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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

Judge suggests WWF, USA settle


By GREG OLIVER -- SLAM! Wrestling

The WWF and USA Network went to court this week to determine whether or not the WWF will stay on USA or move to another network owned by Viacom, like TNN or MTV.

WWFE chairman Vince McMahon. -- CANOE files
At the conclusion of the four day trial in the Delaware Court of Chancery on Thursday, Chancellor William Chandler suggested that because of the legal uncertainty in the case, both sides would be better off settling before he ruled, possibly by the end of the month. "I hope you smell what I'm cooking," he said, paraphrasing The Rock.

The core of the debate is the WWF contract with USA which ends in September. USA claims that it has a valid contract to televise the WWF for five more years because in April it exercised its right of first refusal and matched the Viacom's offer to broadcast RAW is WAR, WWF Livewire, WWF Superstars and Sunday Night Heat.

The Viacom deal, however, has a ton of other bonuses in addition to broadcasting the WWF shows, like films, football, a drama series, publishing, events at Viacom-owned theme parks (like Toronto's Paramount Canada's Wonderland), and radio syndication.

In his testimony on Thursday, WWFE Chairman Vince McMahon said that the strategic alliance with Viacom is vital for him to be able to compete.

"For some time now we've been battling a great big gorilla known as Time Warner. Their resources are difficult to compete with...Most other media companies have merged," McMahon said, according to a Reuters news story. "I've had fierce competition with (TV mogul) Ted Turner. Ted and I don't like each other."

McMahon argued that he felt "undervalued and under-appreciated" at the USA Network, mentioning how each year his shows are bumped for tennis and a dog show. "It's one of the stupidest things. This is not the Olympics. No one is watching. It's archaic."

The WWF has been on the USA Network for almost 20 years, including great old shows like Tuesday Night Titans right through to the flagship Monday Night RAW program.

-- with files from CANOE wire services

Judge rules in favor of WWF in USA/Viacom suit