This has gone on long enough.
In the Cageside offices — which is really just the Slack channel we use to coordinate and converse — my right hand man Sean asked me what the plan was for our usual pay-per-view predictions post when it comes to WrestleMania. My idea was to simply run two posts on two separate days for the two separate cards on Thursday and Friday. That way we give them as much time as possible to announce any new matches while also revealing whatever changes are coming to the card, some of which we already know are coming and they have yet to officially announce.
It made me realize, or maybe just served as yet another reminder, that the way the two major companies have handled this entire coronavirus pandemic has been awful.
While the rest of us are being told to go home and stay there, WWE and AEW are running shows in empty arenas. Instead of doing the responsible thing and closing up shop for the time being, both companies continue to do whatever it takes to put on previously planned events.
Just today, it was revealed AEW had to move its upcoming tapings to make way for a coronavirus testing center. Said location is reportedly being kept secret to avoid fans showing up to it.
WWE, meanwhile, chose to go ahead with WrestleMania 36 despite reports that nearly everyone within the company was against it. Then, instead of being honest and transparent with its fans about why the show would need to be split into two nights, WWE decided to repeatedly market the show as “TOO BIG FOR JUST ONE NIGHT.”
It’s downright insulting, both to our intelligence and to the recommendations put in place to help flatten the curve and avoid the continued spread of a vicious virus that is killing so many people. While the NBA — who were making their push to the postseason — and MLB — who were just about to kick off a new season — completely shut down operations, WWE is still asking its wrestlers to travel to Orlando and work shows. Roman Reigns, the crown jewel of the current WWE roster, is a leukemia survivor and classified in the high risk group. Reports indicate The Miz was sick and at a taping, and it led to some sort of situation where The Usos got upset and Reigns ultimately pulled out of his scheduled match against Goldberg at WrestleMania 36. He later put out a video on Instagram asking for fans to be understanding of his choice. He never should have been in a position to have to do so. WWE, for the record, is still promoting his match against Goldberg as though it’s going to take place.
It’s at least understandable, though it certainly doesn’t excuse them, that AEW would continue trying to make shows work, considering its status as a new promotion trying to get off the ground and establish itself. WWE is loaded with cash with an unimaginably deep video library. Air classic episodes of Raw, or PPV events, or documentaries, anything. There are options that don’t include putting your wrestlers/staff at risk asking them to travel and work unnecessary matches no one wants to see anyway.
It should have happened already but it hasn’t, so it’s time for WWE and AEW to simply shut down operations until it’s safe to open up for business again.