On a recent episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast, Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman sat down with GCW Owner Brett Lauderdale to discuss GCW’s 24-hour “Fight Forever” event taking place this weekend. Many shows and wrestlers will be featured on the event, and Hausman asked Lauderdale about the COVID-19 protocols GCW will be taking.
“Obviously, throughout the course of the last six and a half months since we resumed shows in June, a lot has evolved in how we approach it all and how you can keep things as safe as possible, and it’s a progress as we learn more and guidelines change and we learn more about COVID itself,” Lauderdale pointedly explained. “I can speak to this event. Obviously, this is another big challenge. Off the top, I’ve gone as far as to post this on social media and make it as public as possible so that nobody can say they didn’t know, everybody that will be in the building for this event is required to have a COVID test, and we actually have one of our referees, Adam Gault, is actually our designated COVID guy.
“He’s got the master list. He’s going to make sure that if you come in this building, you have either submitted your COVID test or you have it on on your person before you get in the building. We’re not just saying it. We’re enforcing this, and we have the receipts to back it up so to speak so. There will be no, ‘I forgot to take it or anything.’ We’re really cracking down on this. In addition, we’re going to do our best to map out a schedule so that there’s not 100 wrestlers in a locker room at the same time. As you’ve seen, we’ve broken down these 24 hours into two blocks, one hour, two hour blocks of matches.
“So what I’ve been working on the last couple weeks and I will continue to work on up until this thing starts is I’m going to kind of block out times for each person to come and each person to leave so that there’s nobody sticking around for 16 hours and clogging up a locker room when they really only need to be there for two or three. So again, we’re going to be really mindful of that, and of course, we’re going to be doing our best to keep things clean in the ring, and in the locker room, we’ll be sanitizing on the go. As we’ve done from day one, we’re going to do our best here.”
Hausman then asked how Lauderdale has handled everything mentally so far. Lauderdale admitted that everything about this event and the pandemic has been exhausting, but he stated why he takes on the challenge and responsibilities.
“This has certainly been challenging, obviously, and it’s exhausting,” Lauderdale admitted. “This whole thing, this whole pandemic lifestyle has been exhausting, and I do feel a lot of responsibility and I do feel that burden, but that’s one of the things that drives me, being under pressure and taking on these challenges and these responsibilities.
“Personally, I kind of feel like if I’m not doing that, then I’m not doing my job. I like challenges like this, and I’m willing to put my name on it. And I’m willing to take the shots if I have to for the greater good. If I can help 50, 100 – 150 people, I want to do it, and I’ll do whatever it takes to do that. And if that means that my life is going to be stressful for a month. In the long run, it’s for the greater good, and I thrive on that.”
The COVID-19 vaccine has been rolled out in the United States and some people have already been inoculated, giving many hope that a return to some level of normalcy will begin to emerge. Lauderdale notes that while he wishes for sold out, thousand-seat shows to come back soon he doesn’t know when that will happen.
“I would love to tell you that I think sold out, 1,000 seat shows are right around the corner, but in reality, I have no idea,” Lauderdale admitted. “I don’t know any more than you do or any more than anybody else does. This whole thing has been unpredictable, and everything is on the fly. Of course, I’m optimistic, and I want to remain optimistic.
“And of course, I’m looking forward to getting through the worst parts of this thing, but I don’t have a calendar on my wall that says, ‘By this date, we’re in the clear.’ We’re just going to continue to do our best as best we can when we can. If we can run more shows, then we’ll run more shows. If we have to scale back, we’ll scale back, but the one thing that I’m not going to do is just give up and just throw in the towel and say maybe next year.
“I will take on these challenges on behalf of GCW, and I know that our entire crew and our locker room wants to keep going as best we can. We are going to keep going, and hopefully there is, as you say, a windfall. I think when you say ‘windfall’ you mean the enthusiasm will return and people will return.”
A lot of experts and pundits have cited the high attendance in baseball games after the 1918 flu pandemic as evidence that people are eager to return to sporting events like pro wrestling right away. Lauderdale said that everyone in GCW is always ready for anything and are looking to reach the goals that they were not able to accomplish in 2020.
“That’s the goal. Of course, all of our guys are ready to go,” Lauderdale stated. “We never stop being ready to go, and 2020, obviously, as it’s been discussed was supposed to be a huge year for us. And just because all that didn’t happen, it doesn’t mean we’re not going to try to do all that in 2021 or 2022 when we can. All the same motivation and determination is still there, and of course, we’re going to be ready to go, and as things open up, we’ll continue to expand and do more things.”
Lauderdale’s full interview aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it’s released Monday – Friday afternoon by clicking here. You can find the full interview in both video and audio form below: