WWE Set to Resume Live TV Matches
World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc, better known as WWE is going to begin airing live events starting Monday, according to a spokesperson. The coronavirus pandemic still poses a major threat in the United States, but WWE is looking to get back to their regular routine. WWE has been airing taped programs to their throngs of fans over the last few weeks, but live events will resume next week.
All of the shows will be aired without fans in attendance, and they will take place in two different locations in Florida. WWE Raw is the program that airs on USA Network on Monday nights, and this will be the first live broadcasted sporting event of the month.
WWE will also host NXT on USA Network on Wednesday night and will wrap up the week by airing Smackdown live on FOX on Friday night.
WWE’s training facility in Orlando, Fla., will be where the Raw and Smackdown events take place. Full Sail University in Winter Park, Fla., will be the host site of NXT on Wednesday nights.
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Full Sail University is the normal site for the NXT program, but this time the event will take place without any fans. Only essential personnel will be allowed inside the venues when the live shows are taking place.
WrestleMania 36 was forced to be shown as a taped program instead of a live event, earlier this month. WrestleMania was filmed in Orlando after it was originally scheduled to take place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. The two-night event still had great viewership ratings despite missing several of the key members.
Former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was the host of WrestleMania 36, and he has signed a contract with WWE to be an on-air personality. It is unclear if Gronkowski is going to be a part of these live events, or what other WWE personalities will be taking place.
Roman Reigns chose to sit out of the two-night WrestleMania 36 event to protect his health. Reigns is recovering from a battle with leukemia, and his doctors did not want him participating in the event. Rey Mysterio and “The Miz” also chose to sit out of WrestleMania 36, leaving the event without three of the biggest stars of WWE.
This announcement comes at a strange time for several reasons. WWE recently announced that one of their employees has tested positive for the coronavirus, but the name of the infected was not announced. The company did announce that the employee became symptomatic several weeks ago, and other staff members are currently at “low-risk” of contracting the virus.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has also issued a stay-at-home order for the entire state through April 30. The only businesses allowed to stay open are in the financial, health care, communications, food, energy, and transportation industries.
WWE or any other sporting event does not fall under the “essential business” category, and it is unclear what the Governor’s office will say about this announcement.
Almost all other sports and pro wrestling events have been suspended to stop the spread of the coronavirus. UFC recently announced that they were canceling UFC 249 scheduled to take place next weekend, and they have suspended all operations indefinitely.
All Elite Wrestling has been taping several weeks of television in an effort to provide wrestling entertainment during the pandemic.
If WWE can continue hosting these live events, it might pave the way for other sports to begin returning to play. MLB, NBA, NHL are three leagues currently trying to find a way to resume or begin their season.