It’s been about a month since the United States began locking itself down, state by state, as COVID-19 began to seriously impact communities nationwide. In that time, we’ve seen essentially every single sports league in the country shut down, with the exception of professional wrestling.
In response to the virus spreading, WWE relocated all of its TV shows to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, creating closed sets with limited personnel. Still, COVID-19 is currently undefeated at hide and seek, so it was only a matter of time before someone within the company tested positive.
An internal memo from WWE was leaked to Fightful which confirmed a member of the WWE talent pool tested positive for COVID-19 and appeared at the WWE Performance Center as recently as March 26 — the same day Roman Reigns asked to sit out this year’s WrestleMania due to health concerns. While the person who tested positive has been confirmed as an on-air talent, they are not an in-ring performer. The memo reads in part:
“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.”
WWE later provided an official statement confirming the contents of the internal memo, saying the talent in question was not exposed until after leaving TV tapings on March 26:
“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.”
With WWE reportedly going back to live broadcasts for Raw, Smackdown and NXT from here on out, forcing their talent to travel in the midst of the deadliest pandemic on American soil in more than 100 years, one has to wonder when Vince McMahon will finally realize losing money on his TV deals is a better option than killing a member of his roster or one of their family members — and one also has to wonder if this will finally be what it takes for wrestlers to unionize.