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Jim Ross Recalls WCW Suing WWE in 1998 For ‘Disparagement,’ WWE Using Settlement to Later Buy WCW

June 17, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
WWE Vince McMahon Image Credit: WWE

– In the latest Grilling JR, Jim Ross recalled the lawsuit that WCW filed against WWE in 1998 and how it ended up going in WWE’s favor. The lawsuit was filed by WCW over claims that WWE was trying to “compete unfairly with WCW by disparaging WCW and the wrestlers who appear on its programs.” Among the examples that WCW gave were the infamous “Billionaire Ted” skits mocking Ted Turner, the Fake Diesel and Razor fiasco, Jim Cornette going off on WCW on an October 1997 episode of Raw, DX’s Nitro “invasion” and more. (The best example listed was D-X spray-painting WCW on Jim Neidhart’s butt, after which a commentator said, “The only thing more humiliating would be to work for WCW.”)

That lawsuit was considered to be a “mirror” lawsuit to the suit WWE filed against WCW in 1996 alleging that they were appropriating the Diesel and Razor trademarks by having Scott Hall and Kevin Nash use a lot of the same mannerisms in WWE. The lawsuit dragged on for years until in 2000, both suits were settled. Among the settlement terms were WWE getting the right to bid on WCW’s assets if the company was liquidated. Of course, that’s exactly what happened and WWE bought the WCW tape library for $1.7 million, among other purchases like trademarks, contracts and such. Highlights from JR’s comments are below, along with the podcast:

On how they came out ahead over WCW: “Well, the key thing is Jerry McDevitt … We had McDevitt and they didn’t. That’s a big difference, that’s a big leg up for the WWE and Vince. I looked at that suit essentially as a “nuisance suit.” I never thought it had any basis to move very far up the court system, I didn’t see any judges or the courts spending a lot of time on these arguments. And if we had made the same arguments, I would have said the same thing. They got a little publicity, I don’t know that it helped anybody publicity-wise. But I thought all along, it meant nothing. I remember having a couple meetings with Vince about it. We called off the dogs on some of the things [directed at WCW], the hotline, on-air mentions, etc. But when we did the Billionaire Ted skits, everybody endorsed it. There have been some of the sycophants hanging around, there’s always a few of those hanging around. Some of those guys, they would say yes. But the bottom line is, it was a waste of time. It did nothing. Didn’t increase ratings, didn’t do anything positive but stir the s**t. It made no sense. So I felt the same thing about this lawsuit, the counter-lawsuit. It’s almost like, ‘Okay, we’ll show you. We got lawyers too, by God. We got more than you do.’ Okay, good.”

On Jerry McDevitt saying last year that WWE used the $2 million settlement from the lawsuits to buy WCW a few years later: “He’s the best, man. I went to his wedding, Jan and I did. We were great friends, still am great friends with Jerry. I can tell you this, man. If I were ever in bad trouble and I needed a badass MF as far as a lawyer, he’s the guy. He’s the smartest, most strategic. He’s got great street smarts, and amazingly high IQ. And boy, he’s done great work for WWE, and made his firm and himself a fortune off of the services he’s provided Vince. That’s a funny story. They got $2 million, in the big scheme how much money is that? Well, it’s a lot of money to guys like me and you, but to those billionaires and big corporations, it’s not that much. And then, that’s what WWE paid for the entire WCW library. $2 million. That to me was one of the great steals, quote-unquote, that I’ve never been a part of in the business.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit the NotSam Wrestling Show with a h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.

article topics :

Jim Ross, WCW, WWE, Jeremy Thomas