Yesterday (Aug. 14), PWInsider brought news of the latest wrestling-related lawsuit. It was also a reminder of one of the most ill-fated reunions in the recent history of the business - Jeff Jarrett’s return to the company he founded, Impact Wrestling.
Jarrett and Global Force Entertainment Inc. (GFE) are suing Anthem Sports, Impact’s current owners, for copyright and trademark infringement. The crux of the case (for which Pro Wrestling Sheet has uploaded the entire filing here) involves the Global Force Wrestling (GFW) Amped footage which was filmed back in 2015.
Anthem used the episodes, which never aired on television, as part of a pay-per-view (PPV) series, showed matches on their Fight Network and sold DVDs containing the content on the Impact website despite a planned merger between GFW and Impact falling through when Jarrett was placed on leave and later let go from his job as Impact’s Chief Creative Officer last year.
The lawsuit, filed on Aug. 10, asks for damages equal to three times Anthem’s profits on the material on the basis of the defendant’s “wanton and willful conduct.” According to PWInsider, Impact has since pulled the DVDs from shopimpact.com. But the ownership of Amped, which Jarrett and GFE says was always supposed to remain with them even if the merger had gone through, could be the least of Impact’s issues.
GFE’s suit also addresses similarities between the name and branding of Anthem’s streaming service, the Global Wrestling Network, and Global Force Wrestling. Repackaging an entire subscription service would be a much bigger endeavor than pulling distribution of Amped.
All of this would be bad enough if it wasn’t just the latest legal and public relations fiasco to come from the Jarrett/Impact reunion. The announced and dropped merger involved a rebranding of the promotion’s championships and divisions which Impact slowly phased out after Jarrett’s firing. He was also allegedly behind the company’s battle with Matt Hardy over intellectual property rights and responsible for the hiring of Alberto Del Rio/El Patron, who was also suspended and fired by Anthem in 2017.
Impact has recently been generating some critical buzz and drawing hot crowds in Anthem’s native Canada, even as it struggles to turn that into U.S. TV ratings. Hopefully this lawsuit won’t derail their momentum, even if it’s sure to trigger a return of some old jokes.
We’ll keep you posted. For now, rest assured Impact and Anthem management are definitely thinking recent WWE Hall of Fame inductee Jarrett ain’t great.