AEW announcer, Excalibur, was a guest on The Sports Bubble with Jensen Karp this week, and during the conversation, he opened up about his recent absence from the commentary booth. He revealed that choosing to sit out of one AEW show actually turned into five taped episodes of AEW Dynamite because of the ongoing Coronavirus.
"For the month of March, right before the state of Georgia shut everything down, our crew taped five weeks of television in an 18 hour period," Excalibur explained. "I was not there for that but that was the first show I didn't travel for, and it turned out I missed five shows from not traveling for one show. But, by all accounts, it was very hectic, it was very tough because wrestling, at the end of the day, it's a performance - there's injuries, there's still things/variable that happen.
"And so somebody got their nose broken, and episode three had to be completely re-written but we had to just keep going," he added. "So, by all accounts, it was a very surreal experience. But to just be sitting there and have nothing to do for the next month was also surreal in and of itself. You know, watching the show that I had been a part of since last October from the sidelines, kind of, go on without me. There were a lot of mixed feelings there."
Excalibur explained that during March and April, COVID-19 testing wasn't readily available for the AEW crew and talent, so they weren't being checked as thoroughly. Nevertheless, no one has emerged from the AEW shows as positive for the Coronavirus.
"So, that was March/April, so that was kind of right when people were starting to figure out what was going on. There was no tests available to our crew at that point, and so it was more just if you have the cough, if you have the sniffles, just stay home," Excalibur said. "And thus far, we have not had anybody get sick by being at our shows. So yeah, nobody has transmitted anything. Our medically crew - personally speaking, I don't think there is anything I could feel 100% safe about without a vaccine out there."
Excalibur knows that AEW management has been behind the scenes planning multiple routes if COVID-19 begins to shut down their promotion. He also commented on the previously reported rescheduling of the AEW shows in Boston and Philadelphia.
"I'm not involved in those conversations, but I know they're definitely happening. I think we had Boston and Philadelphia dates rescheduled for later this Summer, and we pushed those out until 2021. And now the show in Jacksonville, especially with the cases in Florida skyrocketing, I think everyone is very concerned about that," Excalibur said. "And I know that when the quarantine first started, there were so many conversations about, 'Well, if we can't do a live show, what are we going to do, and how do we handle this? And if we don't have new content to put up, what is the thing [to do]? I think those conversations are most likely being re-visited. Not even right now, probably starting weeks ago, and there's got to be plans A, B, C, D, E, and F out there."
Excalibur is glad to be part of a company that is taking numerous safety precautions to try and protect the people most at risk for health complications brought on by COVID-19. He hopes that the effort the company is putting in makes the talent feel an equal level of comfort when coming to work.
"Part of what AEW did in terms of testing and ensuring everyone's safety, really makes the older members of our staff feel comfortable coming to work. When we arrive in Jacksonville, basically we are blood tested at the hotel, we get our temperature check, we do all that," Excalibur said. "But then after the show is over, we go back to the hotel, there's food there waiting for us. You know, it's not a completely closed bubble. But when we're in Jacksonville, we're in as much of a bubble as we possibly can be.
"And that, I think, goes a long way into providing reassurance to the people - and there are people, the younger people, but through medical conditions or whatever [it's dangerous]. Like myself, there's a big history of heart disease in my family," he added. "So even though I'm relatively young and healthy, it's still something that is in the back of my mind. So, knowing the company has done as much as it can to make sure everybody is safe, that goes a long way in making me and everybody else feel comfortable coming to work."
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit The Sports Bubble with Jensen Karp with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.