US Wrestling Scene News

WWE threatens lawsuit over ECW, targets Shane Douglas’ reunion show

New York wrestling fan Anthony DeBlasi, who operates a wrestling fan website and hotline, received a threatening legal letter from WWE over the weekend. The letter ordered DeBlasi to refrain from using the ‘ECW’ trademark on his website and as a promotional tool for a bus trip to Shane Douglas’ “Hardcore Homecoming” reunion show.

Although WWE’s sweeping letter referred to mention of ECW on the website, its major issue was the fact that DeBlasi was referring to Douglas’ show as an ECW reunion and making references to “extreme” when promoting the event. WWE only owns the rights to ‘Extreme’ when in the phrase “Extreme Championship Wrestling,” but their argument was that DeBlasi was clearly using it to connect Douglas’ reunion to ECW. WWE threatened to file a civil suit against DeBlasi.

DeBlasi’s reaction to WWE was far from kind; he has gone as far as to trademark “Eastern Championship Wrestling” to gain the rights to the ECW initials. As of this writing, he is therefore still promoting Douglas’ show as an ECW reunion but feels he is exempt from any liability.

WWE also ordered DeBlasi to turn over accounting records for the bus trip. Although WWE has no trouble with talent working both shows, it does not want fans to mistake Douglas’ event as having any connection to ECW or WWE. While fans can certainly make the reference in their own minds, it is unlawful to promote the show as an ECW reunion without WWE’s express written permission.