The coronavirus pandemic has forced WWE to keep all of its tapings of Monday Night Raw, Friday Night SmackDown and pay-per-views inside the WWE Performance Center down in Orlando since mid-March. But even though the number of coronavirus cases has recently spiked in Florida, as of last week WWE was looking to run live events in the very near future. The company had reportedly booked an 8,000-seat arena in Lakeland, Florida for July 24 and July 27, which would host a taping of Raw and SmackDown that would be open to fans.
However, on Monday night's edition of Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer confirmed that the shows had been canceled.
"So the dates July 24th and 27th were canceled this afternoon officially by WWE," Meltzer said. "The people who were gonna work those shows got the word this afternoon. If it will be delayed — nobody knows that's going on. Everything's spiked again, it's quite sad, it's quite sad. That's all I can say."
Only June 15 it was reported that a PC trainee had tested positive for coronavirus, forcing WWE to cancel the following day of tapings so wrestlers and staff could undergo testing. More positive cases started popping up the following week. Renee Young, Kayla Braxton, Adam Pearce and Jamie Nobe all publicly confirmed they had the virus, and the number of positive cases could reportedly be as high as two dozen among wrestlers and staff.
Roman Reigns, one of WWE's biggest stars, has been gone from the WWE ever since the start of the pandemic in order to protect his family (his wife recently gave birth to twins). He explained in an interview with The Hindu this week why he made the choice to stop wrestling.
"The company (WWE) has done everything that they can to make it the safest work environment possible. It is not the workplace that I was necessarily concerned about," Reigns explained. "The decision was taken mainly because each performer travels so much, and we are all such a diverse group and from all over the place. I'm not convinced, and I can't trust the fact that everybody is taking it as seriously and locking themselves down at home like I am. I trust my life with my co-workers every time I step foot in the ring, but I just can't put the same trust when it has my children, my wife and my family involved.
"But I don't want it to come off as I am taking a stand against the company at all, because I love the WWE. I've been a part of this company just since I was a little boy," he added. "That's why I always take it so personally when I represent them."