WWE Responds To Saudi Arabia Lawsuit

3 years ago by Wrestle Talk

WWE Responds To Saudi Arabia Lawsuit

Last week on June 26, WWE filed a motion to dismiss the City of Warren Police and Fire Retirement System class-action lawsuit that was issued against them concerning their relationship with Saudi Arabia.

For those that don’t know, the Firefighters Pension System of the City of Kansas City Missouri Trust claims to have lost $121 million as a result of the decline of WWE’s stock price.

The lawsuit looks into many things, including the reported issues between WWE and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, where McMahon has been accused of cutting the Saudi Arabia feed of Crown Jewel in 2019.

This was allegedly down to a financial dispute between WWE and the Middle Eastern country. It has been speculated that this is why WWE superstars were left unable to leave the country following the show.

WWE denied these allegations in the motion to dismiss, which you can read below, courtesy of Wrestlenomics:

“The only sources cited in the CAC are two confidential witnesses (neither of whom interacted with the Individual Defendants, participated in negotiations over the MENA rights deal, or worked at WWE’s corporate offices), declarations provided by Defendants prior to filing the CAC, and a series of ‘news reports’ that consist almost exclusively of unsupported content cherry-picked from wrestling websites founded on multiple layers of hearsay and unverified statements from Twitter. The allegations are all based on ‘speculation’ from ‘news reports,’ such as ‘a wrestling-focused website’ that itself is based on statements by a ‘WWE Spanish commentator’ (who is not employed by WWE and who based his own story on another unnamed party)”

“The so-called ‘media reports’ also include other unidentified ‘wrestling-focused websites’ that cite to ‘an individual’ who was supposedly ‘in contact with sources in the WWE’ that stated ‘the [Saudis] come up short’ by a couple million dollars every show (i.e., the three done so far)quotes in the CAC are from the Twitter page of a self-proclaimed wrestling journalist.

“Even if these websites and Twitter cites could be deemed ‘news sources,’ none of these unverified, non-particularized hearsay allegations supports that any payments breached a contract or indicates a relationship so tattered that no deal could be done.

“Finally, Plaintiff’s allegation that the WWE-Saudi Arabia relationship was strained by the activities surrounding the 2019 Crown Jewel event (i.e., the supposed “cut feed” and alleged incidents related to travel back to the United States) are also conclusory and do not establish any falsity or scienter. As Plaintiff acknowledges , WWE and the charter airline company released statements explaining the mechanical issues with the plane. Ex. 21 (Forbes, 11/01/19). In contrast, Plaintiff relies on the same speculative so-called “news outlets” and Twitter accounts described above, as well as a former wrestler (CW-2). The CAC also cites an article that acknowledges WWE’s description of the mechanical issues, while also citing a radio commentator who (without any explanation or sources) offered his own contrary opinion on his radio show and Twitter”

The Spanish commentator referenced in the motion to dismiss is Hugo Savinovich, who was one of the first people to speak about the reported issues between Vince McMahon and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

WWE claims, according to the motion to dismiss, that approximately $2.4 million has not yet been paid for the Crown Jewel event that took place in October 2019. The show featured the WWE debuts of both Tyson Fury and Cain Velasquez.

A former WWE wrestler came forward and anonymously gave his account of what happened after Crown Jewel. The wrestler stated that Mark Carrano told him that Vince and the Crown Prince had an issue over late payments concerning Super ShowDown which took place in Saudi Arabia earlier that year.

According to the unknown wrestler, Mark Carrano also told him that Vince did cut the Crown Jewel feed, which allegedly made the Crown Prince “very mad”. He went on to describe the plane not taking off as a “hostage situation”.

In response to the anonymous wrestler’s claims, WWE had the following to say in the motion to dismiss:

“As to CW-2, most of the allegations he raises are innocuous or completely irrelevant to issues of falsity or scienter, such as CW-2’s observation that persons boarding an airplane ‘appear[ed] to be ‘in a hurry,’ a flight attendant made a colloquial statement about not taking off, CW-2’s opinion that the pilot’s voice sounded “distressed,” and CW-2’s observation regarding the presence of armed security at an airport.

The most specific item CW-2 provides—the hearsay that a WWE Senior Director of Talent Relations informed him that Defendant McMahon cut the live feed and got into an argument with the Crown Prince as to late payments—is directly contradicted by Plaintiff’s own allegations and items Plaintiff relied upon. KSA made the $60 million payment before the Crown Jewel event began, as was publicly disclosed earlier that day on the earnings call. It thus does not make sense, logically, that this payment (even accepting the conclusory allegation that it was ‘late’) would have prompted Defendant McMahon to temporarily ‘cut’ and then shortly thereafter resume a live broadcast feed.”

You can read the whole motion to dismiss by clicking here.

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