A company as big and powerful as WWE has been in the court room quite a few times due to people taking issues with them or vice versa. WWE’s business tactics and volatile relationships with certain wrestlers have led to problems arising. Many of the wrestlers with issues have wanted to validate their claims in the law of court by issuing a lawsuit. Most of these stories would see WWE win the battle through the legal route.
We will look at the history of WWE winning their matches in the court room. The opponents to the company have primarily been wrestlers along with a few companies. WWE won by either getting their claim validated, getting someone else’s case dismissed or reaching a settlement. Find out just who the company have defeated in the court room. These are ten times WWE went to court and came out as the winners.
10 The Parents Television Council
WWE booked the Right to Censor faction as a parody of the Parents Television Council. This group tried to censor television shows with adult content that also was marketed towards children. WWE was their biggest target towards the late 90s and early 2000s.
The Parents Television Council claimed WWE was complicit in the death of four children dying when performing wrestling moves on each other. WWE sued them for defamation and the council settled out of court. They agreed to never speak about WWE again along with paying $3.5 million and issuing a public apology.
9 Nicole Bass
Nicole Bass found fame as a personality on the Howard Stern Show and became a wrestler for ECW and eventually WWE. The WWE run of Bass saw her as the bodyguard of Sable helping Sable retain the Women’s Championship with her larger physique.
Bass sued WWE and Brooklyn Brawler after leaving the company for sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, assault, battery, and negligence. Following many months of the case going on, the court eventually sided with WWE dismissing it. Bass never returned to WWE again or made peace some others on the list.
8 Larry Zbyszko
The legendary Larry Zbyszko had a stint in WWE feuding with Bruno Sammartino before leaving for WCW. Most modern fans know Zbyszko for his time in WCW towards the end of his wrestling career and as one of the top color commentators.
Zbyszko started using the nickname “Living Legend” to add more relevance to his name. Chris Jericho started using the phrase years later in WWE and even sold merchandise with it. Zbyszko took Jericho and WWE to court before the silly case was dismissed. The biggest surprise is that WWE forgave Zbyszko enough to induct him into the Hall of Fame years later.
The tag team of Demolition dominated the division in WWE for many years. Ax and Smash were the main members that took the gimmick of the face-paint and make it a huge success. The relationship between the two wrestlers and Demolition had a bitter ending.
Both wrestlers tried to sue WWE for the rights to the name since they pitched the idea. WWE however won out as they owned the rights to the name. Demolition couldn’t get the ownership to their name, but fans still recognize them as such at conventions.
6 Ricky Steamboat
The end of Ricky Steamboat’s relationship with WWE in the late 80s came due to him wanting more of a profit from his residuals. Steamboat left for WCW and decided to issue a lawsuit towards WWE. The suit claimed that WWE was not paying him a fair wage for VHS sales.
Given how much Steamboat impacted the success of WrestleMania 3, WWE controlled how much he made for the sales of that tape. Steamboat may have won that iconic match against Randy Savage, but he lost to WWE in the court room and didn’t get his desired money for VHS sales.
5 United States Government
Vince McMahon was forced to go against the United States Government in the early 90s. Congress cracked down on wrestling and WWE for the use of steroids in the industry. The banned performance-enhancing drug had many negative effects, but wrestlers used it to enhance their physiques.
Many people expected McMahon to get convicted of distributing steroids. Vince even came up with a plan for his brother and Pat Patterson to run the company in his absence. The verdict of “not guilty” provided relief for the McMahon family as they pulled off the unlikely win.
The run of Sable made her a huge star for WWE in the early stages of the Attitude Era. Sable often had the highest-rated segments, loudest ovations from the crowd and strong merchandise sales. Fans were shocked when her WWE run ended in 1999.
Sable issued a lawsuit with allegations of sexual harassment and unsafe working conditions. WWE countered with a suit of their own to put each other in court. They eventually settled it outside of court which is what WWE wanted all along with their countersuit.
A few wrestlers teamed together outside of the ring to sue WWE regarding their “independent contract” label. WWE uses that label to avoid paying for health care and other employee rights despite having contracts with restrictions like one would have for an employee.
Raven was the leader of the wrestlers suing WWE and trying to completely change the industry. The case was dismissed due to the wrestlers not working there soon enough to fall under the statute of limitations. WWE won out despite the case having some merit behind it.
2 Billy Graham
The legendary Billy Graham was a top draw in the wrestling world and even won the WWE Championship during his time there. An ugly ending to the relationship led to Graham having issues with Vince McMahon and WWE for many years.
Graham tried suing WWE for illnesses that were related to using steroids with the claim of WWE pressuring him into using it. However, it was revealed that Graham used them before signing with WWE thus having the case dismissed. McMahon and Graham did make peace enough to induct him into the Hall of Fame.
1 Ultimate Warrior
The relationship between the Ultimate Warrior and WWE always had strong ups and downs. Warrior found his greatest success in the late 80s becoming a beloved face and defeating Hulk Hogan to win the WWE Championship. However, the hot run ended quickly, and WWE stopped putting up with Warrior’s backstage drama.
Warrior and WWE had an ugly ending with lots of bad blood. WWE created the Self Destruction of Ultimate Warrior DVD with personalities ripping him apart for two hours. Warrior sued for libel given all the quotes trashing him in the public. The case was dismissed with WWE winning out again. Warrior eventually forgave WWE and returned to join the Hall of Fame in 2014.