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Details From WWE Lawsuit – Wrestler Pay, Gimmicks, Injuries and More

July 20, 2016 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Vince McMahon WWE Network WWE Jamison

Wrestling Inc has gone through the lawsuit filed this week by Konstantine Kyros against WWE on behalf of fifty-three former talent and dug up a selection of claims and stories contained within. You can see the quotes from the lawsuit below.

WWE issued a statement on Monday in regard to the lawsuit that read, “This is another ridiculous attempt by the same attorney who has previously filed class action lawsuits against WWE, both of which have been dismissed. A federal judge has already found that this lawyer made patently false allegations about WWE, and this is more of the same. We’re confident this lawsuit will suffer the same fate as his prior attempts and be dismissed.”

Dress Code Violations:

Road Warrior Animal: “He was even threatened with fines for wearing jeans on an airplane and changing a 7 am flight to a later one.” (page 21)

Johnny the Bull: “For example, he was fined $500 for wearing a baseball cap on a bus at 3:00 a.m. because the dress code was “business casual.” Hugger states he was fined $500 for wearing certain casual clothing on an airplane arriving at a hotel at 7:00 a.m. on a redeye flight from Los Angeles to Toronto.” (page 32)

King Kong Bundy: “He was fined for missing a show and threatened with fines for wearing shorts on a plane to the shows.” (page 29)

Wrestler Pay:

Omar Atlas: “Although Mijares was well known, he was eventually transformed by the WWE into a “jobber to the stars” and by 1993 he was directed for $200 a night to “put the WWE stars over,” meaning he was asked to repeatedly lose in order to make the WWE headliners look better.” (page 37)

Slick: “As recently as April 2016 WWE paid Johnson $2,500 to induct a wrestler who died at age 41 “Big Bossman” in to the WWE Hall of Fame.” (page 51)

Kamala: “Harris’ last check paid to him in March 2016 was for $98.01 for his annual quarterly royalties for his performances.” (page 27)

Working 300+ Shows a Year:

Jim Brunzell: “Wrestling for WWE from 1985 to 1993, Brunzell would wrestle 300 nights per year often as many as 25-26 days each month. He even once wrestled 43 days in a row.” (pages 32-33)

Butch Reed: “Reed wrestled close to 300 nights per year, twice on weekends and often wrestled seven days a week.” (page 35)

Marty Jannetty: “He wrestled more than 300 shows per year for WWF and twice on weekends.” (page 46)

Warlord: “He described the WWE performance schedule as “full time and rigorous” and performed over 300 shows per year.” (page 45)

Barbarian: “He wrestled as his partner more than 300 nights per year and “worked like a horse.” (page 46)

Slick: “During most of his tenure at WWE he worked over 300 nights per year sometimes 30-40 nights straight with no breaks.” (page 51)

Boris Zhukov: “Zhukov estimates he wrestled 275-300 nights per year while at WWE.” (page 55)

One Man Gang: “I traveled injured, at least 300 nights a year for WWE on the road.” (page 52)

Black Bart: “Some report multiple performances per night and in one instance, Named Plaintiff Rick Jones states he wrestled in 10 shows in a single night.” (page 60)

Vince McMahon:

Rex King: “He was told by WWE employee, JJ. Dillon, that he would be paid $500 per week. Smith says received exactly one check, when he called to locate his additional checks he was told by Mr. Dillon “the emperor says he cannot afford to pay you for doing nothing.” Smith’s understanding was that the term “The Emperor” was a reference to VKM (Vincent K. McMahon).” (page 47)

Ahmed Johnson: “He was recruited to WWE by Michael Hayes, and was sent to Connecticut to Meet Vince McMahon. Norris brought his lawyer, but upon arrival Mr. McMahon stated that he “hated lawyers” and instructed Norris’ lawyer to leave the office as there was nothing to negotiate.” (page 25)

Gimmicks & Names:

Ahmed Johnson: “Norris selected the name Ahmed Johnson over the WWE suggestion of the ring name ‘Buck.'” (page 25)

One Man Gang: “Chairman McMahon personally remade his character to “Akeem the African Dream” and required he dress in a yellow Dashiki as a racially stereotypical black, complete with tribal dancers supplied by WWE.” (pages 129-130)

Butch Reed: “An African American wrestler, he was given the gimmick by WWF to dye his hair blonde, and so be known as “naturally blonde.” He didn’t want to do it but “rolled with it.” He says Vince McMahon liked to force wrestlers to change to gimmicks that McMahon create.” (pages 35-36)

Rodney Mack: “His WWE assigned gimmick was to portray himself as an “anti-white” black militant. Begnaud explains it “was a ‘no no’ to discuss injuries or your job would be in jeopardy.” His dialogue consisted of lines such as “Damn Right!” and “Yeah!” with his manager uttering lines such as “Kill Whitey” and “Free James Brown.” (page 55)

