Back in early April Florida state officials deemed pro wrestling an "essential business," allowing WWE to continue to produce weeks episodes of television despite the state-wide "stay at home" order. The decision also opened the doors for other promotions to return to business, and AEW has opted to do so by returning to Daily's Place in Jacksonville for a live episode of AEW Dynamite this week. However during a recent episode of AEW Unrestricted, company president Tony Khan said he outright disagreed with the idea that wrestling should be considered "essential" during a pandemic.
"I first had an inkling that things were going to be shutdown going into the third show, which is when we taped all these shows," Khan said [h/t Fightful for transcript]. "States were starting to shut down and I never considered us or tried to force us to be 'an essential business.' I never tried to stay open against restrictions. When we heard Florida and Georgia were going to shut down, we would shut down too and we needed to tape as much content as we could before the shutdown,"
Khan echoed previous reports that all of AEW's tapings since the pandemic started have been purely voluntary. He also mentioned that the company won't fire anyone while everyone is stuck in quarantine.
"Something I put an emphasis on during the shutdown is that we haven't let anybody go and we've tried to take care of everybody through this," Khan said. "It's not the right time for re-organizing or re-structuring for us. I want to take care of everybody and make sure they're comfortable."
Meanwhile WWE announced back in mid-April that it was undergoing a series of cost-cutting measures, which resulted in more than 30 active wrestlers getting released including Rusev, Zack Ryder, EC3, Drake Maverick, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, Cain Velasquez, Curtis Axel and a handful of NXT stars and Performance Center recruits.
This week's AEW Dynamite will feature the AEW in-ring debut of Matt Hardy as he teams with Kenny Omega for a Street Fight against Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara. Other matches will include Cody Rhodes vs. Joey Janela and AEW World Champion Jon Moxley vs. Frankie Kazarian.
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