(The Legal aspects of the Mr. R Angle Part III)

Welcome back. On the road today in Newport Beach for the Solo and Small Firm Summit. I always enjoy these opportunities to learn more ways to better my craft and my business. To tie it into wrestling, it is like those young wrestlers who take the time and spend the money to attend seminars by well regarded and well-traveled wrestling veterans when they can. We will have more on what we have picked up here in a later post. Let us finish off the Ted-Dibiase Mr. R issue today. In Part I, we took a look at the backstory and contract between Ted Dibiase and the not-too-mysterious Mr. R. In Part I we also examined what forms a contract and what kind of contract was formed between Dibiase and Mr. R. In Part II, we took a look at some of the problems in contracting with a masked man. Today, we finish off by looking at what Dibiase’s attorney might have argued on his behalf to negate the title change and what legal theories could be used to combat that position. What would have happened if Tommy Rich WAS under the mask? As you know by now, Brad Armstrong was under the hood. But, what if Tommy Rich was under the mask? What if Dibiase, for some reason, was pinned by the now-unmasked Rich? I think it would have made for an interesting angle. Especially if Dibiase’s lawyers got involved.

Dibiase’s lawyers could argue the contract was void

Keep in mind that Rich was banned from wrestling during this period. Because of this, Dibiase’s legal team could have argued that there was no contract at all because Rich was facing no obligations and could not legally contract for the match. Because he was banned, Rich had no legal basis to challenge for the match. Legally, had Rich  been unmasked and still won, he could not defend that title. Georgia Championship Wrestling (“GCW”) would be faced with the prospect of watching a man who can not defend their most important championship winning the title while banned, it can be argued that the appropriate response would be to declare the contract void from its inception. The basis for this is that Rich would not be competent under these circumstances (as he legally does not exist during the ban). In many ways the contract was unenforceable. If Rich beat Dibiase, but Dibiase refused to relinquish the championship belt, Rich could not use the courts to force Dibiase to turn over the belt nor could he force GCW to recognize him as champion because GCW would have to rescind its previously sanctioned stipulation that Rich be banned.

Of course, the GCW could determine that Dibiase had validly lost a title match and that Rich, despite his win, could not be recognized as champion and therefore the title would be held up until a new champion could be determined.

But, that, my friends, is another angle for another day. Let us review what we learned:

  • Oral contracts are just as enforceable as written contracts.
  • Oral contracts may be subject to statutory provisions that require a contract for certain tasks or transactions must be in writing (i.e. real estate).
  • Contracts require an offer , acceptance of that offer, and consideration for that offer (can be a promise in exchange for a promise thus legally obligating all) .
  • Contracts may be null and void from the start, thus releasing the people involved from any obligations.
  • Contract review can be pretty fun.

And finally, here is the blow-off for the angle.