Wrestling Inc. has recently gathered information regarding how WWE and AEW have been conducting their COVID-19 testing for television tapings. Both companies are conducting the actual COVID-19 testing a little differently, but it was noted to us that any performer you are seeing on either company’s show has been tested. Knowing that all performers have been tested has led to the relaxed nature of mask-wearing by talent for both company’s.
In regards to WWE, we are told that all talents are instructed to show up to a parking garage the day before tapings. Talents stay in their cars and are given a nasal swab test. The talent then leave and are sent a text, or other message, later that night letting them know if they are positive or not. If they do not test positive they are then given show plans and are scheduled for television the following day.
As for AEW, talent go to an off-site facility the morning of tapings to have a blood prick test taken. This test allows a talent to know within ten minutes whether or not they are positive. If the talent passes the test, they are given a wrist band and taken to Daily’s Place. It was noted to us that if you do not have that wrist band, there is no way you are getting into Daily’s Place. We were also told that the blood prick test that AEW uses is a much easier process than the nasal swab test, but much more expensive.
WWE’s testing and protocols have come a long way in just a few months. Up until June, the company had only been conducting temperature checks. During an interview with Wrestling Inc. in August, WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair discussed the current backstage protocols at television tapings.
“[WWE is] really strict about the quarantine,” Flair said. “In other words, the way the locker rooms are laid out, because of the smaller facility, but even in the meeting room, everybody is six feet away from each other and masks are mandatory. So if you want to see Vince [McMahon], I have to walk all the way back in through a building and an office, which I’ve done twice.
“Like he and Bruce [Prichard] would be the only two in that particular room, and has he come out? I’m sure he has, but I have not been privileged to see it. Everybody wears a mask. It’s a fine and a half. Trust me, he’ll fine you. He knows that he’s going to be scrutinized because we get scrutinized like no other sport, but it’s because the guy’s the leader.”
Tony Khan addressed AEW’s testing plan in-depth during a recent AEW media call.
“We shut the company down in April until we could come up with a way to make it safe to do shows for the wrestlers again,” Khan recalled. “So we did that, and my number one priority, A and B, are wrestler health and safety, and fan health and safety. So we came in, and it’s like, first, to do a wrestling show, we need to make sure we can do this to keep the wrestlers, and the crew, and staff safe. So we implemented a testing plan, and we returned at the beginning of May with a live show and have been doing this with testing and have had great results, which really shows that the people have been doing the right things and social distancing because we’ve had people come in.
“We’ve had very, very few positive cases, and we do rigorous testing. Once we got that implemented, I started to look at how we could utilize our outdoor space to safely have some kind of live event experience, and we’ve been we’ve been putting tested people, fans at ringside, but they weren’t really fans. They were wrestlers, and crew, and staff, but it added a sense of normalcy.”