It’s not often that professional wrestling, or “Sports Entertainment” as Vince McMahon likes to call it, enters the mainstream of society. However a small group of wrestlers known as the Bullet Club – who are not part of McMahon’s WWE – were able to get their merchandise on the shelves and racks of Hot Topic, a clothing chain with 642 locations across the country. As a matter of fact, some Bullet Club members aren’t signed to exclusive contracts with any one company and have the ability to wrestle across the globe for promotions such as Ring of Honor (in the US), New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japan), WCPW (in the UK), and others; and with much success in the ring and out. Deadspin reports, “not even counting the shirts,” The Young Bucks (a team of brothers Matt & Nick Jackson who are members of the Bullet Club) “are probably the highest paid non-WWE American wrestlers.”

As you probably guessed, their success has caught the attention of McMahon who has been unable to sign the popular duo. In a throwback to a storyline from WWE in the late 1990’s the Young Bucks along with other members of the Bullet Club filmed an “invasion” of a WWE event. The “invasion” involved the wrestlers using bullhorns to talk to a couple dozen fans several hours before the WWE event, and then the wrestlers and fans walked around the outside of the venue chanting “Too Sweet” – a catchphrase popularized by the former WWE wrestling faction The Kliq.

The next day, WWE sent a Cease and Desist letter to The Young Bucks over the “Too Sweet” catchphrase & hand gesture (index finger & pinkie finger are raised while the thumb touches the tips of middle two fingers). Pro Wrestling Sheet reports, “WWE is demanding the [Young] Bucks stop using WWE intellectual property in-ring and on any merchandise immediately. If not, they may be hit with $150K in damages or more.”

There’s just one legal problem with WWE’s demand; WWE doesn’t own a trademark on the gesture or the phrase. Back in 2015 WrestlingNews.co reported “that WWE was looking to trademark the… hand signal that was used by members of the NWO in the late 1990s and currently being used by The Bullet Club on shows and on Bullet Club merchandise… according to a 2011 press release, North Carolina State University owns the trademark,” a fact acknowledged by the WWE!

The man who popularized the gesture in the 90’s Kevin Nash recently said, “If they want to call it ‘too sweet,’ that’s fine. To me, it’s like, really? I’m sure somebody threw the peace sign up for the first time. What are you gonna get intellectual rights on that?”

And AJ Styles, a former Bullet Club member who is now wrestling in WWE, said, “I think it’s legal for everybody to use it and have a good time with it.”

Whether one agrees with the concept of Intellectual Property or not, from a legal standpoint if NC State isn’t trying to stop people from using the gesture without first asking permission, WWE doesn’t have a leg on which to stand. Regardless, The Young Bucks have taken the Cease and Desist order in stride, putting out merchandise mocking the order, and that makes the entire situation just Too Sweet!