Citing a paywall report from Fightful Select, Sportskeeda reported on Wednesday that Kevin Owens wasn’t present at this week’s Monday Night Raw taping. Earlier this week, it was confirmed that a WWE developmental talent tested positive for coronavirus, which caused Owens to opt out of the upcoming shows.
The report also states that WWE officials didn’t put any pressure on Owens to work, and the situation was handled in a very respectful manner. Some previous reports pertaining to superstars who have walked away from the company during the pandemic have stated that Vince McMahon isn’t a fan of this trend. As a result, some performers — such as Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn — are rumored to have backstage heat.
WWE superstars aren’t required to work at the moment, which is why some wrestlers haven’t been around in recent months. Given the nature of the circumstances, all superstars who have been appearing at the shows are there on a voluntary basis. However, the company released many stars and employees back in April, suggesting that some performers are showing up out of the fear of losing their jobs.
At the time of this writing, WWE management reportedly hopes to have Owens back for the next set of tapings. However, it is currently unknown if Owens intends on returning by then, or if he’ll choose to take time off until he’s sure that the company is free of COVID-19 cases.
Owens having the option to compete on Monday Night Raw also suggests that he tested negative for the virus. The company has tested every available employee since the news of the confirmed case became known to management. The tests resulted in Friday Night SmackDown tapings being canceled as well, but Monday Night Raw recordings supposedly went ahead as planned.
WWE also appears to be opting for a secretive approach in regards to testing employees for the virus. As the Sportskeeda article highlights, the company reportedly requested that employees not share any pictures, videos or test results on social media. Not every superstar has adhered that request, however.
Owens has been involved in a United States Championship program in recent weeks. On the latest episode of Monday Night Raw, he competed against Angel Garza, but all the signs have pointed toward Owens facing current champion, Apollo Crews, in the coming weeks. It remains to be seen if Owens taking time off will affect his current storyline and standing with the company.