WWE Chairman Vince McMahon reportedly waited so long to use developmental talents as "fans" in the crowd at WWE TV tapings because he felt like it made the company look bad to have so many people seated inside the closed-set Performance Center during a pandemic.
As noted, the WWE NXT trainees were used as crowd members at Monday's RAW, SmackDown, 205 Live and Main Event tapings in Orlando. It's believed that they will be used for Wednesday's NXT TV tapings as well. This is something that AEW has done at their Dynamite tapings for several weeks now.
WWE reportedly waited so long to make the same decision because Vince felt like it was a bad look on the company to have so many people seated in the Performance Center during a time when social distancing is being recommenced by health expert due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Paul Davis of WrestlingNews. AEW had the advantage of using Daily's Place in Jacksonville, which is an open-air venue. The Performance Center in Orlando is a small building where COVID-19 could spread easily.
It was noted that word going around the Performance Center on Monday was that the changes made this week will be the new normal until the company is allowed to bring fans back to their events. Vince is reportedly still hoping to have fans back in the crowd in time for SummerSlam in late August. There's still no word yet on a new SummerSlam location as the show will likely be moved from Boston due to coronavirus-related restrictions.
You can click here for more backstage details from Monday's tapings, including possible plans for the new ringside barriers that were used. Stay tuned for more.