WWE is considered an ‘essential business’ in Flordia, allowing them to run live shows from the Performance Center amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Governor Ron DeSantis put the state into lockdown on April 3 and many expected the company to go on hiatus until the pandemic is over.
But on April 9 an Executive Order was signed declaring that ’employees at a professional sports and media production with a national audience’ are allowed to continue working.
The amendment from DeSantis has been highly controversial and without it, WWE would almost certainly be forced to stop running shows.
In fact, according to reports in Florida, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department was called to shut WWE down ‘multiple times’ for breaching the stay-at-home order before April 9.
Orlando reporters Jon Alba and Stephanie Coueignoux say the Sheriff’s Office visited the Performance Center on a number of occasions to tell the company it was not in compliance with the existing Executive Order and had to close down.
Last week’s amendment changed that, but the police were still called to this week’s taping of Monday Night RAW, which is now protected by the order.
Coueignoux and Alba also suggest there’s more to this story than first thought.
It’s now been revealed that WWE announced a return to live shows less than 24 hours after Linda McMahon’s Super PAC committed nearly $20 million to the state of Florida.
It aims to help re-elect President Donald Trump and has committed $18.5 million to the state of Florida.
Coueignoux and Alba shared this timeline of events on Twitter:
- April 1st: Ron DeSantis issues an executive order for essential services. This was after speaking to Trump.
- April 9th: DeSantis altered the order to include professional sporting events and media productions.
- April 9th: Linda McMahon announced that her Presidential Super PAC will spend $18.5 million in Tampa and Orlando, Florida.
- April 10th: Reports broke of Vince McMahon deciding to go live.
Of course, there is no concrete proof the governor changed his criteria on ‘essential business’ after McMahon’s donation, but the timeline suggests it could have had an impact.
- WWE declared ‘essential business’ by Florida
- Roman Reigns will decide his own WWE return
- Member of WWE on-screen talent had coronavirus