Amid the global panic regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, WWE and AEW remain some of the last forms of sports entertainment still able to operate. Major sporting promotions around the world like the Premier League, Indian Premier League, Australian Football League, and even the Olympics have been forced to re-evaluate their plans in the face of the growing pandemic.
Obviously, at a time like this, perspective is important and stopping this disease from killing more people than it already has should be a top priority. At the same time, the fact that the two biggest wrestling promotions have found a way, at least for the moment, to continue providing entertainment for people around the world is commendable.
This has undoubtedly affected the wrestling industry, with WWE and AEW performing to no crowds with minimal wrestling and other wrestling promotions temporarily stopping operations as a result of the coronavirus. It is important to remember that professional wrestling in general, and WWE specifically, have faced a variety of catastrophes before and made it through to the other side.
The following are five events that almost took down WWE, and significantly shaped the wrestling landscape.
#5 WWE concussion class action suit
WWE and Vince McMahon have been the subject of many lawsuits over the years. In 2014, lawyer Konstantine Kyros launched a lawsuit on behalf of wrestler Billy Jack Haynes which claimed that WWE was aware of the brain trauma and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, caused by professional wrestling but failed to take it into account. At the same time, major sports leagues in America were also dealing with the fallout from the discovery of damage done to the brains of top athletes in the NFL and NHL from repeated brain trauma and concussions.
Before long, Kyros and Haynes were joined by former and current wrestlers who had their lives impacted by brain trauma and CTE in one way or another. Some of the names on the list include the likes of Jimmy Snuka, Paul Orndorff, Ahmed Johnson, One Man Gang, Marty Jannetty, King Kong Bundy, Chavo Guerrero Jr, and his father Chavo Guerrero Sr.
On September 2018, the case which had dragged on for almost four years, was dismissed by a federal court judge. The lawsuit, had it have gone the other way, would have not only caused massive financial damage with the 50-plus plaintiffs seeking millions of dollars to cover medical bills but would have caused independent promotions to close as a result of their culpability in concussions.