It only seemed like a matter of time before one of the few forms of entertainment still producing shows had a brush with COVID-19. And it turns out that it happened a while ago.
Fightful has reported the existence of an internal WWE memo from April 5th, which indicated that an individual (whose name has not been revealed) tested positive for COVID-19. It went on to state that this wasn’t an in-ring performer, and that individual had no interaction with anyone from the studio where they were filming television since before they had wrapped there in late March:
“We have just been notified that (name redacted by Fightful) was diagnosed with COVID-19. WWE doctors spoke with (redacted) this morning and reported (they) last had contact with anyone at WWE on March 26 at the Performance Center. As you know, (redacted) is not an in-ring performer and we believe this matter is low-risk to you per the following chronology.
Those of you who were potentially exposed would be cleared for travel by the evening of Thursday, April 9 at the latest, since the last possible exposure to any WWE talent personnel should have been at least 14 days prior.”
Fightful also stated that they were notified about the possible positive test by “nearly a dozen members of the WWE roster, and within the industry”. And they indicated that the person in question is an “on-screen talent in the company, who is not a member of the roster”.
This article led to a quick response from WWE, who put out a release to Pro Wrestling Sheet confirming the diagnosis but indicating that the individual has fully recovered:
“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.”
WWE held their biggest event of the year, WrestleMania, or April 4th and 5th. That two-day broadcast consisted of pre-taped matches in an empty arena, which were apparently filmed before this diagnosis was confirmed.
Despite this, WWE has decided to resume filming for television at their Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, despite stay at home orders being issued at a county and state level. In fact, Vince McMahon announced that they will be conducting live broadcasts of Raw, Smackdown, and NXT going forward.
To the surprise of approximately no one, WWE talent are allegedly not pleased:
I just heard this too, and a lot of the talent I've reached out to aren't happy about it. https://t.co/AAQn1UiqOg— Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com (@SeanRossSapp) April 11, 2020
This comes on the heels of the UFC being effectively shut down for the time being due to the government regulations that has been in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.