On March 31, 2005, one of the biggest showdowns in the history of Apartment Championship Wrestling took place, not in an apartment or a hotel room, but in the courtroom of the First District Court of Illinois. Masahiro X, current President and representative of ACW, sought an injunction preventing the release of ACW Video #6, entitled “RESPECT.” Masahiro X, through his attorney, claims that the video includes footage that casts members of the promotion in a bad light and that the footage was not approved by the management team.
Tanako X, who was recently removed from the promotion’s Presidency, appeared at the hearing arguing that the material on the tape captured willing participants of the promotion who were under contract to the promotion and that their appearances in the video are covered by their contracts.
The court also considered arguments on whether the promotion was bound by Masahiro X’s promise that Daniella Cartier would be afforded a title shot if she is successful in defeating 10 consecutive opponents. Masahiro argued that his promise was made in a moment of duress and that the ultimate decision on whether to give a competitor a title shot lies within the purview of the ACW Booking Committee and not that of the President alone.
The footage in question was believed to have focused on the actions of Rosario Delgado in striking Cartier with a flower pot during a match. Although the act was a clear violation of the promotion’s rules, Delgado was not punished. Tanako X, though no longer the President of the promotion, is still the majority owner of the Audio-Visual division of the company. Cartier, supported by Tanako, has asserted that ACW is using a double-standard in suspending her while not suspending others for similar transgressions. Cartier and Delgado both testified but neither would comment following the hearing. The Court issued a temporary injunction halting the release of the video and the update of the website.
On April 8, 2005 the District Court made several rulings. The court upheld the temporary injunction and issued a permanent injunction as it pertains to a particular portion of the video, but will allow the release of the rest of the video. In particular, the footage that depicted the improper actions by Delgado will be included within the video release. The material that will not be released focused on a post-match argument between Cartier, Masahiro X and other members of the ACW staff in which she accused them of ignoring Rosario’s actions, of holding a double-standard and of trying to force her out of the promotion. While the incident was caught on tape, the court ruled that because Masahiro did not sign a talent release, footage of him could not be used for publication and distribution without his express authorization and without proper compensation. Tanako X promised to appeal that part of the ruling, arguing that the ruling violates first amendment protections.
Tanako X has announced that the video will now be released on May 1, 2005 and that for the first five days of its release, the video will be available for $24.95, a 30% discount off of the regular list price as a thank you to loyal customers for the inconvenience of the video being postponed.
The other decision by the court focused on Daniella Cartier and her title quest. The court found that Masahiro X’s promise to give Cartier a title shot was sufficient to constitute a valid contract offer and that Daniella, in reliance upon the offer, engaged in the match against Delgado, which constituted sufficient consideration to form acceptance of the offer. The court mandated that Cartier must be afforded a title shot if she in fact wins all ten matches and that the title shot must be allowed before the end of 2005.
For Tanako X, the courtroom battle seems to have been the opening salvo in what he promises to be a war to reclaim control of the promotion. “I am so confident that this is the first stage in regaining control over ACW that I will even tell Masahiro how I’m going to do it,” says Tanako. “I am going to exercise my options on ownership of the Audio-Visual division of the company and by September I should own at least 90% of the division. With control of the video production and distribution as well as receiving the lion’s share of the profits, I will financially cripple the promotion. With control of the web publishing, I will oversee 65% of the company’s major marketing vehicle (which accounts for approximately 80% of ACW’s marketing campaign). By the end of December, the board of directors and the investors will be calling for Masahiro’s head, and since I have the right of first refusal, I’ll buy all of his shares for pennies on the dollar. Now you know Masahiro. Let’s see you try to stop me!”