(CN) - Dozens of retired World Wrestling Entertainment wrestlers are suing Vince McMahon and his company over the concussions they claim to have suffered from decades of bumps in the ring.
Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, Joe "Road Warrior Animal" Laurinaitis and 51 other performers sued their former employer in Connecticut Federal Court on Monday for racketeering, misclassifying them as independent contractors, and hiding the hazards of their job.
They claimed to suffer Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and other maladies from the "repetitive head trauma" of performing their wrestling moves "correctly."
"WWE wrestling matches, unlike other contact sports, involve very specific moves that are scripted, controlled, directed and choreographed by WWE," the plaintiffs stated. "As such, the moves that resulted in Named Plaintiffs' head injuries were the direct result of the WWE's actions."
Also, they claimed that WWE refused to provide them with health insurance and publicly questioned the CTE diagnoses in the deaths of Chris Benoit and Andrew "Test" Martin.
WWE responded to the suit by calling it "ridiculous."
The list of plaintiffs is a who's who of wrestling's past stars, including "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff, King Kong Bundy, Ahmed Johnson and Ken Patera.
Demolition members Bill "Ax" Eadie and Barry "Smash" Darsow joined forces again in the lawsuit, as did The Powers of Pain (Terry "Warlord" Szopinski and Sione "Barbarian" Vailahi).
Dave and Earl Hebner, the identical twin referees involved in Hulk Hogan's controversial WWE title loss in 1988, are also among the plaintiffs.
Even some "enhancement talent," who did the job of losing matches on television, joined the lawsuit. These names include Don Driggers and "Beef Stew" Lou Marconi.
The wrestlers stated that WWE "deliberately ignored and actively concealed" information that could help them deal with their injuries from "diseases such as CTE that can result in suicide, drug abuse and violent behavior."
"WWE placed corporate gain over its wrestlers' health, safety, and financial security, choosing to leave the Plaintiffs severely injured and with no recourse to treat their damaged minds and bodies," the plaintiffs said.
They included the following quote from CTE expert Dr. Bennett Omalu, who Will Smith portrayed in the 2015 movie Concussion: "The deleterious effects of repeated concussions to brain cells and nerve fibers are additive and cumulative."
WWE instituted a Wellness Policy in 2006, but the plaintiffs said it was "too little too late" for them and "takes no account of former wrestlers at all."
The plaintiffs acknowledged that WWE has donated more than $2 million to the Concussion Legacy Foundation, which was founded by former wrestler Chris "Harvard" Nowinski.
However, they stated that "no wrestler's brain has been studied by CLF since the WWE donated to the organization."
According to the plaintiffs, WWE was aware of the effects of concussions in 1995, when it scripted a story of Shawn Michaels collapsing in the ring after getting kicked in the head by Owen Hart.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs told stories of their battles in the ring and their aftereffects.
Johnny "The Bull" Hugger said he was knocked out during a match in 2002 but was told by a WWE doctor to "shake it off."
"If you spoke up about injuries, you would be labeled 'injury prone' and lose your spot," said Patera, a former Olympic weightlifter.