WWE taped next week’s RAW at the Performance Center today.
The atmosphere was said to be “chaotic” at today’s tapings. As previously reported, the tapings today were delayed as the company was still awaiting some COVID-19 test results. The decision was made to cancel today’s SmackDown tapings that were set to air next week, and tape the show on the afternoon of June 26th, according to PWInsider.
People at the Performance Center were told not to take photos of the testing or people in the testing area, which was first reported by Bryan Alvarez of F4WOnline. From what I have been told, WWE did not want photos being taken or talent posting test results on social media because they do not want the situation to be perceived as an “outbreak.” It’s not known exactly when the edict was made today, as MVP posted that his COVID-19 test result was negative this morning, which is still live on his Instagram. WWE has been following the guidelines from their medical directors and have been operating within set guidelines, and do not want it to appear as if there is a problem.
As previously reported, fans were used at today’s tapings, as well as friends and family of some of the talent. They were actually tested for COVID-19 as well on Tuesday with WWE talent and staff. Anyone that decided not to get tested was not allowed into the tapings. Another waiver was signed as well, and I was told that they weren’t wearing masks during the shows.
A few of the fans tested yesterday did not come back for today’s taping, although a majority did return including five trainees from The Wild Samoan Training Center in Minneola, FL.
A source noted to Wrestling Inc. that having limited fans is just the “beginning” phase of having full crowds again. The next phase would be to ween out NXT recruits in the audience, leaving just family, friends and a select group of fans who knew someone to be able to attend. NXT recruits would still have to be available for tapings in case they need more people in the audience.
The third phase would be to have only fans in the audience at the Performance Center and Full Sail for tapings, likely with at least 50% capacity to show people watching at home that things are returning to normal and that it’s okay to attend live events again.
The final phase would be a return to touring for at least TV and pay-per-view events in the fall. The source noted to me that the train is likely “to come off the tracks before then.”