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WHY I THINK WWE (AND AEW) SUSPENDING MATCHES IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO AT THIS TIME

By Dave Scherer on 2020-04-05 10:00:00

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One underlying (and often stated out-right) theme I've noticed on the site and in the Q and A in particular is the feeling that WWE should be completely shut down right now.  My question is, why?

The obvious answer is because it’s the responsible thing to do.  Every match they put on puts the talent at risk of contracting the virus. They touch each other.  They breathe on each other.  Droplets pass from one person to the other during the entire time.  The NBA has the same kind of close interaction and they shut down immediately after two players tested positive. The NHL shut down as well, as did every other sporting league except the UFC.  They chose being responsible over dollars.  WWE should stop running matches for the same reason those sports did, to put the health of their talent ahead of making money.  Also, in many cases, those talents travel to Florida so they also are put at risk going to and from the building.

If they are filming in a state or specific location without a mandated stay-at-home order for all nonessential businesses, why shouldn't they continue to produce content with reasonable precautions taken?  Before today's state-wide order in FL, they were filming in a state where pawn shops, dog salons and video game stores were all open for business, so why shouldn't they be as well?

First, just because a state doesn’t take the virus seriously enough doesn’t mean WWE should take advantage of it.  If we had, as a country, taken this virus seriously in January when intelligence reports said a pandemic would happen, we wouldn’t be in this situation, but we are.  Just because Florida dropped the ball (and if you doubt that, look at how the numbers have risen since they allowed people in on Spring Break) doesn’t mean they are doing the right thing.  They aren’t and they haven’t up until now.  On top of that, in the businesses you mentioned, a six foot social distance could be kept while in a  wrestling match it can’t.

They provide a product/service that reaches millions worldwide, but the local craft store serves 20 customers a day.  If there's no mandate otherwise, why should one be expected to completely shut down while the other can stay open?

It’s about doing what’s responsible and right for the people that work for you. The promoter should be the one that looks out for the talent.  And again, the craft store can have reasonable protection from contracting the virus.  A wrestler can not.  Given that COVID-19 has an average incubation period of five days, someone could come to Raw on Monday after contracting the virus on Sunday.  He/she shares it on the plane.  Shares it at the PC.  Shares it with whoever he/she wrestles and then on Thursday starts to feel ill.  On Friday, all of the people he/she came in contact with get sick.  It’s that simple.  The NBA reaches millions worldwide too.  They did the responsible thing and shut down.

With their world class wellness policy as an example, I believe WWE has taken serious considerations and precautions with the safety of their staff and wrestlers in mind.  Sure the wrestlers touch each other, but to not do so is nothing more than a recommendation anywhere, not a law.  It's been stated, and proven in Roman's case, that wrestlers are given the option to sit it out if they feel it necessary or appropriate.

If “it’s not a law” is your best reason for having people put their health at risk then there isn’t much I can say to you.  It seems like you either don’t understand the severity of what COVID-19 can do to a person or you just care about watching wrestling more than you care about the people performing for you.  I care about the health of the talent more than I care about them giving me enjoyment watching them perform.  I don’t want any of them to get sick because they worked a match on WWE TV.  I don’t want, say, Dolph Ziggler to work a match with Otis, feel fine, go home and visit his mom and dad and them give them the virus and wonder if he killed them.  I know someone that unknowingly gave it to their parent, and that parent is now fighting for their life.  Maybe that wouldn’t bother you if a WWE talent did that but it would really upset me.

While PWI staff have the option to keep working because they are self-employed and get paid electronically, not needing to interact with anyone else, people across the country not being given the option to go to work and earn a living when their employers temporarily close (or permanently for some as this drags on), forcing them into unemployment.  WWE also must consider the long-term viability of the company.  Would shutting down for an indefinite period, losing untold millions of dollars both short term and long term with fan base erosion, and subsequently needing to release 30 undercard wrestlers as a result to balance the budget, be a preferred alternative, both to the wrestlers themselves and all the observers second guessing WWE's approach here?

Absolutely that would be the preferred way to go. It’s much better than continuing to present matches and having even one of their wrestlers get the virus, or worse.  WWE still has a significant financial war chest.  They can afford to lose money for a few months.  Hell, they even CHOSE to do it by running WrestleMania instead of postponing it until later in the year.  They can sustain a few months of down time.  Absolutely.  And I think you are totally wrong about erosion for them, or any genre that has been shut down.  When this is over, the world will want to get back to normal life and that will include all of the things that will be take away from them by the virus.  And keep one thing in mind, if there is less for me to cover, the site will take a hit, which costs me financially.  I am putting my money where my mouth is when I say I personally would be fine with taking a financial hit if it meant that the wrestlers weren't put in the position to get sick.  Good health is way more imporant than money every day of the week.

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