Coronavirus hits WWE just as league plans to resume LIVE shows in closed sets
WWE confirmed that someone closely associated with them has been infected with coronavirus, being the first known case. However, the wrestlers will push forward with their scheduled events. On Saturday, the league confirmed that an employee had come down with corona after ProWrestlingSheet broke the news. Apparently, a cameraman (not a wrestler) contracted COVID-19 in recent weeks.
According to PWS, the person, whose identity was not revealed, started showing possible signs of COVID-19 in late March after WWE's last batch of tapings, including 'WrestleMania 36'. He went to dinner with some hospital worker friends, and then got tested just soon after.
The test returned positive and the person was immediately sent off to quarantine and remained there. WWE says, "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."
It added, "The employee had no contact with anyone from WWE since being exposed to those two individuals, is doing well, and made a complete recovery."
And so, the league will carry on with the scheduled events on closed sets, with essential personnel only. WWE has continued this for a while and received a fair amount of criticism for it too.
The news comes after WWE had confirmed its plans to begin live broadcasts without fans again next week after weeks of recording shows in advance on closed sets.
“We believe it is now more important than ever to provide people with a diversion from these hard times,” WWE said in a statement. “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.”
While WWE continues to tape, the rest of the pro wrestling world has been stalled and after the UFC was pressured by California Governor Gavin Newsom, ESPN and Disney into canceling UFC 249 and ultimately suspending all events.
Roman Reigns, whose immunity had been compromised due to his battle with leukemia, had pulled out of 'WrestleMania 36' due to concerns over his health. The decision reportedly came after The Miz showed up to a taping not feeling well. The Miz did not participate in 'WrestleMania 36'.
In the weeks leading up to 'Wrestle Mania 36', WWE had taken innumerable precautions, including taking everyone's temperature before entering the performance center and ensuring the practice of social distancing backstage but is not testing employees for COVID-19 when they arrive.
All Elite Wrestling, which airs 'Dynamite' on Wednesday’s on TNT, is said to have recorded enough footage on closed sets in Florida and Georgia.