Two former professional wrestlers accused the WWE of ignoring concussions and having performers do dangerous stunts that left them with serious brain injuries.
The men -- Vito LoGrasso, 50, and Evan Singleton, 22 -- filed a potential class-action lawsuit in federal court in Philadelphia that echoes thousands of suits pending against the NFL. The NFL litigation, pending in the same courthouse, could yield a $1 billion settlement if a judge approves a proposed deal.
LoGrasso performed under the names Big Vito and Skull Von Krush, while Singleton wrestled under the name Adam Mercer. LoGrasso says he suffers from migraines, memory loss, depression and deafness. Mercer claims he is disabled because of brain trauma he suffered early in his career, which began at age 19.
The 40-page complaint alleges that WWE mistreated its wrestlers and claims it “negligently or purposefully failed to diagnose concussions.”
"Under the guise of providing entertainment, the WWE has, for decades, subjected its wrestlers to extreme physical brutality that it knew, or should have known, caused ... long-term irreversible bodily damage, including brain damage," the lawsuit said.
Konstantine Kyros, the plaintiffs’ attorney, said there are striking parallels between the NFL’s litigation and his clients’ complaint.
“The NFL lawsuit articulates a lot of the issues that are present in the WWE, namely ignorance and the downplaying of risks of repetitive concussions,” Kyros said.
The suit describes some of the more dramatic tricks performed by WWE wrestlers, including the flying head butt and the chair shot, which involves striking a performer in the head with a folding chair. The complaint alleges that wrestlers are encouraged to get hurt and cites several cases where wrestlers were knocked unconscious, including a 2007 incident in which Candice Michelle fell from the top turnbuckle, landing on her neck.
A lawyer for the WWE addressed the complaint in a statement to ABC News.
"WWE has never concealed any medical information related to concussions, or otherwise, from our talent," the WWE said. "We will vigorously contest this lawsuit."
The complaint cites findings that two former wrestlers -- Chris Benoit and Andrew “Test” Martin -- were found after their deaths to have the brain condition chronic traumatic encephalopathy, known as CTE, a degenerative brain disease found in people with a history of repeated head trauma.
A similar case emerged in Oregon last year, brought by William Albert Haynes III, who wrestled in the 1980s and 1990s as Billy Jack Haynes. Kyros’ law firm also represents Haynes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.