There have been rumors going around that WWE has not been testing any of their talent or crew for COVID-19 during these closed set shows over the last couple of months. It sounded really hard to fathom, considering the frequency of testing that is utilized by UFC and AEW.
Triple H was directly asked about this situation on a conference call today. Jason Powell of ProWrestling.net asked him point blank if WWE is doing actual COVID-19 testing for talent and crew. Here is his response:
“So the testing that we do, we have medical experts on our team...they work with CDC and the government to determine what is the best approach for us to take to ensure the safety and the wellness of our performers, and that is what we do. That is working with the local and federal government. When you begin to talk about various types of testing, and there is a lot of that thrown around, the accuracy of those tests becomes questionable...We need to do what we’re being told to do by the medical experts, and once that widespread testing that is accurate becomes available, we will do so. But the accuracy of those tests has to be there first. But in the meantime, our medical protocols are extensive, and most importantly, they’ve worked.”
The first takeaway from this response is that Triple H dodges giving a direct “Yes” or “No” answer as to whether or not WWE is conducting actual tests for COVID-19. Most of what he says strongly indicates that no, WWE is not testing talent or crew for COVID-19, because accurate tests are not widely available for it. Once accurate tests are widely available, WWE will make use of them.
I’m no medical expert, so you can of course dismiss what I’m about to say, but this answer sounds really confusing when you read about UFC conducting 1200+ COVID-19 tests each week. Yes, there are significant concerns with the testing accuracy, but Triple H simply refers to “extensive” medical protocols that WWE is using in lieu of it. It’s a vague answer and makes it seem like he’s trying to put a positive spin while expertly dodging the question. After all, if there is a better way to deal with COVID-19 right now than the available tests, then why are these more effective methods only being used in WWE? It doesn’t seem plausible.
I am not privy to what exactly WWE is doing to ensure the safety of the performers that works better than actual testing for COVID-19, and I can’t argue with Triple H’s ultimate conclusion that so far what WWE’s been doing has worked. But when the vagueness in his answer is combined with the inability to state one way or the other that WWE is doing actual testing for COVID-19, I think it’s understandable for fans to feel like part of the story is missing here.
It’s in WWE’s best interests to ensure that their talent is healthy during this time, so they have every incentive to keep everyone safe, and Triple H offers assurance that WWE is following the guidance that they are receiving from medical experts. It would still be nice to have some clarity on why their approach for dealing with COVID-19 differs so much from UFC and AEW.