Earlier this month, it was reported that WWE could be forced to take a hiatus after WrestleMania 36 as the state of Florida issued a strict lockdown for all facilities due to the coronavirus outbreak. However, despite the rumour mill indicating WWE tapings could be halted anytime soon, the company continues to air its weekly episodes of RAW, SmackDown and NXT while also preparing for the next pay-per-view - Money in the Bank.
According to reports, WWE wrestlers are unhappy with Vince McMahon as it is believed McMahon used a legal loophole to make superstars work despite the coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, Orange County mayor Jerry Dennings reportedly came to the aid of McMahon after he declared the company to be an 'essential business'.
Orange County (Florida) mayor Jerry Demings says WWE has been "deemed an essential business" in the state. Demings, from a press conference today: “I think initially there was a review that was done and they were not initially deemed an essential... https://t.co/p39bshitmQ— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) April 13, 2020
The latest reports state McMahon exploited a legal loophole in Florida State's law which considers WWE to be an 'essential media' and hence cannot be forced to suspend its activities during the lockdown. It is believed that McMahon and the company feel that during the lockdown WWE's shows are one of the only sources of entertainment for the fans. Furthermore, under McMahon's instructions, each member of the staff reportedly issued a letter which stated they are considered 'essential media'. It is believed McMahon had it done so as to show the authorities that they would not be able to stop WWE from working at the Performance Center in Orlando.
WWE's decision to continue with the weekly tapings has reportedly not gone down well with the superstars. According to Fightful, wrestlers were expecting to stay safe in quarantine as the pandemic continues to hamper normal life in the United States. However, they will now be forced to work, which many wrestlers reportedly feel will put their health at risk.
WWE has already dealt with superstars missing shows during the lockdown period. Just before WrestleMania 36, Rey Mysterio and Dana Brooker were ordered to stay in quarantine. One of the biggest superstars in the WWE, Roman Reigns pulled out of his title match at WrestleMania and is now set to spend an extended period on the sidelines due to coronavirus.
The company is still persisting with its weekly shows, with the only difference being they have now reportedly scrapped tapings in advance and the crew is instructed to shoot episodes of SmackDown and NXT as close to the show as possible.