At the last minute, Vince McMahon decided to air Smackdown live tonight and is planning on doing the same for all future shows. Everyone arrived in Florida under the impression that they would be filming five weeks of shows back to back and wouldn’t be returning until May 10th. It’s being said that a lot wrestlers are very frustrated with McMahon’s decision.
There’s speculation that the decision to go live has to do with WWE’s contract with the USA and Fox networks, which only allow them to air pre-taped shows 3 times a year. Fox puts a lot of emphasis on live sports and there is a fear within the company that the networks will not pay WWE in full if they don’t continue to air live television. Some people in the company agree that while this isn’t the ideal situation it was the “correct financial decision.” There’s no indication that Fox or USA have approached McMahon about any of this and some believe the networks would make obvious exceptions about pre-taping their shows with everything going on around the virus, but McMahon isn’t wanting to take the chance of being paid less.
Florida is still under lockdown but WWE has been operating there anyway. With everything that has happened to the UFC, there’s some belief that Fox or USA will eventually put an end to this in order to save face from all the bad press that could follow.