Yet another coronavirus outbreak hits WWE Performance Center

Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer has reported that there was another coronavirus outbreak inside the WWE Performance Center last weekend and those who were in the building on Friday were ordered to quarantine for the next two weeks regardless if they tested positive or negative.

Meltzer adds that according to some rumors, a few individuals who are supposed to be part of tonight’s NXT Halloween Havoc broadcast are now under quarantine so certain parts of the show would have to be re-written. He also says that those who are on regular NXT television all tested negative.

NXT has switched to live shows ever since they moved to the Capitol Wrestling Center and around 100 fans are allowed inside the building. WWE tests fans 24 hours before each NXT show at a different location and if they show a negative result, they are allowed inside the building. Tonight will be no different and fans are still planned to be part of the show.

It has been a rough several weeks for the company as this is the second COVID-19 outbreak in two months.

WWE locations being investigated as potential COVID-19 hotspots in Orange County

ABC affiliate WFTV9 is reporting that the Orange County Strike Team is looking into bars and businesses where COVID-19 might be spreading and three of those buildings are WWE locations.

Full Sail University – which is no longer used by WWE for now – along with the WWE Performance Center, and The Amway Center are on the list along with the Jesus School, the Amazon distribution center, Plaza on University Apartments, two Crunch Fitness locations, and Starbound Performers. Several bars are also on the list being investigated.

Reacting to the news, WWE issued a statement to WFTV9 saying that the company is not open to the public and is operating on a closed set with only essential personnel in attendance.

“As part of on-going weekly testing protocols, Aventus Labs have administered more than 10,000 PCR tests to WWE performers, employees, production staff and crew resulting in only 1.5 percent positive cases as compared to the current national average of more than 5%,” the statement read. “Additionally, extensive contact tracing takes place and impacted individuals are placed in 14-day quarantine and then only cleared after they test negative.”

WWE has suffered two known coronavirus outbreaks since the pandemic started, the latest one in September.

Stadiums and arenas in Florida can operate at 100% capacity again

Stadiums and arenas in the state of Florida have been given the green light to operate at full capacity after Governor Ron DeSantis moved the state to phase 3 of reopening.

This is certainly interesting news for both WWE and AEW who continue to run their respective shows live from Orlando and Jacksonville every week.

A spokesman for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis told radio host Andy Slater that after the governor lifted restrictions, all Florida stadiums are free to go to full capacity for games and events. Another official told Jon Alba from Spectrum Sports 360 that “sports franchises can do as they please and they don’t need clearance from the state.”

WWE currently holds Raw and Smackdown television tapings from the Amway Center while NXT tapings are held at the Capitol Wrestling Center. Limited fans are allowed inside the CWC for NXT and that started this past Sunday and will continue with tonight’s live broadcast. WWE’s deal with the Amway prohibits them from having any fans but that deal runs out at the end of this month.

AEW runs Dynamite from the Daily’s Place in Jacksonville and the promotion has been allowing around a couple of hundred fans at every taping for the past several weeks.

There’s also rumors that WWE will be moving WrestleMania from Los Angeles to Tampa next year and with the news that stadiums can operate at 100% capacity, WWE will surely be looking at making up for this year’s show which was held inside the Performance Center.

Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler say they do not have coronavirus

Both Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler said that they do not have coronavirus after their WWE Women’s Tag Team title match against The Riott Squad last night at Clash of Champions got canceled.

Responding to fans on Twitter, Jax said that she apologizes that the announcement scared some, but “all is great and healthy on my end” and suggested that her tag team partner is all well too, although she doesn’t speak for her.

Baszler, responding to someone who said that Liv Morgan got robbed of her title win and “must be the rona,” said that first, it’s not coronavirus and second, Morgan is “never gonna win anyway.”

Unlike with the Smackdown Women’s title match where Bayley ended up wrestling Asuka again after Nikki Cross was not cleared to wrestle, the Women’s Tag Team titles ended up not being defended on the pay-per-view as one or more individuals were not medically cleared.

AJ Styles says he also had coronavirus last month

After The Rock revealed that he and his whole family were infected with the COVID-19 virus, former WWE and Intercontinental champion AJ Styles also announced that he tested positive last month.

During a live Twitch stream, Styles said he feels for the people who have to deal with the coronavirus and he’s lucky he didn’t have too many problems with it.

“I was one of the lucky ones, with that being said. I had a headache, and I never had a fever. Maybe a couple of boogers, that was about it,” Styles said.

Styles lost the Intercontinental title to Jeff Hardy after he returned from his quarantine period.

Renee Paquette talks catching COVID-19 while working for WWE and the aftermath

Former WWE announcer and host Renee Paquette appeared on this week’s Sports Illustrated Media Podcast to talk about her departure and getting COVID-19 while working for WWE.

Paquette confirmed the rumors that WWE officials were not happy that she announced to the world that she was infected with coronavirus before she talked to them and woke up the next day after announcing it to a barrage of texts.

“There’s no shame in having got it. Again we don’t know what’s going on with anything. We’re all trying to figure it out. So when I tweeted that I had it, I wasn’t doing it as, like, “I GOT COVID.” That was not my MO when I tweeted. It was mostly, ‘Hey, I have it.’ Also, in case there were people that could’ve been around me and maybe seen that I had it, I felt a responsibility to make sure people knew that I was sick. But, yeah, it was NOT well received,” Paquette told host Jimmy Traina.

