HTQ on Brock Lesnar and Spike/UFC vs. USA/WWE
The biggest international wrestling story this week concerns Brock Lesnar and his on again/off again status in regards to his working the October 18th Dome event for New Japan Pro Wrestling. His participation has changed from being rumored to assured to turning into a definite maybe. The biggest hold up is, of course, his ongoing lawsuit battle with WWE over the non-compete clause that he signed as part of the agreement to allow Lesnar to leave WWE last year. The actual non-compete clause is worded as follows:
"shall not appear, participate and/or associate either directly or indirectly in any way throughout the world with any professional wrestling, ultimate fighting and/or sports entertainment companies, associations, joint ventures, sole proprietorships, and/or partnerships, other than the WWE"
That doesn’t seem so bad, until you find out that this clause lasts until June 30, 2010
Yes, Brock Lesnar is legally barred from participating in professional wrestling or MMA anywhere in the world for the next ten years. Such a clause seems excessive on the surface, and really it is, but the key point to remember is that Lesnar willingly signed such a clause, and you’d think he’d be bound by it no matter what, right? Well, not necessarily. While the non-compete clause seems airtight on the surface, a little checking into the legal facts and background show that Lesnar has a reasonable chance of winning this lawsuit.
The lawsuit is being held in Connecticut, and Connecticut law doesn’t hold up non-compete clauses if they are shown to be unreasonable in terms of length and geographical consideration, and preventing someone from working in their chosen profession anywhere in the world for ten years would seem to fit that bill.
Brock’s lawyers also have ammunition in WWE allowing Ultimo Dragon to work in Japan while still under contract, and when WWE released a number of talents recently their non-competes did allow them to work in Japan. If they can argue that WWE is being unfair in allowing others to work in Japan while still under contract, and point out that WWE has no trouble letting others work in Japan as part of their non-compete clause, then they may have a much stronger case than a lot of people are giving them credit for.
Spike/UFC vs. USA/WWE
The biggest story in the US wrestling scene is the impending war that sees Spike TV and UFC taking on the USA Network and WWE. With Raw moving back to USA on 10/3, it was a given they’d go the extra mile to make it special and they going to do that by bringing back Triple H. However, things got interesting when Spike TV decided to put a live UFC special on 10/3 to go head-to-head with Raw. This move was inspired when Spike got word that, for the first time ever, the 8/29 edition of Ultimate Fighter beat Raw in the Males 25-34 demographic, which is Spike’s key demographic age group. Not only that, but Spike are also adding a reply of the new TNA show to their Monday night line-up as well. USA and WWE very quickly fired back, and it was announced that Raw would start early at 7:55pm, and would be a three-hour ‘Night of Champions’ Special, with the returns of Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, Triple H, Vince McMahon and Mick Foley (though Foley might not be there as he’s meant to be in Australia the next day, and unless he tapes something for WWE he won’t be able to take part). Not only that, but immediately after Raw, USA would be airing a one-hour special to highlight the best of Raw on USA.
When you add in the UFC Unleashed show and the UFC reality show Ultimate Fighter, which will now be kept on Monday’s, the line-up for 10/3 looks like this:
8-9pm: UFC Unleashed
9-11:05pm: UFC Live
11:05-12:05am: The Ultimate Fighter 2
12:05am-2:10am: UFC Live replay
3:10am-4:10am TNA Impact!
7:55-11:05pm: RAW 'Night of Champions'
11:05-12:05am: RAW Exposed
For wrestling and MMA fans, 10/3 is going be a very historic night, as a potential new ‘Monday Night War’ could be starting out. How this all unfolds won’t really be known until the ratings come out. For this to be a true Monday Night War, then UFC has to do numbers that Spike are at least satisfied with. Anything less than a good rating will see Spike pull back from being behind UFC and going ahead with the new Monday night line-up. However, a really good rating, and a thrilled Spike, will undoubtedly see Spike get firmly behind UFC, and TNA in their quest to remain the kings of Monday Night cable. How Spike sees the UFC ratings will be in part determined by how they eat into Raw’s ratings, which themselves will be of importance. Anything less than 4 is going to be seen is a big disappointment, and you’ve got to believe that WWE are going to expect something in the high 4’s for this one.
Personally, I’m thinking the live UFC does a 1.8 but does strong in the Male 25-34 demographic, and that Raw will get a 4.2, with their peak being a 4.5 at best. That’ll lead to more UFC on Spike, TNA getting a good replay slot on Mondays, and a brand new Monday Night War for us all to watch and enjoy.