While much of the news related to both professional wrestling and COVID-19 in recent months has largely been focused on WWE and the fallout of having to move WrestleMania 36 (and all their other programming) into an empty gym, it’s easy to forget that other wrestling companies are currently trying to navigate their way through this new landscape as well. We’ve already learned about WWE’s enhanced safety procedures for every TV broadcast, and we’ve also found out that AEW is testing everyone, crew included, for COVID-19 before each episode of Dynamite.
But what about Impact Wrestling? The long-running company is still producing a TV product of their own, airing every Tuesday night on AXS TV, taping inside an empty Skyway Studios in Nashville — though participation has been voluntary, as evidenced by their world champion Tessa Blanchard staying home instead of competing at Rebellion.
A new interview with wrestlers Rohit Raju and Cousin Jake of the Deaners sheds some light on the safety precautions Impact has put in place at their tapings:
IMPACT! Wrestling, like its competitors WWE and AEW, has taken strict measures to ensure the safety of their talent and staff. Instead of a tiny locker room, the wrestlers were in a large facility to get ready for their matches, and when they were finished wrestling they had to immediately head to their single-occupant hotel rooms.
“You couldn’t even enter the building unless the doctor cleared you,” says [Cousin Jake]. “Everyone had to be far apart from each other. Everything still ran very smoothly.”
The article also makes mention of how different this experience was for the performers, with Raju commenting:
“It was wild, man. You go there and usually, everyone’s hugging each other, high-fiving or shaking hands, but as soon as you get there everybody was away from each other with their masks on trying to keep their distance and you really only talk to and were close to the person you were doing the matches with. Luckily I was around the same people, give or take one or two.”
With previous reports stating Impact recorded between six and eight weeks’ worth of episodes back in early April, that means they’re just about out of fresh content right now. It’s safe to assume there will be a new batch of empty-arena tapings taking place in the near future.