SoBe Entertainment International filed a lawsuit yesterday against WWE star Paul "Big Show" Wight, his wife Bess Wight and World Wrestling Entertainment. The suit seeks $15 million in damages on breach of contract allegations that Wight had signed an exclusive contract with SoBe to "to act as a performer, entertainer, actor, boxer, wrestler, athlete and celebrity person for a five-year period covering
SoBe alleges in the suit that Wight breached their contract by returning in November 2007 as a contracted performer for WWE and that WWE has "tortuously interfered with the contractual relationship" between SoBe and Wight.
The lawsuit claims that Wight breached a deal signed in
The back story of the lawsuit is that SoBe claims that in early 2007, Wight, his wife Bess and Hulk Hogan presented the company with the idea of Wight becoming a professional boxer since his size would make him an immediate attraction. SoBe claims that Wight promised to be "managed exclusively" by their organization if they would advance costs for his boxing training.
At that point, Wight began training full-time, which is how he lost all that weight during his time away from WWE. Although not mentioned in the lawsuit, one of the plans for Wight's boxing career was that Hulk Hogan would "manage" him, although that never came to fruition, either. Hogan is not named a party in the lawsuit.
SoBe claims they fronted the Wights $2 million between salary and an advance of $1 million for the purchase of a
SoBe claims that in November 2007, Wight informed them he would be returning to World Wrestling Entertainment and that he would "no longer honor or otherwise fulfill his obligations under the contract."
Where WWE comes into this lawsuit as a defendant centers around Wight returning to WWE in January 2008, just a few months after Wight backed out of his SoBe deal. This would be a month before he returned to shoot the Wrestlemania 24 angle with Floyd
SoBe claims that they sent World Wrestling Entertainment a letter on
SoBe alleges that WWE "continued showing a complete disregard" for their company by booking Wight to perform as Big Show on 7 additional PPVs and other live events promoted worldwide.
SoBe claimed that in April 2009, they again warned WWE of their contractual relationship with Wight but were again ignored as WWE booked Wight to perform at Wrestlemania 25 in
Noting that Wight's "importance to WWE cannot be overstated", SoBe noted that Wight has performed as the Big Show on more than 60 PPV events for the company since 1999. Similar numbers could be found for just about any WWE performer with any sort of tenure, however.
SoBe claims that, at the least, WWE has been aware of the breached contract and relationship between Wight and SoBe since
SoBe is asking the court to rule for that the Wights repay the $2 million SoBe invested in Wight's would-be boxing career, that a lien be placed on the Wight's home and that SoBe be given the profits from a foreclosure sale of the property, as well as court costs and "other further belief as this Court deems just and proper."
SoBe is also seeking compensatory damages from WWE, lost profit damages (since in their eyes WWE signed away Wight), plus additional punitive damages and whatever relief the Court sees fit to provide.
SoBe has requested a jury trial.
As the lawsuit was filed yesterday, World Wrestling Entertainment and the Wights have yet to respond.
If you enjoy PWInsider.com you can check out the AD-FREE PWInsider Elite section, which features exclusive audio updates, news, our critically acclaimed podcasts, interviews and more, right now for THREE DAYS free by clicking here!