WWE’s Associate Medical Director, Dr. Jeffrey Dugas, made the following statement:
A developmental talent, who was last on site at WWE’s training facility on Tuesday, June 9, has tested positive for COVID-19. Since that time, no other individuals that attended the facility have reported symptoms. However, out of an abundance of caution and to ensure the health and safety of the company’s performers and staff, all talent, production crew and employees on site at the training and production facilities will be tested for COVID-19 immediately. Following the test results, WWE plans to proceed with its normal television production schedule.
As a result, tonight’s scheduled SmackDown tapings have been postponed.
WWE has not named the wrestler that tested positive, but according to Satin’s report, he or she is a Performance Center trainee, and is not yet on NXT television. WWE’s been worryingly reticent to go into much detail on their COVID-19 testing process, which seems to amount to nothing much beyond taking temperature.
WWE has been taping episodes of Raw, SmackDown and NXT from their Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, since mid-March. While originally, no fans whatsoever were present, in recent weeks Performance Center trainees have been populating the ringside area behind tall plastic barricades to separate the spectators from the performers.
WWE has been able to continue performing in the state of Florida due to professional wrestling’s unexpected designation as an “essential business” by Florida governor Ron DeSantis. WWE’s chief competitor in the United States, All Elite Wrestling, has also been operating out of Florida since the pandemic.
Bizarrely, WWE let a small amount of fans not under contract to last night’s episode of Raw, but discouraged them from wearing face masks. WWE producer Kevin Dunn allegedly told some fans, who were largely friends and family of developmental talents, “if you want to wear a mask, you’re not a real fan.”
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!
Do you love wrestling? Do you have strong opinions on AEW, WWE, NJPW, Impact, ROH, and the independent scene? Do you like to write about wrestling? Then we want you on our team. AIPT is currently recruiting wrestling writers. Apply to write for AIPT today!