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WWE reportedly plans to air all Raw & SmackDown episodes live from Orlando’s Amway Center

Next Sunday’s SummerSlam show will just be the start of WWE’s move out of their Performance Center and return to live television broadcasts. Multiple sources, including Wrestling Observer, say the company plans to air all episodes of Raw and SmackDown live from Orlando’s Amway Center starting on Mon., Aug. 24.

The Fri., Aug. 21 SmackDown on Fox will be the last pre-taped program shot at The P.C. Production trucks have already started unloading at the arena in preparation for filming at Amway.

According to the Observer’s Dave Meltzer, WWE officials blame Raw and SmackDown’s ratings issues on “not being live and the darkness of the [Performance Center] facility.” In exchange for what they hope will be a boost in their television numbers, Vince McMahon is taking on significantly more risk. Production costs will go up after the affordability of the Performance Center helped the company achieve record profits last quarter.

Live programming will also increase travel for talent and staff, increasing the risk of COVID exposure and “effectively ignoring 14 day quarantine mandates in states like Connecticut and New York.”

NXT is said to unaffected by the plans, and will continue to tape bi-weekly at Full Sail Live in nearby Winter Park.

The venue has certainly been a factor in the drabness of WWE’s television offerings, but I don’t think moving (or rumored plans for virtual fan interaction similar to what the NBA and NHL have in their “bubbles”) is a cure all.

We’ll start to find out in a couple weeks.

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