UPDATE: TNA Wrestling has responded to the cease and desist letter from Justin “Krimson” Carnes. The response says Krimson’s claims wouldn’t hold up as wrestlers have worn face paint dating back to the 1980s. They also note that there have been many wrestlers with clown-esque features, and that there have always been similar wrestlers who were placed together in stables. Some independent promoters have stated that it was silly for Carnes to claim any sort of copyright on the character since he’s written them looking for bookings in the past describing the character as being based off DC Comics’ “The Joker.” TNA has no pans to pull Crazzy Steve or the Decay from TV.
ORIGINAL: According to reports, TNA Wrestling received a cease and desist letter in March of this year over Crazzy Steve and The Decay stable. Ohio indy wrestler Justin Carnes, who has has wrestled as “Krimson”, “Conrad Kennedy III”, and other names since 2000, claims that TNA Wrestling is “responsible for infringement of certain copyrights that are owned or controlled by Carnes.” His “Krimson” character portrays an evil clown.
Carnes says that certain elements of TNA’s Crazzy Steve character were taken directly from his gimmick, including the red mist, mannerisms, costumes and face paint. Of course, evil clown gimmicks are nothing new in the pro wrestling industry. Carnes notes that in 2010 he was a member of a group called the “Dead Wrestlers Society” and Steve, as a part of The Decay stable, “replicated the Dead Wrestling Society model and teamed with certain other wrestlers who were similar in style to him, which is also a blatant use of Carnes’s works.”
TNA was threatened to immediately stop using the copyrights Carnes claims to own and acknowledge in writing that they will comply by April 6. If the company doesn’t respond or comply, Carnes threatens to “take further legal action”. TNA’s legal team is currently in possession of the cease and desist letter.
It should also be noted that Carnes has worked for TNA Wrestling as enhancement talent in the past.