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WWE ACQUIRES RIGHTS, TRADEMARK TO WARGAMES FROM MLW

By Mike Johnson on 2019-02-15 19:05:00

World Wrestling Entertainment has come to terms to acquire the rights and trademarks for the Wargames match from Major League Wrestling, PWInsider.com has confirmed with multiple WWE sources.

The Wargames concept, featuring two rings and a double steel cage encased in a roof with staggered entrances leading into "The Match Beyond" that could only end in submission was originally created by Dusty Rhodes in 1987, debuting in July of that year for Jim Crockett Promotions.  It was brilliant for its time.  The dramatic, violent match became a beloved staple for the NWA and later, World Championship Wrestling after Turner Broadcasting purchased that promotion in late 1988.  Wargames was utilized regularly by WCW, which branded the Fall Brawl PPV around it, until it shut down in March 2001, purchased by World Wrestling Entertainment at the end of the Monday Night War.

While WWE eventually released a "Best of War Games" DVD set, they did not keep the Wargames match concept active.  That left the Wargames sitting, unofficially, in the public domain, as WWE never actually claimed its rights.  Indeed, a pitch to revive the match concept eventually evolved into what is now known as the Elimination Chamber.

Enter Major League Wrestling.  During the promotion's initial run, MLW used the Wargames name and concept in 2003 featuring Terry Funk leading a team against Steve Corino's team in Fort Lauderdale.  When MLW relaunched in 2007, they filed a trademark for War Games name, as they could lay claim to using it back in 2003 and there was no active trademark for it.  The plan was to use the match once a year as a major gimmick event, as they did in September 2018, back in Fort Lauderdale:

When WWE opted to revive the old concept for the NXT brand in November 2017, they learned they could not actually trademark the name, as MLW had already done so.  This led to WWE scrambling and filing trademarks on a number of old WCW TV and PPV titles, including Monday Nitro, WCW Saturday Night and Fall Brawl, among others.  With WWE using the Wargames name for the second time late last year for NXT, we are told by several WWE sources that they reached out to MLW and worked out a deal, acquiring it several months back.

As part of the deal, we are told MLW will not be using the concept or name going forward.     

PWInsider.com first learned of WWE acquiring the Wargames rights a week ago and reached out to MLW's Court Bauer at that time.  Bauer has not returned a request for comment.  However, after being told of WWE acquiring the rights from a third WWE source this evening, PWInsider.com is going forward with our story.

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