The business of professional wrestling has incurred its fair share of lawsuits over its history, and since pro wrestling is, at its core, a pretty shady business, most of those lawsuits are entirely deserved. Whether defending themselves against accusations of negligence or distribution of illegal drugs, or trying to defend their copyrights against infringement, WWE’s legal team has been caught up in some decidedly high-profile cases, some of which ended up affecting the entire company for years to come. In fact, there have been so many examples of legal action involving WWE that it was a chore to narrow down this list to a few of the biggest cases. And just like in wrestling, in the courtroom, sometimes the good guys don’t always win.
10. Charles Austin
If you don’t know who Charles Austin is, that’s okay, nobody does. He was a no-name enhancement talent who had been training to be a wrestler for a whole six weeks in 1990, when he was put in a tag match against a hot young WWE tag team called The Rockers, made up of Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty. During the match, Austin took a Rocker Dropper (you might also recognize the move as Billy Gunn’s Fameasser, which is now one of Dolph Ziggler’s signature moves) from Marty Jannetty incorrectly, broke his neck, and ended up partially paralyzed. Austin sued The Rockers and WWE for $3.8 million, and the court case dragged on for several years before a jury awarded him an incredible $26.7 million. Already on shaky ground after bouncing in and out of WWE following the breakup of The Rockers in late 1991, Jannetty was released almost immediately after the judgement was rendered. While no one has ever publicly admitted that Jannetty was fired due to the results of the lawsuit, it’s also widely assumed that this was the case.