WWF wrestles with Playboy

Sable spread sparks suit claiming ownership of name

What’s a wrestling organization to do? Playboy is featuring a photo spread in next month’s issue on the blonde bombshell Sable, who became famous as one of the featured wrestlers of the World Wrestling Federation.

The only problem is that Sable left the WWF earlier this year, so that all of the free publicity generated by the Playboy pictorial will go for naught.

Wrestling observers say that’s the main reason the WWF has sued Playboy in federal court in New York, asking for an injunction to stop the distribution of the issue, which hits newsstands on Oct. 19.

In the suit, the WWF, claiming intellectual property rights, says it owns the Sable name and character, which were only borrowed by Rena Mero, the wrestler who parlayed her sex-kitten image into national celebrity over the last few years. The WWF has released Sable videos under titles like “Sable Unleashed.” Her favorite garb is tight-fitting leather cat suits.

The WWF also says in the suit that Playboy owes it some of the profits from the current issue, which includes pictures of Sable published without the WWF’s permission.

Playboy had no comment on the suit, which the WWF filed on Sept. 20.