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September 30, 2015

(Letter was sent to Jeff Lane of "The Brand")

Hey Jeff,

Just want to say great job. Love the shows, as they are very entertaining. I appreciate the hard work you and Vince put into every single episode. I just wanted to send a message to back up Vince on the Eric Bischoff comments. I am currently a law student at the University of Dayton, and used my WestLaw subscription to research the Terry Bollea v. World Championship Wrestling case. I read the opinion from the appellate case, written by Judge Andrews, which detailed the defamation claim, as well as a separate breach of contract claim. This is wear you can start poking holes in Bischoff's story. Bischoff uses a bit of trickery, not necessarily a lie, but more of a manipulation of the facts to craft his story of Russo being a 'liar' and costing WCW millions of dollars.

As per the opinion, WCW is charged with breach of contract. Vince Russo is only included in this case due to the Civil Procedure rules which allow for a plaintiff to consolidate their claims against multiple defendants, so long as the controversy arises out of the same common nucleus of operative fact. This is the reason the WCW is named WCW, et al in the opinion. Russo was simply joined in as a defendant against WCW due to the claims, defamation and false light invasion of privacy, being sufficiently connected to the breach of contract. This in no way means Russo has been charged with breach of contract, or even being responsible in some form or another for the events which cause the breach. This only means the lower court judge was satisfied there was enough similarities to spare the expense of separate trials.

The lower court granted summary judgement in the claims against Russo for defamation and false light invasion of privacy. This is what totally flaws Bischoff's statements, as for summary judgement to be granted, the standard is high: Reasonable minds cannot differ that the evidence provided is enough to sustain said outcome. In other words, a reasonable person cannot find evidence Russo had defamed Hogan. 

Another key is Hogan's own testimony [which most likely occurred in depositions, but could have happened at the lower court trial], "The difference in that negative speech as compared in any other negative speech that's been said about me is it's the first time anyone has ever given a negative speech without running it by me and consulting with me and all us agreeing on it that were involved."

At first glance, one may think the above statement lends credence to Hogan and Bischoff's claim. However, when you read into the statement in combination to the other testimony provided in the opinion by Hogan, you get a different picture. Hogan admits everything up to the point where he left the building was part of the angle. When you combine that with the above words, it equates more to Russo did not provide me with the exact promo he was going to cut after I left, or Hogan simply becoming paranoid, as wrestlers do, he was going to lose his spot, and therefore needs to get on the offensive, more than it equates to Russo just grabbed a microphone after doing every other aspect of the angle to the letter, just to go into business for himself. I am not buying that. Hogan admits the story was supposed to culminate in himself versus Booker T, in a champion vs. champion match. He also admits Double J and Booker T were supposed to have the match which occurred later that same night. If all that is true, why should anyone believe Russo just decided to go out there and destroy this entire angle just to shoot on Hogan? 

I know this has been too long, so I will try to wrap it up. Judge Andrews affirmed the summary judgement from the lower court in regards to the defamation and false light invasion of privacy. I highly doubt Judge Andrews is a mark, smark, or even a wrestling fan. He may of knew who Hulk Hogan was, as most of the world does do to his run in the 80s. That said, I doubt he was interested in being pulled into the ludicrous world of guys in tights complaining that someone attacked their fictional character in a wrestling ring, referring to the fictional character by his fictional name. Again, to Judge Andrews, reasonable minds cannot differ in outcome as the evidence provided in no way amounted to anything close to the standard set for defamation.

Russo cannot be held accountable for the business practices of WCW, especially when he was not the ultimate arbiter. Russo was not an accountant, Russo was not a Vice President, President, Board Member of AOL/Time Warner. Ultimately, they were the ones that had to decide to leave the Hulkster on the sideline without pay. The narrative, to steal one of Bischoff's over used phrases, of Russo went into business for himself, Russo killed WCW, Russo is a 'liar', is just not sustained by the evidence.

Thanks for all the hard work guys. I love the Brand, and I am a proud Vince Russo guy! That said, I read the court case skeptically at first, as I often do, expecting to see untruths or misinformation from both sides of the argument. After reading the opinion by Judge Andrews, I can honestly say Bischoff is the liar.

Keep it up guys,
All the Best,
Brand Member for Life

Adam Ball



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