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By Mike Johnson on 2020-12-08 10:55:00

Joseph R. Meehan, known professionally in the world of pro wrestling as Joey Ryan, filed a request for a summary judgment against Impact Wrestling parent company Anthem Wrestling LLC before the Circuit Court of Davidson County, TN on 11/27, alleging that Anthem took too long to respond to his lawsuit alleging that the company breached his contract when they released him in the wake of a number of allegations voiced against him on social media.  

In a filing dated 11/27, Meehan requests judgment in his favor, citing that Anthem was officially served with the lawsuit on 9/24, later requested and received an additional 30 days to respond, but failed to do so in a timely manner.    Anthem responded to the lawsuit on 12/4.

In their response, Anthem denied all of Meehan's allegations against them, arguing that his contract indeed ran through August 2021 "unless earlier terminated",  claimed that Ryan "misstates" the contents of his exhibits including his Impact contract, that Impact commented publicly about Ryan's exit "so that Anthem's audience would not expect immediate appearances by Plaintiff at wrestling events produced by Anthem", denied that they breached the terms of his deal.

However, claiming Anthem ran over thirty days past their extension before filing their response, Meehan's attorney is arguing that since the company is "not an incompetent or a minor" but "failed and refused to answer" the lawsuit in a timely fashion, therefore Anthem is in default under the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure and there is "no reason to delay in entry of a Final Judgment" under those rules.

In his five-page lawsuit filed in the Circuit Court of Davidson County, TN on 9/15 against Anthem Wrestling, Ryan sought a $10 million dollar judgment, stating that he signed a contract on 9/1/19 that was slated to run through 8/31/21 but that the contract was breached when Impact Wrestling Executive Scott D’Amore emailed Meehan on 6/22 to inform him that the company was no longer going to be booking him due to "recent allegations" and that Anthem Wrestling Exhibitions, LLC/IMPACT Wrestling would be "making a public statement to this effect shortly." 

Following that email, Meehan received a formal release notice (signed by Anthem Wrestling President Ed Nordholm) the same day (6/22), notifying him that the end of his contract was being “amended” to 6/22/20, thereby releasing him.   That was followed by a public statement made by the company that they had terminated Meehan.

Meehan’s lawsuit did not divulge the reasoning as to why he was released by the company, instead focusing on the allegations that Anthem Wrestling breached its contract with him via the following:

-Anthem Wrestling "failed to perform as guaranteed in the express language of the Contract by failing to follow and abide by the terms prescribed in Article VIII.  Term and Termination."

-Anthem Wrestling "failed to perform as guaranteed by failing to adhere to the express terms prescribed in Section 8.03 (a)-(i)

Meehan’s filing included a copy of his 23-page contract with the company.  The aforementioned section is titled "Termination by Promoter in the Event of Breach" and noted, "Promoter shall have the right, in its sole discretion to terminate this Agreement, or suspend this Agreement for up to 3 months, both as to services and compensation.”

The section then specifically listed a number of potential causes for action to be taken by the company against a talent, including a sub-section that features the following language:

(g) Wrestler commits any act with Promoter believes, in its reasonable business judgment, would damage Wrestler's or Promoter's reputation and/or that of its affiliate, licensees, or assigns or otherwise damages the value or integrity of the Programs, the Works or the Merchandise of which could subject Wrestler to criminal prosecution;

(h) Wrestler commits any act (other than in character in accordance with direction provided to Wrestler by Promoter's Creative team) which places or could place Wrestler or Promoter (or any of its affiliates) in a patently negative light; or

(i) Any instance of a violation for which Wrestler has already received a warning, reprimand or notification therof, provided, however, that in the case of a breach under paragraphs (a), (b), (f), (g),or (h), Promoter shall provide Wrestler with written notice of breach and a 5 day cure period.  If the Wrestler is unable to cure such breach after the expiration of the foregoing cure period despite the exercise of diligent efforts to cure same, then the Parties shall make good faith efforts for a period of not less than thirty (30) days to work together in good faith to resolve the matter, failing which Promoter shall be entitled to terminate this Agreement upon the expiry of such additional thirty (30) day period.  In the event of the suspension and/or termination of the Term of this Agreement (or promoter's obligations hereunder) Promoter shall have no further obligation to Wrestler hereunder (during such suspension and/or following such termination, as applicable) subject only to Promoter's obligation to pay royalties and to compensate Wrestler for services fully performers prior to the date of termination.  Promoter shall not be deemed to be in breach of any of its obligations under this Agreement unless and until Promoter shall have received written notice from Wrestler (specifying in detail the alleged breach and making specific reference to this paragraph and shall have failed to cure such alleged breach within thirty (30) days thereof." 

 Since Meehan’s lawsuit specifically points to this section of the contract, it would appear he is arguing that if Impact Wrestling felt he breached their contract agreement with him, by the letter of the agreement both sides entered, they should have informed him of the issue in writing and given him a five day period in which to resolve the issue they feel he breached.  Then, if he was unable to do so, the parties would have thirty days to attempt to work out a resolution before Impact would have had the actual right to terminate Meehan’s contract with the company.  By not following that procedure, Meehan is alleging that due to Anthem Wrestling's actions, he has suffered "substantial monetary damage to his income, as well as damage to his reputation." 

As noted, Meehan is seeking a judgment of ten million dollars against Anthem due to damages "he has suffered, which were caused by the Defendant's actions."  He is also requesting he be "awarded reasonable attorney fees for the prosecution of this cause" and that the all costs be covered by the Defendant, Anthem Wrestling.  He is also asking for any other "further and general relief" the Court may rule he is entitled.   

Meehan was the subject of numerous accusations during the #SpeakingOut movement on Twitter over the summer of 2020.  Meehan’s work as a professional wrestler and independent wrestling promoter halted when the allegations first came to light.  Meehan did answer some of the claims in a now-deleted YouTube video.   He is not known to have, as of this writing, been criminally charged in relation to any of the accusations, which could be a sticking point in his breach claim against Impact.

Beyond Anthem Wrestling, Meehan has filed numerous other lawsuits in recent months, all denying any claims of sexual assault against him and alleging that the women who made the claims used social media postings to defame him, hurting his ability to make money as a professional wrestler through his performances, merchandise, Patreon account, the loss of his Bar Wrestling independent wrestling promotion, his Twitch channel and Cameo video messaging.  In many of those lawsuits, Ryan is seeking sizable monetary damages.  Those lawsuits are making their way through the legal system.


If you or someone you know needs assistance, the National Sexual Assault Hotline is 800-656-4673.

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