WWE has been plowing ahead with empty arena shows as well as WrestleMania 36 during the coronavirus pandemic, and it has resulted in a situation that appears at least somewhat chaotic, with stars like Roman Reigns pulling out of the big event. Some fans have criticized WWE for not shutting down completely in order to serve the best interests of the wider public health, while others are happy to have some pro wrestling entertainment to watch while stuck at home social distancing.
Sports Illustrated asked Stephanie McMahon to talk about the decision to run WrestleMania, as well as what safety measures are being practiced during this pandemic. She responded with the following quotes:
“...the Performance Center itself is a closed set. We’re shooting in waves. No one person, regardless of who they are, is allowed to enter if they have a temperature of over 100.4, or if they have been out of the country or been in touch with someone who has been out of the country.”
“We also do pandemic-level cleaning, which includes fogging and ultraviolet light, in the facility every single night. That could be overkill, quite frankly, but we really are trying to put in the best safety practices that we possibly can given the circumstances. Those are some of the measures we are taking, and it is as comprehensive as it can possibly be.”
She goes on to explain that every crew member and wrestler is there voluntarily, and WWE fully supports and respects anybody’s decision to stay home right now.
McMahon then echoed Triple H’s talking point about putting smiles on people’s faces, as well as positioning WWE’s product as something akin to an essential business:
“We consider it a privilege and, in some regards, a responsibility to be able to provide this entertainment value for our fans.”
There are plenty of rumors swirling around about very late changes coming to the WrestleMania card, and Stephanie didn’t offer too many details about that situation:
“Those are questions you’re going to have to wait and see how we handle creatively.”
Whether or not you agree with WWE’s decision to move ahead with these events, it cannot be denied that the absolute safest way to proceed right now would be to shut everything non-essential down. The whole point of the stay-at-home orders being issued around the world is that Covid-19 can easily be spread by people without visible symptoms, and it’s already so widespread that the health care infrastructure cannot handle the load unless strong mitigating measures are immediately enacted by as many people as possible. That includes pro wrestlers.
Also, it’s no more of a responsibility for WWE to put on WrestleMania than it is for the Major League Baseball season to stick to its original schedule of games, so that talking point can be thrown right out the window.
WWE has chosen a path that they believe allows them to continue operations in a manner that is safe enough. Do you agree with their decision-making?