WWE’s Live TV Plan After Talent Tests Positive for COVID-19

WWE Champion Brock Lesnar

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WWE confirmed one of its on-air talents was recently diagnosed with COVID-19 but that the pro wrestling company would continue to create shows over the coming weeks despite just about every other high profile sports entertainment company shutting things down.

Per ProWrestlingSheet that someone within WWE had contracted the coronavirus:

“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.”

ProWrestlingSheet suggested the statement offered by an unnamed company spokesperson meant WWE would continue to regularly schedule its upcoming shows.

ESPN’s Marc Raimondi confirmed that to be the case on Saturday, and also confirmed the company was planning to move forward with live TV matches on Monday. Previously, the company had prerecorded its matches on a closed set at WWE’s training facility in Orlando, Florida.


Unnamed WWE Employee Was Quarantined

Per the original ProWrestlingSheet report, the unnamed person began showing symptoms in late March after the company finished its last batch of prerecorded matches, including those for WrestleMania 36.

Also per that report, the unnamed talent was someone who makes a living in front of the cameras but was not one of the wrestlers.

After the person was tested and confirmed positive for COVID-19, he or she immediately went into quarantine.

Per ProWrestlingSheet, that WWE employee is now on the mend and in recovery.


COVID-19 Forced Big Changes on WWE

Like other sports entertainment businesses, the WWE was forced over recent weeks by the coronavirus pandemic to change the way it operated.

But while most other sports entertainment companies simply postponed or canceled their events, WWE continued to create its content via closed sets with essential personnel only. That move gave the company’s signature annual pro wrestling event, WrestleMania, a virtual monopoly on sports content last weekend.

In fact, WrestleMania 36 was “the most social event in WWE history” with “a total of 13.8 million total social media interactions on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter…up 57 percent from WrestleMania 35 and the most in WWE history” per a company press release.

So trudging forward while others halted in the wake of the virus did at least pay off in that respect.


Will WWE Continue Producing New Shows?

Still, one wonders just how much longer the WWE can continue to operate in this current climate. After all, the UFC was finally forced to postpone UFC 249 after ESPN officials made UFC president Dana White “stand down”.

Like ESPN’s parent company, Disney, WWE is also a publically traded company. While the premier pro wrestling company in the world has continued to operate during this global pandemic in a way that suggests its somehow immune to the advice of public health officials all over the planet, it might just be a matter of time before it also is forced to go into hiatus.

If anything, the news that someone within that company was diagnosed with COVID-19 should at least give everyone operating within that enterprise something to think about before the company begins live shows again this upcoming week.

With WrestleMania 36 complete and what’s typically considered the slowest part of the entire pro wrestling year going on right now (at least within the WWE), maybe it would make some sense for WWE to hit the pause button on its activities, at least for a little while.

As for now, WWE’s next Raw episode on USA Network this Monday evening is scheduled to be a live show.

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Twitter: @Kelsey_McCarson


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