WWE Blocks Retired Wrestler from Selling Merchandise
Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, a former professional wrestler, opened an online store with Pro Wrestling Tees (PWT), an online store where retired wrestlers can sell merchandise. But now, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has blocked PWT from keeping the Neidhart store open, according to Wrestling Zone.
When customers tried to shop for Neidhart tees, they were redirected to a statement from PWT.
"We received a notice from WWE saying that we were violating intellectual property rights by selling Jim Neidhart shirts on our website," the organization statement said. "First off, we don't sell anything on our site, the wrestlers do. Our website is a portal for independent and retired pro wrestlers to sell their own merchandise to hundreds and thousands of fans worldwide."
Wrestlers looking to sell merchandise through PWT sign contracts claiming their property and rights to their designs. According to the statement, 90 percent of wrestlers provide their own artwork or give the final thumbs-up to the design.
After a bit of research, PWT found that the WWE doesn't own the trademark for the name Jim Neidhart or the Hart Foundation, a group of wrestling "stables," which Neidhart managed. The WWE told PWT that Neidhart has an "exclusive merchandise agreement" with the WWE, but PWT disputed that it has not seen Neidhart merchandise on the market before.
"WWE continuously blocks retired pro wrestlers from selling merchandise on the Internet," the statement says. "Not only Pro Wrestling Tees, but other websites as well. These wrestlers have fans that want to show their appreciation for them, but [the fans] aren't allowed to because WWE says they have the 'merchandising rights' to [the T-shirts]."
The statement calls for WWE to at least let Neidhart sell merchandise through its official store, if it refuses to let him sell through PWT. It concludes with the hashtag #RespectTheLegends.