The coronavirus has led to the cancellation of several sporting events all around the world, but professional wrestling is still trying to move ahead as normal, albeit with some stricter rules on crowd attendance. All Elite Wrestling is still trying to progress the company’s storylines, although the company is operating under a restricted crowd policy for the time being.
Over the weekend, Cody Rhodes took to Twitter to address the situation. Answering a fan who stressed that he was worried about the lack of crowd atmosphere ruining Dynamite, the executive vice president said that it’s important for the company to provide some escapism to wrestling fans during this stressful time.
“A lot of folks are sitting at home. Some scared…all bored. Just like real community leaders have come forward, entertainment leaders have to follow suit(safely). People need to laugh, cry, forget, love, all the good stuff. My personal opinion, we shouldn’t hold back.”
As documented by WrestlingNews.co, next week’s episode of Dynamite was moved from Rochester, New York, to Jacksonville, Florida. More upcoming shows have been forced to relocate as well, but the cities and venues are unknown at the time of this writing.
AEW relocating the shows came about after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and state officials banned gatherings of more than 500 people. As noted by Jesse McKinley and Michael Gold in the New York Times, the number of diagnosed coronavirus cases in the state has tripled since Sunday, with many cases being reported in New York City.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEWrestling) February 20, 2020
While the absence of fans will be noticeable at the shows, it’s also important for the company to keep its momentum going. AEW is still a relatively new promotion, having only started airing Dynamite on TNT in October. However, with more wrestling fans staying at home for the foreseeable future, there could be an increase in Dynamite‘s weekly viewership since more people will be watching television.
It remains to be seen how the coronavirus will affect AEW in the long run, but for now, the company is choosing to continue with business as usual while taking precautions to ensure that superstars, employees, and fans are kept safe.
WWE has adopted a similar approach. Last week’s Friday Night SmackDown took place in the Performance Center, while tomorrow’s Monday Night Raw and Wednesday’s NXT are set to follow suit. However, at least there will still be wrestling on television, whereas several other sporting events have been canceled.