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Wrestling Over Use of Some Old Wrestling Theme Songs in Dallas Federal Court

Wrestling fans 'round these parts remember the song "Badstreet U.S.A." -- and if you don't, you will. Riiiight -- it was the theme song for Michael Hayes (who handles the, um, vocals?) and The Fabulous Freebirds, hated rivals of Kevin, David and Kerry Von Erich back in the glory days of Channel 39 and Jack Adkisson's World Class Championship Wrestling at the old Sportatorium. Long story short: That song, along with the immortal "Freebird Forever," was written by one James Papa, who, turns out, lives in Irving. And BMI confirms: Papa wrote a number of theme songs on behalf of pro wrestlers back in the 1980s. For Ron Simmons, Papa offered "Don't Step to Ron"; for Cactus Jack, "Mr. Bang Bang"; for Rick Rude, "Simply Ravishing"; for Marc Mero, "Johnny B. Badd." There's more, but you get it.

Point is: In Dallas federal court yesterday, Papa filed suit against a North Carolina-based website, HighSpots.com, that specializes in all things wrestling -- including DVDs from the WCCW days, among them a few curious Von Erichs best-ofs. A lot of Papa's music is contained on those old videos, and Papa's unhappy about that: "These matches begin with each wrestler or team of wrestlers entering the ring to their 'introduction' music," says the suit. "Many of Plaintiff's original musical creations were used by these wrestlers for their live performances as well as the televised versions. The videos Defendant is selling contain Plaintiff's original music."

Then there's the other issue: The website's use of the "Badstreet U.S.A." logo, to which Papa says he owns the trademark. Again, not cool -- hence the suit, alleging trademark infringement, copyright infringement and violation of the Lanham Act.

James Papa


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