Friday, November 28, 2008
More on McMahon's Hatred of Hogan's Show and the Legal Battle between Vince & Brutus Beefcake
As reported earlier in the week, Vince McMahon is not particularly fond of the Hulk Hogan's Celebrity Championship Wrestling program airing on CMT. McMahon was extremely angry after watching the show during a recent flight. Following the viewing, McMahon called John Laurinaitis and ordered him to tell everyone involved with the show that they are no longer welcome in WWE. He doesn't even want them visiting shows or talking with his company's wrestlers. Many in WWE are not happy with the program as they believe it exposes the wrestling business. As a result of McMahon's decree, Jimmy Hart will apparently not be used by WWE anymore. Hart has made a countless number of appearances promoting WWE in the past few years and has always been willing to help out the company in any way. He's almost always at the the annual Road to Wrestlemania tour events held in local malls. Hart is off the tour and officials are claiming they will never use him again. It should be noted that Hart asked WWE permission to be involved with the show, and they said yes.
Here is more on the Brutus Beefcake situation.
WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt issued a cease and desist letter to former WWE performer Ed Leslie on October 27 ordering him to not use the "Brutus Beefcake" name anymore. The legal letter is as a result of Leslie's involvement with Hulk Hogan's Celebrity Championship Wrestling. WWE never allowed Leslie to use the Beefcake ring name in any competitive situation, which led to him using a number of ring names during his tenure in World Championship Wrestling including Brother Bruti, The Butcher, The Man With No Name, The Zodiac, The Booty Man, and The Disciple.
Leslie's side said WWE hasn't used the name on television since 1993 and that a requirement for a trademark to stay valid is acting it in commerce. Although, WWE issued a Brutus Beefcake action figure two years ago, which is usage in commerce. The trademark for the Beefcake name for usage in toys and sporting goods in the year 1993 was finally canceled by WWE in 2000. Leslie's side argued that he's been using the name on the independent wrestling scene since 2000, and WWE never sent a cease and desist letter before. He also sold his own merchandise using the name without any complaints from WWE. Leslie's side said he signed a deal with Jakks Pacific, independent of WWE, which worked with WWE, to issue a Brutus Beefcake action figure under the WWE brand and WWE was aware the rights to the Beefcake name were separate from a WWE deal.
On WWE's side, they're saying Leslie reached a lawsuit settlement with them in 1995 and he agreed that he would never use the name, or a similar name, in the future. Of course, Leslie has used the ring name for the past eight years, which could be considered a violation of the agreement, but WWE had not addressed it until now.
While people believe WWE is simply looking to protect their trademarks, it really has more to do with Vince McMahon going on a warpath against a show he hates in which he has vowed that anyone involved in the program will never work for his company. Also, WWE threatened to try and get an injunction against Hulk Hogan's Celebrity Championship Wrestling programs airing where Leslie's referred to as Brutus Beefcake, but it's highly unlikely that anything will happen there.