Mike Dockins, who is well known as the ‘Gimmick Attorney,’ helping wrestlers, like Cody Rhodes, trademark things and recently spoke on Talk Is Jericho.
During the interview, Dockins pointed out that WWE picks and chooses what trademark issues they want to enforce. The company often sends cease and desist letters, but that hasn’t been the case for some.
“They’re interesting in what they choose to enforce, and what they choose not to enforce. You’ll have guys, Enzo Amore,” he uses as an example. “Enzo leaves the company and becomes nZo, it’s still Enzo, and they don’t say anything about it. But at the same time, this is the same company that said, ‘there’s a guy who works for AEW now, he was Taz with one z, we are going to make him Tazz with two z’s.’
“It was bullsh*t. The explanation, as far as my conversations with Taz, was they said, ‘we’re going to have a problem with Warner Brothers, but we don’t own it with one z, and that’s different enough.’ That’s not true. That’s not true at all, phonetics matter.”
Cody Rhodes had a longstanding battle with WWE in order to use his second name within AEW. It was an argument that Mike Dockins found to be complete nonsense because the company didn’t own Dusty Rhodes, which came first.
“So, they let Enzo or Taz, they let all those things go. But then they say, ‘well Cody Rhodes is ours.’ Well, wait a minute, Dusty Rhodes came first, so what’s the difference, it’s a family name. It is a kind of a nonsense argument,” he said. “Are you going to fight it? Are you going to burn that bridge fighting them over an I.P. Don’t burn any bridges, that’s the recommendation I give to new lawyers and people all the time. ‘If you can avoid it, avoid it. Don’t burn the bridge.’ So, you just kind of move on, but they don’t own Dusty Rhodes.”
Dockins also recalled finding interesting pictures of Cody when he was younger. This showcased him using the name years before he ever joined WWE. It also featured the name Stardust, which he would later go on to use. Dockins believes it was a pretty open and shut case.
“There was something put into place, there were conversations that were had,” he said on getting Cody’s name back. “They don’t say anything about Dustin Rhodes and have never said anything about Dustin Rhodes. He was Dustin Rhodes in WCW. Interestingly, I got a text from a buddy, I pull out my phone, and it says, ‘hey, I thought this was interesting. I found this Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling program,’ that was Dusty’s promotion in Florida. ‘Check this out,’ and he sends me a couple of pictures of it.
“One of them is of a page of ‘The Stardust Kid’ Cody Rhodes as a referee. This was years before we went to WWE. They called him, ‘The Stardust Kid’ Cody Rhodes, and he also went by Cody Rhodes in his senior year when he wrestled in high school because he knew he was going to take a scholarship. I called my buddy and said, ‘send me that immediately. Overnight it, I will reimburse you.’
“This is evidence that he was Cody Rhodes before he was ever at WWE. Again, it’s whether or not you want to fight it, and spend the money to fight them. But it’s a pretty open and shut case that he was using Cody Rhodes in the wrestling space, I want to say it was like eight years before he went to WWE.”