According to a new report, a number of changes are likely to take place on NXT programming, following an apparent COVID-19 outbreak within the black-and-gold brand.
On Monday, Florida-based podcaster and journalist Jon Alba took to Twitter to report on the issue, which he noted might have a “decent effect” on NXT storylines. Citing sources familiar with the situation, he wrote that the brand’s officials had allegedly relaxed their mask-wearing policies, especially in situations where “some people congregate.” As explained by Wrestling Inc., WWE’s Performance Center (PC) in Orlando has policies requiring individuals to wear masks while outside the ring, though performers aren’t required to don them while competing in matches or training in the gym area.
According to Alba, the belief is that an unnamed coach had contracted the coronavirus and caused it to “accidentally spread” during their interactions with other people in the PC. In one of his tweets, he cited information from Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp, who backed up the rumors and noted that the NXT outbreak “happened over the past couple of weeks,” resulting in several training classes getting canceled.
As details on the matter are still scant, Alba promised in his final tweet that he will have “much more info” when the next episode of his podcast goes live on Tuesday. You can view his tweets here.
Commenting on the new rumors, WrestlingNews.co wrote that the outbreak came at an unfortunate time, given that the brand is currently battling with AEW’s weekly show Dynamite for Wednesday night ratings. In addition, the outlet pointed out that NXT’s next TakeOver pay-per-view will be taking place less than two weeks from now.
Although there have been no new reports regarding coronavirus outbreaks within WWE’s main roster since the company launched its ThunderDome virtual fan experience at the Amway Center, the Performance Center has been linked to several cases over the past several months. In July, reports suggested that more than 30 unnamed employees had tested positive for COVID-19 in the weeks prior, and while no names were mentioned, Friday Night SmackDown superstar AJ Styles recently confirmed that he was one of the individuals diagnosed with the illness around that time.
Apart from Styles, a few other people in the promotion had previously gone public about their COVID-19 diagnosis, including host and interviewer Kayla Braxton, backstage producer Jamie Noble, and on-air personality Renee Young, the latter of whom left the company following the SummerSlam pay-per-view in August.