogar, Manders vs. Chris Dickinson, Tre Lamar vs. Lee Moriarty, and Effy vs. Allie Kat.

**The WWE stock closed at $45.25 on Monday.

**Bayley (Pamela Martinez) turns 31 today while Scott Norton is 59, and Chuck Palumbo turns 49.


**Saturday’s UFC Performance of the Night bonuses were awarded to Marvin Vettori, Mariya Agapova, Tyson Nam, and Christian Aguilera for $50,000 each.

**John Nash at Bloody Elbow has a piece on the UFC’s financial picture following news from last week that the company secured an add-on loan of $150 million and brings their current term loan to approximately $2.45 billion. The loan is due in 2026 with Moody’s judging it as “speculative and a high credit risk”. Nash adds that as of May 31, 2020, the UFC had $205 million in cash on their balance sheet, which is up from $151 million on December 31, 2019. The excess cash flow is expected to be used to pay out dividends with $300 million to be paid out by the end of 2020 to equity holders.

**When asked at the UFC post-fight press conference about running arenas with limited capacity, UFC president Dana White indicated he wasn’t interested and would continue to run shows at the Apex until they can run venues at full capacity. The promotion will hold two more shows at the Apex this month and then embark on four events on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi from July 11th to July 25th.

**ONE Championship issued a bizarre press release on Monday trumpeting the fact they have added $70 million to their “war chest” while adding they have cut 20% of its workforce:

The largest global sports media property in Asian history, ONE Championship™ (ONE), today announced that it has added US$70 million to its war chest, bringing total capital to US$346 million. ONE Championship has also streamlined operations, including a 20% reduction of total worldwide headcount.

For a much more thorough dissection of ONE’s finances, I would recommend John Nash’s reporting at Bloody Elbow after ONE filed their latest financial documents with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).

**Miesha Tate and her partner Johnny Nunez had their second child together on Sunday. The two had a boy named Daxton Wylder Nunez. They had their first child in June 2018.

**Ray Borg issued an update after he had to withdraw from his fight against Merab Dvalishvili this past Saturday due to a family emergency:

Thank you all so much for the overwhelming love and support, as you all know I pulled from my fight to be with my son. With his condition being life long he is at risk for surgery everyday. Although there were some worries about his shunt failing due to some malfunction symptoms, I am happy to let everyone know that he is at home doing well and will not need any surgery. Thank you everyone who had reached out we love you all.

**This Saturday’s UFC card is a much deeper one than this past weekend. It’s headlined by heavyweights Curtis Blaydes and Alexander Volkov with Blaydes winning his previous three fights and is coming off a stoppage of former champion Junior dos Santos. Josh Emmett will be back in his first fight in almost a year when he takes on Shane Burgos, who has rattled off wins over Cub Swanson and Makwan Amirkhani in his last two outings. That should be a great featherweight fight.

MAIN CARD (8 pm Eastern on ESPN & ESPN+)
*Curtis Blaydes vs. Alexander Volkov
*Josh Emmett vs. Shane Burgos
*Raquel Pennington vs. Marion Reneau
*Belal Muhammad vs. Lyman Good
*Roosevelt Roberts vs. Jim Miller

*Clay Guida vs. Bobby Green
*Tecia Torres vs. Brianna Van Buren
*Marc-Andre Barriault vs. Oskar Piechota
*Cortney Casey vs. Gillian Robertson
*Frank Camacho vs. Matt Frevola
*Roxanne Modafferi vs. Lauren Murphy
*Joe Solecki vs. Austin Hubbard



Edge vs. Randy Orton at WWE Backlash? (1,202 votes)

Loved it: 78.5%
Hated it: 21.5%


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About John Pollock 5650 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.