WWE has been the subject of a lot of criticism after news got out about their decision to continue doing weekly live shows instead of taping several weeks of Raw, SmackDown and NXT shows this weekend as they originally planned.
WWE issued the following statement to ESPN:
“We believe it is now more important than ever to provide people with a diversion from these hard times. We are producing content on a closed set with only essential personnel in attendance following appropriate guidelines while taking additional precautions to ensure the health and wellness of our performers and staff. As a brand that has been woven into the fabric of society, WWE and its Superstars bring families together and deliver a sense of hope, determination and perseverance.”
As previously noted, WWE was in the middle of taping SmackDown until Vince McMahon decided to scrap those plans and have the show air as close to live as possible. All taping plans were scrapped and Raw will be live this Monday.
The decision to continue live shows is interesting since there is a stay-at-home order in Florida that only allows for essential businesses to stay open. UFC also tried to run a show on an Indian reservation in California but pressure from state officials caused ESPN to tell Dana White to stand down and not run shows. It is not clear why the Florida governor is continuing to allow WWE to run shows.
The office of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis did not respond to ESPN’s request for comment as of this writing.
Earlier today, WWE confirmed that one on-air talent not on the roster tested positive for COVID-19 after the last television tapings and that person has since recovered. WWE has not said the person’s name or what their job is with the company.
Here is WWE’s statement on the positive test:
“A WWE employee has tested positive for COVID-19. We believe this matter is low risk to WWE talent and staff, as the individual and a roommate became symptomatic in the days following exposure to two people working in acute health care on the evening of March 26, after WWE’s TV production on a closed set was already complete. The employee had no contact with anyone from WWE since being exposed to those two individuals, is doing well, and made a complete recovery.”