Archive for August 7th, 2010

Dave Meltzer’s Coverage of Politico Article on Linda McMahon and the WWE Ring Boy Scandal

The August 9 issue of Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter has the following background on the July 30 story on Linda McMahon and the World Wrestling Entertainment ring boy scandal. (The full WON report is available to subscribers only at

* “Lee Cole, Tom’s older brother, who claimed Tom had never told anyone why he was fired, did a number of radio shows at the time, and the stories about Mel Phillips, a former WWF ring announcer who also headed the ring crew, and his alleged foot fetish, were talked about. They also got another ring boy to come forward, but suddenly, he disappeared. Mike Sawyer of the Observer web site was living in Buffalo at the time and good friends with the other individual, in fact Sawyer noted they were supposed to go to WrestleMania VI in 1990 together in Toronto except Sawyer bowed out because he knew the stories and figured out what the sleeping conditions would be. Sawyer noted that his friend disappeared, and he later saw him with a new car, and he had also changed his name.”

* “I can note in conversations I had with [Tom Cole], that he was very negative about Vince McMahon, and not really in a bitter way. He had more mixed feelings about Linda McMahon, but in the end I wouldn’t describe them as positive. He noted to me that of all the people he met through his ordeal, the wrestlers, the media, and the people working in WWF, the only one he ended up with any respect for was [Phil] Mushnick [New York Post columnist], who he even invited to his wedding. Although he was on both sides of the fence, he did always express that he felt Jerry McDevitt was an excellent lawyer. But he also felt McDevitt had tried to push him into saying things that everyone knew were untrue when McMahon sued Mushnick …”

* “During the entire period he was gone, those in the company talked that they believed [Pat] Patterson was still secretly involved, although it wasn’t until five months later he appeared at a show in an official capacity.”

* “When this all went down, at first Vince McMahon denied everything that had come out. But days later, and keep in mind this was before any names of any of the alleged participants had gone public, the company announced the resignations of Phillips, Garvin and Patterson. The company stated they had all resigned due to their extreme loyalty to the company. McMahon, after the resignations, was not defensive of Phillips and Garvin any longer, but claimed a media witch hunt against homosexuals forced one person who was completely innocent, Patterson, out of his company. When I suggested if he was truly innocent there was no reason he should have resigned, he said that Patterson resigned out of his loyalty to the company and would never work for the company again.”

* “In the Donahue studio audience included Linda McMahon, and Miss Elizabeth, who everyone recognized. With Linda and Elizabeth, which nobody recognized, were Tom and Lee Cole. Apparently there was a moment set up where, figuring it was a lock Cole would be mentioned, that it would be revealed Cole was in the audience and Cole would side with McMahon, call the wrestlers who were against McMahon liars, and it would be like the climax of every episode of Perry Mason. Except Cole’s never once came up. After the show was over, someone in the audience in fact went to the producer, gave the speech. I can’t recall if it was Tom or Lee Cole who talked to the producer, but the show was over, and nobody saw it. The producer was almost white as a ghost, just minutes after the show was over, when he recounted to me the conversation. That’s when we found out McMahon had settled with Cole.”

Irv Muchnick

The Punditocracy Gets Sharper on Linda McMahon

“Linda McMahon is hit with questions about the way she ran the family’s World Wrestling Entertainment, which employs more than 100 wrestlers who bang each other up in rings around the world, without the benefit of a company health plan. (McMahon claims the wrestlers do get seminars on shopping for insurance, and I think I speak for us all in saying that that is not the same thing.)” — Gail Collins, The New York Times,

“It is not possible to discuss WWE’s success without mentioning that it was achieved, literally, on the steroid-broadened backs of its entertainers. WWE wrestlers did great physical damage to themselves for years while the company declined to provide them health coverage.” Stamford Advocate editorial,


This is addressed to you, cc to Chuck, only because I’m trying to minimize the awkwardness of a three-way discussion.

After sleeping on this (or not), I’ve reached a dead-end at the intersection of Tasini and Muchnick. My takeout from the collapse of the settlement negotiations is that, absent bold action, the objection project is on course to become Tasini II. I want no part of such an outcome, either substantively or for my “legacy.”

Your principled stance on the license has helped clarify that danger.

Further, you have noted the real issue of Chuck’s fees.

I’m perfectly comfortable proceeding on the merits with the Second Circuit. My concern is that the result there doesn’t matter and the defendants know it doesn’t matter. If we lose, we’re dead. If we win, the whole negotiation restarts from scratch while the defendants go full-speed ahead with a new generation of their “facts on the ground.” The “standstill agreement” … the years of mediation while the Freelance plaintiffs never even sought injunctive relief … the settlement amendment that wound up being a fig leaf for manipulation of claims data that would have exposed the C Reduction – the pattern is clear.

As Boni’s last note acknowledges, the recent round of talks failed not over a few hundred thousand dollars here or there; that’s chump change. It failed over our refusal to sign off on yet another standstill agreement, involving ProQuest and the leading publishers, by which only one side would have stood still.

Where am I going with this? I propose that Chuck strongly consider an unorthodox new court filing that blows the lid on the C Reduction fraudulence, using the information you’ve just shared. As  I understand it, the parties arguably opened the door for this by once again illegally introducing outside-the-record facts into their briefs. So I see it as an opportunity to re-implement and perfect the exercise Chuck practiced earlier. Now that the Supreme Court has held the Second Circuit’s feet to the fire by not allowing them to punt the whole case on jurisdictional grounds, perhaps it will help Judge Walker focus the other two panelists on what is really going on here – that the Defense Group simply has no intention of obeying the law of the land, and unlike Google, doesn’t even want to make the investment of selling a comprehensive new information-delivery paradigm or stepping up to the plate as a public utility.

Given that Chuck’s fees and our goals for the objection project remain far over the horizon without this tactic, I feel we have little to lose. And we have something important to gain: our own clear historical record of what has been taking place, thanks to inadequate representation on our side, since 2001. This is the equivalent of the E. Howard Hunt letter to Judge Sirica that broke open the Watergate scandal. Someone has to write it.


IrvMcMahon is hit with questions about the way she ran the family’s World Wrestling Entertainment, which employs more than 100 wrestlers who bang each other up in rings around the world, without the benefit of a company health plan. (McMahon claims the wrestlers do get seminars on shopping for insurance, and I think I speak for us all in saying that that is not the same thing.)

Irv’s Tweets

August 2010