A new report from Fightful claims that WWE is planning a weeklong round of tapings for upcoming episodes of Raw, Smackdown, and NXT. In addition, the report claims that the next week of shows, starting with Friday's Smackdown could be aired live. WWE had previously taped all of its shows, including WrestleMania, but will now be out of content and needs to film more. The company's ability to do so hinges on whether they can even utilize the WWE performance center during the state-wide shutdown ordered by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Fightful's ∫ reports that wrestlers have been told the company plans to film three episodes of Raw, three episodes of Smackdown, and several episodes of WWE in a week-long set of tapings to begin on Friday. Sapp says that the idea of airing the next three shows, Smackdown, Raw, and NXT, live has been "tossed around" but isn't guaranteed. It's unclear from the report whether the taped episodes would be in addition to live shows or include them.
Can WWE Even Use Its Performance Center?
Through March, both WWE and its competitors, AEW, were using the state of Florida to film episodes of their respective TV shows. Rules in the state were lax because Governor DeSantis resisted ordering residents to stay at home. That all changed on April 1st when DeSantis finally issued a stay-at-home order. However, DeSantis has come under criticism recently for granting too many exemptions to the rules, including allowing churches to hold large gatherings. Could WWE's brand of pro-wrestling find a loophole to continue as well? To some fans, pro wrestling is a religious experience.
The Bottom Line 'Cause Chad Said So
First and foremost, I hope that WWE takes every precaution to protect the health of its performers. That's more important than filming new episodes of wrestling. That being said, I selfishly hope they can shoot more episodes as reported. Personally, I feel that WWE without an audience has actually been better than before the shutdown. WWE's audience can frequently ruin the experience of shows by booing or cheering against the wishes of WWE management. Without fans to interfere in WWE's plans, in a sterile and carefully controlled environment, storylines can progress the way the company intends them, rather than the way fans want.