Daffney/TNA situation could change wrestling

DaffneyIt has been around nine months since we had any update on Daffney‘s Workers’ Compensation claim against TNA, but Ringbelles has secured some information on the situation, and it could potentially lead to one of the biggest shake-ups in wrestling history. It could cause ripple effects not just through TNA, but also to WWE.

It was always telling that Daffney (Shannon Spruill) filed a Workers’ Comp lawsuit instead of a personal injury one, which could have been another avenue for her to be compensated for concussions which she suffered on TNA shows and effectively ended her in-ring career. The reason for that is because she wants to test the claim that wrestlers are “independent contractors”, which means that they are responsible for their own medical insurance and do not enjoy the same sort of protection and benefits that a regular employee would – similar to the lawsuit that Raven, Mike Sanders and Chris Kanyon filed against WWE back in 2008 – but was dismissed, partly because their claims were barred by statute of limitations.

TNA is to mediate with Spruill tomorrow – if a settlement is not reached, the case will go to court, when it will then be up to a judge to see if wrestlers under a contract, booked to appear at places on certain dates, be told to execute a planned outcome and not have the freedom to accept booking elsewhere are truly “independent contractors” or if they should be classified as employees. Rather than just looking to satisfy her medical bills which have left her out of pocket, Spruill’s case could create a legal judgement which means all wrestlers in places like WWE and TNA could legally have to become staff.

Were that to happen, both companies would likely have to face huge tax bills as well as an increase in costs due to having to sort out benefits and insurance. On the flip side, the wrestlers on the roster would have medical cover for their injuries. That would be more of an issue in TNA than WWE, considering wrestlers working for Vince McMahon are generally well taken care of, while there have been cases in TNA such as with Ron “R-Truth” Killings, Konnan and Jesse Neal where medical bills were a cause of tension, and April Hunter pointed out having to sign a medical waiver was a big reason why she never signed to wrestle with them.

It is possible that TNA would not want a lot of its dirty laundry aired in public as part of a court case where there could be a chance that a judge could decide that wrestlers should be classified as employees. There may be a settlement at the mediation stage tomorrow, with a confidentiality agreement signed which would bar Spruill from discussing the case any further. However, should that not happen and mediation ends without a settlement, the issue will be taken to court for a hearing on the motion on the same day.

Tomorrow could be a massive day for pro wrestling and pro wrestlers. We’ll keep you posted.

– Lee Burton


7 thoughts on “Daffney/TNA situation could change wrestling

  1. Daff Deserves compensation for what she did for TNA IMO. TNA is a garbage promotion IMO; but Daffney gave as much as any human could be asked to give to help that promotion achieve something that would help them excel beyond WWE. Daff deserves to be compensated by TNA no doubt. I love that woman for what she has given to wrestling, but I must admit that this fault of the lousy mainstream promotions hurts all of wrestling in a way. I just hope that Daff gets what she truly deserves, and that we can get past this world where promoters don’t care that their talent break themselves and don’t even get so much as a “Thank You” bonus for their sacrifice.


  2. It’s 2013; it’s time to get wrestling promotions out of the dark ages and time to pay for their wrestlers’ insurance. It’s also time to call them what they really are, and that’s employees. If you have so little control of what you can and can’t do, there’s no way you should legally be called “independent.” If wrestling were recognized as a legitimate sport, this issue would not still be in question. Jesse Ventura once mentioned that most lawmakers will wave off any legal issues in the business by saying “It’s just wrestling” and try to turn a blind eye…until another wrestler dies a premature death. Maybe this time wrestlers will get their due.


  3. I’m in the boat of she deserves
    fair compensation she is seeking
    since wrong is wrong no matter
    how you slice it.As far as Dixie
    Carter goes she is one of those
    who hasn’t a clue about wrestling
    so unfire Jeff Jarrett and let him
    run it since he knows the business
    like the back of his hand.


  4. To get the press to take notice of the ‘independent contractor’ farce, someone needs to calculate how much tax the WWE has avoided paying by using this classification.

    With budget and tax deficits a hot topic with the media, this angle plays nicely into current media and political trends.


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