In what first appeared to be a reasonable effort to protect its trademarks, reports in August revealed that WWE was banning The Dudley Boyz from using their names and gimmicks outside of the company. When the scope of the ban grew to include Spike Dudley, Internet fans went into a frenzy discussing WWE’s “flexing of its corporate muscles.” Fans questioned what WWE had to lose by letting wrestlers continue to perform under the names and gimmicks they made famous.
However, WWE’s attempt to control former wrestlers does not appear to be over. The company recently informed both Justin Credible (Peter Polaco) and Billy Kidman (Pete Gruner) that they can no longer use their popular wrestling names on the independent circuit. WWE has also asked the webmaster of Spike Dudley’s website to remove photos from his tenure with the company.
And, it doesn’t stop with wrestlers. WWE’s legal department has turned its attention to Hardcore Homecoming, citing infringement of trademarks and intellectual property. WWE has asked the venues hosting the events for background information on the shows; the company also contacted the distributor of the first Hardcore Homecoming DVD under the similar notion of a breach.