WWE to air live weekly programming

By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE will be running live editions of Raw, NXT, and Friday Night Smackdown each week from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. The company was scheduled to hold marathon tapings this week through the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, but the change was made to go live starting with Monday’s Raw.

Powell’s POV: It’s unclear whether WWE 205 Live will stream live each week, but all indications are that WWE will be moving forward with the show. It’s insane to me that the state of Florida is under a stay at home order, yet WWE will be allowed to have talent and crew members flying in and out of Orlando several times a week.

Readers Comments (12)

  1. Jason, at least you and your team are able to critique wrestling each and every week now. You and your staff still have the opportunity to make money off of both AEW and WWE with weekly reviews. Wrestling podcasters continue to run their shows each and every week. It may not be the smartest decision to go live, but at least they are giving you content to write about. People are interested in your content of what you think. Be grateful that Vince is a greedy son of a bitch because people are coming to your site as a result and still have the opportunity to make money.

    • We would have had content to review if they had done marathon tapings too. To your point, Chris, that’s just it, this is coming from someone who benefits from their decision to move forward and yet I still feel strongly that it’s wrong.

      They flew a bunch of wrestlers and crew in with the idea of taping through MITB, then sent them all home because they opted to run weekly live shows instead. Some of those wrestlers and the crew are local, but it’s still a risk.

      Whatever safety precautions are being taken by WWE (and this applies to every other pro wrestling company) are nice, but it’s still a risk that’s not worth taking. I was more comfortable with the idea of doing marathon tapings and minimizing the risk in the process, but now they will be coming and going throughout the week.

      The responsible wrestlers and crew members will go home and self quarantine. But we’re talking how many wrestlers and crew? How many of them will claim to be taking every precaution when they are not? How many of them think the risk is overrated?

      I actually had a friend invite me and two other friends over to his garage for beers last night. I love this friend dearly, but I wanted to strangle him. He’s still out working construction-type jobs and doing food delivery on the side. He has a family of four. And now he wants us to come to his house despite the threat that he poses to us (including one diabetic friend) and we pose to his family? All for a couple of beers and some socializing? He thinks the concern is overblown even though we have a mutual friend who tested positive for the virus earlier this week and, as a breast cancer survivor, may end up fighting for her survival because of the virus.

      I bring all of this up to illustrate that some people are taking this very seriously and others are not for a variety of reasons. The wrestlers and crew are just like the rest of society, so I’m sure some are taking every precaution while others are more like my friend, who thankfully ended up home alone with his family last night.

      So now these wrestlers will come and go once each week. They may show up without symptoms and pass WWE’s, um, stringent temperature test, yet they could be passing along the virus to the person(s) they work work either in the ring or at ringside. They could also spread it while traveling if they live out of state, and they could bring it home to their families (and friends if they are irresponsible), and then they or their family members could go to the stores and unknowingly spread it others, and so on.

      We’re all being asked to make sacrifices. Many business are closing, hurting, or seeking help. And while I do feel fortunate to not be in that position (at least not yet) and that my girlfriend is able to do her job at home temporarily, I’m not going to turn a blind eye to what these companies are doing simply because it helps me. That would be selfish and just plain wrong.

      Why isn’t WWE asked to make the same sacrifices as everyone else? Not that I would even if it were an option right now, but I can’t legally walk across the street and enter my neighbor’s house with permission even though we’ve both followed the stay at home rules since they went into effect in our state on March 16, but WWE can run three pro wrestling shows each week? Really?

      The belief is that Vince wants to run live shows because running taped shows could violate his television contracts. In other words, he is out to protect his business while doing it under the guise of it all being for the fans. Plenty of other business owners would surely like to do what they can to keep their business strong or even to outright save their businesses, yet they are not being afforded the same luxury. They may open things up soon (prematurely in my opinion), but they have not yet. So what makes Vince special? Why don’t Vince and the other promoters have to play by the same rules as the rest of us?

      If nothing else, the Florida government should address this openly. Tell us why this is happening in their state. Explain why WWE is apparently considered essential. I may still disagree, but at least it would be out in the open rather than seemingly flying under the radar because it’s pro wrestling and some people still view it as a joke. My apologies for writing a novel, but at least now you have a better understanding of where I’m coming from.

      • I can understand fully where you are coming from. After all, I am upset that my parents are going to my 82 year old grandmother’s house for Easter tomorrow along with my aunt and uncle. My wife and I are choosing to stay home because it is the responsible thing to do. So I get what you are saying on a personal level.

        I am not sure how they (WWE) are going to able to run the episodes each every week for one show, let alone three shows. They should be taping these shows because the Florida governor can shut it down at any time, but then again, we don’t know everything that is going on either. I don’t think Vince is forcing people to work either, ie, Roman Reigns. I heard that most of the wrestlers still want to put on a show and work too. I still think they are still going to end up taping a lot of content and are going to do some parts live. They have money to fly people on private jets too. I am just grateful that people have jobs, because it is a horrible time right now and people have been laid off and struggling to get food on the plate. I am just saying be grateful and I do appreciate your articles and reviews each and every day! Be safe.

  2. Can someone tell me why WWE gets to run shows and get ESPN coverage but UFC gets shut down by ESPN. I love both but they’re practically the same in terms of how many people are in the ring/octagon.

    • The coverage on ESPN is rebroadcast. Not live events. The governor of California got involved to shut down the live ufc event. Evidently none of the Florida government care about stopping WWE or enforcing their own mandates.

      • ESPN had Charlotte on for an interview on Monday to talk about Wrestlemania and then cancelled UFC 249 on Thursday. There’s a lot of hypocrisy in those two situations

        • ESPN didn’t air a live wrestlemania. They were scheduled to air a live ufc event, and smartly suggested that the ufc cancel the event. 2 totally different scenarios. ESPN could still air ufc rebroadcast s like they did with WWE.

          • ESPN promoted wrestlemania for at least a week. What’s the difference between them promoting an upcoming event and airing another one. They might not have aired this years Wrestlemania but they were certainly condoning it.

  3. Classic Vince being Vince here. The bloody ring could be on fire, and he’d still want the show to go on. I don’t have an issue with them wanting to do shows, but man, be smart and do marathon tapings. You’ve got no live audience, so audience fatigue wouldn’t be an issue. Regardless of if the wrestlers are willing or not, why put all those people at risk with all the travel? Beyond just concern for their safety, they’re also uninsured independent contractors. If someone falls ill, it’d be catastrophic on multiple levels.

  4. According to reports from people at other websites(which I wont name) WWE is only allowed a certain number of taped shows a year from USA and FOX and if they continued they would likely be in breach of contract.

    Kinda forces your hand when the people you have a contract with are making you produce live shows because they wont let you do any more taped ones.

    • I’d imagine they’d be able to challenge a breach of contract in court, given circumstances. I’m no lawyer, so I don’t know. Just thinking aloud here, what seperates WWE from other major sports, who I’d think would have similar contracts to provide live content?

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