Despite being advertised to show up on the last two episodes of WWEFriday Night SmackDown, Paige has yet to make an appearance in the ring. However, those plans have been delayed due to the current global coronavirus pandemic, but she did appear via a Skype video call during the latest episode of the blue brand’s weekly show.
According to WrestlingNews.co, the reason for Paige’s absence was for health and safety reasons. The former superstar was reportedly willing to fly out to the show, but company officials made the decision for her to stay at home as traveling to the Performance Center in Florida is considered too risky at the moment.
While some fans speculated that Paige’s big announcement would revolve around returning to face Bayley at WrestleMania, the former Women’s Champion was brought back to announce a Six-Pack Challenge Match that’s set to take place at this year’s event. Bayley will defend her SmackDown Women’s Championship against five other women from the blue brand’s roster, assuming the event goes ahead at all.
WWE is doing everything to ensure that shows and storylines progress as normal, despite the limitations of hosting shows in the Performance Center without any fans in attendance. All Elite Wrestling is also putting on televised shows in empty arenas, as evidenced by the last episode of Dynamite.
Sorry guys travel made it very hard for me to get there for #SmackDownLIVE with everything that’s going on. Completely out of my control. ???? very sorry.. But at least @itsBayleyWWE is keeping you entertained pic.twitter.com/ymY8BN9IIK
— PAIGE (@RealPaigeWWE) March 14, 2020
However, the WrestlingNews.co report also states that superstars don’t have to work at the moment if they don’t want to, according to Dave Meltzer. The journalist opened up about the Paige situation on the latest episode of the Wrestling Observer Radio, revealing that she might not have been willing to fly out to the show after all.
“The deal there was that Paige made the announcement by Skype because she didn’t come. She was not one of those who was willing to come. There have been other people not willing to come and both companies have been really good about it.”
It’s understandable why superstars are hesitant about traveling, but it could pose a problem for the company’s upcoming plans. However, the report states that WWE officials intend to tape a batch of shows this week, which will enable their employees to stay at home for the foreseeable future while still providing weekly entertainment for fans.
It remains to be seen whether WrestleMania will go ahead in the Performance Center as planned, but for now, WWE officials and superstars are working towards making the event happen.