Paquette said that the company weren’t mad because she posted it, but rather because she did not give them a heads up and it was bad publicity. She noted that she felt no one was really concerned about her health when she got the positive result and that really bothered her that no one checked up on her.

Paquette admitted that WWE didn’t do everything to contain the virus back then but now they’re doing proper tests that she says should have been implemented from the very beginning.

“Since everything that’s gone down and however many people ended up getting sick, now it feels like a much safer environment. Even when I was there for SummerSlam, I was definitely less concerned about it knowing that everyone in the building has been properly tested with the nose swab and whatnot,” she continued.

The former Raw announcer also expressed how surprised she was when Florida deemed WWE as an essential business and let the company go ahead with tapings.

“It was shocking. It really shocking to see that this was deemed essential business. That made it seem like, hold on a second here,” she said.

NXT UK to resume tapings next month in London

The NXT UK brand is returning with new television episodes next month after a five-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. Over the past several months, NXT UK television shows were simply a best-of and other collections, with no original material airing.

The new episodes will start on Thursday, September 17 on the WWE Network and these episodes will hopefully lead to the already-postponed NXT UK Takeover: Dublin show which is now set to take place on Sunday, October 25.

All NXT UK tapings are being done at the BT Sport Studios in London, located in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

A tweet from The Wrestling Movement Twitter account yesterday revealed that the entire NXT UK roster is being moved to London for COVID-19 testing ahead of tapings.

You can check out the awesome video hyping up NXT UK’s return below.

AEW selling tickets for upcoming Dynamite shows starting with August 27 broadcast

AEW has began selling tickets for the August 27 Dynamite at the Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida. The open-air venue will be at 10-15% max capacity for the show.

In a press release issued today, AEW said that it’s abiding with state and local regulations as well as CDC guidelines to allow a select number of physically distanced seating pods which will be available for sale in groups of two, three, four, and six.

The first show will have a max crowd of 10% and then going forward, as long as safety protocols are followed, a max of 15% capacity will be permitted for all live events at the Daily’s Place.

Limited tickets will go on sale tomorrow, Friday, at 10AM ET via AEWTIX.com and Ticketmaster.com. Tickets start at $30 not including service charges or fees.

Guests will be required to wear face coverings that cover the nose and mouth, and to physically distance from any person who is not a member of their pod. Guests will also be asked not to attend the day of the show if they have COVID-19, symptoms of COVID-19 or have had close contact exposure to someone who they know has COVID-19 or symptoms. In addition, all guests will have their temperature scanned prior to entry.

An increased number of hand sanitizing stations will be available, and floor markings will also be used to assist with physical distancing. Industrial fans were also added this past year to further improve air circulation at the open-air venue.

As a further safeguard, all tickets will be mobile and may only be purchased online at AEWTIX.com and Ticketmaster.com (no box office sales). Daily’s Place will also transition to cashless payment and mobile ordering for most transactions, including food and merchandise purchases.

“We’ve missed the incredible energy of our fans at shows, and from what we’ve heard from them, they’ve missed being with us. With our enhanced safety measures and outdoor venue, we look forward to welcoming our fans back to become part of the action in-person,” said Tony Khan, AEW President and CEO.

“Please be assured, we are mindful and respectful of the situation,” Khan added. “The health and safety of our AEW family and our fans remains our highest priority. Our leadership team and medical staff have adjusted our operations for limited, physically distanced fans in an outdoor, open-air setting in compliance with the most current state and local regulations and CDC guidelines. We can’t wait for the August 27 DYNAMITE, as the road to ALL OUT will represent the beginning of a new chapter in AEW history.”

WWE ends five-month TV run at the Performance Center

Following the conclusion of this past Monday’s Raw, WWE wrapped up a five-month residency at the Performance Center, where all Raw and Smackdown – and some NXT – were held inside the 26,000 square foot facility.

The first show was held on March 11, which was the NXT Fan Appreciation Night. That particular show wasn’t held at Full Sail because of another event and the company transformed the Performance Center into an arena with stands.

And then, with the coronavirus pandemic in full force, the company decided to move all production to the PC starting with the March 13 episode of Smackdown on FOX.

Full Sail University, the home of NXT, also shut down for a month-and-a-half, leaving NXT to tape at the Performance Center as well all the way through the end of April.

With Raw, Smackdown, NXT, and even pay-per-views such as WrestleMania, Money In The Bank, Backlash, and Extreme Rules all taped at the smaller Performance Center, WWE is now looking forward to return to the big stage with a two-and-a-half month residency at the much larger Amway Center in Orlando.

The Performance Center is now being transformed back to its original layout, with seven rings and a 5,500 square-foot strength and conditioning gym, a state-of-the-art facility where many up-and-coming WWE Superstars spend their day training waiting for their big day.

WWE scheduled to hold weekly live Raw and Smackdown broadcasts from Amway Center

WWE is scheduled to hold live Raw and Smackdown from the Amway Center moving forward after SummerSlam, moving out from the WWE Performance Center for the first time since mid-March.

Jon Alba from Spectrum News 13 said that this consistent booking for the arena will probably get some people at the Amway back to work even though there won’t be any fans in the building. The Amway Center remains closed for other bookings through the end of the year.

WWE saved millions of dollars by holding TV in the same location at the Performance Center over the past several months and apart from the rent of the arena, the company can have the ring, lighting rig, Gorilla position, and all the basics remain in place while only changing the set from Raw to Smackdown.

Moving weekly TV out of the PC will allow WWE to return the PC to its original look and use. NXT is expected to keep taping at Full Sail University.

An official announcement should be coming out shortly.