World Wrestling Entertainment has been sued by dozens of retired wrestlers claiming that concussions suffered during their fighting days have led to damaging long term results. Similar to lawsuits filed against the NFL, NHL and other sports leagues, the wrestlers have alleged that WWE knew about and concealed the risks of brain diseases attributable to performing in the sport.
The twist is that the Complaint also claims that WWE wrongfully classified wrestlers as independent contractors instead of as employees in an effort to escape liability. Wrestlers may be looking to preempt WWE’s claim that they have no standing to sue based on a theory that such rights are diminished as independent contractors.
“I think it’s bad for the image of the company and I don’t think it’s good, personally, for the image of the individuals doing it,” said former wrestler Ric Flair. “I think it’s unrealistic. I feel bad. And I’m saying this out loud, I feel bad for the guys that are doing this because we’ve all put ourselves on the line. That’s what we did for a living. Nobody twisted our arm. Does that make sense? So it was something we did and it’s something that happens and I just think that sometimes hard times can cause you to make bad decisions.”
Another former wrestler, Lance Storm, thinks that the lawsuit is frivolous and unfounded.
“At the end of the day, pro wrestling is designed to be a non-contact sport in a way,” said Storm. “It’s not a true competitive sport, it’s a performance art and when you do the job properly, you don’t actually hit people very hard. There’s people on this list that are third generation, their grandfather did it, their father did it and they wrestled for upwards of a decade before they got to the WWE, I don’t know how you can dump that on the company.”