Boris Zhukov: “Zhukov’s gimmick was that of a Russian Communist from the Soviet Union and teamed with another wrestler to form a tag team called the Bolsheviks. Zhukov’s birth name was James Harrell and he is of English/Irish descent. Upon entry into the WWE he legally changed his name to Boris Zhukov, he did so because the WWE and Vince McMahon he learned would “own you” if you didn’t do this. When Vince McMahon learned that he was legally Boris Zhukov he says it caused much friction and accounts for his failure to get a “Push” in WWE.” (pages 55-56)

Black Bart: “Jones was given the gimmick of being a “bad cowboy” with a black hat and long beard by Dusty Rhodes and was given the name “Black Bart” by WWE as Vince McMahon wanted to “own your name.” (page 49)

Injuries:

Chavo Guerrero Jr.: “By way of example on August 24, 2004 he was hit in the head with a knee in a Shooting Star Splash by another wrestler. Guerrero, Jr. was knocked completely unconscious for many minutes, with Stephanie McMahon at ringside before being hospitalized with a concussion and subarachnoid hemorrhage. In 2005 he was kicked in the eye which fractured his orbital bone, yet shortly thereafter he was still required to “drop his belt” (lose to another wrestler) in the ring at the direction of the WWE.” (page 24)

Bryan Clark: “On September 23, 2001, he had a bad neck injury in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania when he was choke slammed by the Mark William Calaway a.k.a. The Undertaker (a famous wrestler) and discs in his neck were injured. Clark eventually had these discs replaced in 2014 and had spinal surgery.” (page 25)

Ken Patera: “Patera describes a total and complete lack of concern for wrestler health and safety, providing for example a 1987 match in Madison, Wisconsin where his injuries required 450 stitches and eventual surgery, despite no ambulance, doctor, or even ice on site at the performance.” (page 29)

Slick: “In 1987 in a match in Houston with Hulk Hogan he fell through the ropes and was spitting up blood from internal injuries.” (page 51)

Princess Victoria: “She was seriously injured in the WWE ring, including when she landed on the top of her head in September, 1984 in Philadelphia, where she felt an “ungodly pain and tingling from head to her toes” after the match. She went to the hospital and it was discovered she had cracked two vertebrae in her neck.” (pages 40-41)

Ahmed Johnson: “On January 21, 1996, Norris was knocked out completely after a guitar was smashed over his head by Jeff Jarrett in Madison Square Garden leading to a hospital visit and long term neurological injuries.” (page 25)

Life After WWE:

Warlord: “Szopinski has no health insurance, and works as a bouncer in a nightclub.” (page 45)

Jim Brunzell: “He works for a janitorial supply company and has insurance though that job, though Brunzell attributes most of his injuries to his wrestling career.” (page 33)

Mark Jindrak: “He continued his career in wrestling in Mexico where he indicates the working conditions and health and safety practices for professional wrestlers are far more advanced than in the WWE.” (page 42)

Boris Zhukov: “He currently works as truck driver.” (page 56)

On Concussions:

Chavo Guerrero, Sr.: “He never heard the word “concussion.” “You got your bell rung sometimes” but there was rarely treatment, inquiry or intervention by WWE staff or ringside doctors unless it was an obvious medical emergency.” (page 24)

Jim Brunzell: “Brunzell believes he sustained several major concussions in his WWE career and numerous times in WWE had his “bell rung.” (page 33)

Jim Powers: “Manley sustained numerous head injuries while in WWE including being knocked unconscious in a WWE Match in Italy with the Tag Team Demolition (Bill Eadie and Barry Darsow who are also named Plaintiffs in this action), additionally Manley states he has had his “bell rung” numerous times at WWE events.” (page 35)

Mark Jindrak: “After the match the guys were joking about ‘having your bell rung like that’ including jokes from WWE officials.” (page 42)

How Wrestlers Deal With Injuries:

Marty Jannetty: “He asserts WWE sometimes had doctors who mostly distributed drugs. “Generally we had to take care of ourselves, I would help other guys pop shoulders back into place.” Jannetty described WWE as a place where ‘You lick your own wounds.” That the medical treatment provided was mostly ‘tape and go.’ (page 42)

Sylvain Grenier: “The rule was “you don’t get hurt” and medical attention was not sought or administered unless absolutely essential. Seeing doctors was in fact discouraged and the WWE had very little supporting medical staff if any at the matches.” (page 37)

Butch Reed: “The preferred WWE medical treatment was “Take yourself up, spit on it, put a band aid on it.” (page 35)