Coronavirus Forces Major Alterations to WWE Backstage, NXT and Raw

Welcome to the 24-minute, ever-evolving news cycle that we’ve been subjected to since the coronavirus first wrecked havoc on U.S. shores. Following WWE‘s announcement yesterday that SmackDown was being moved to the Performance Center, Pro Wrestling Insider is now reporting that this Monday’s Raw will be headed to the Performance Center as well as NXT, which will need to be moved out of Full Sail University for the foreseeable future due to the university shutting down operations. Fox Sports also announced on Friday that all studio shows, including WWE Backstage, would be shut down for the time-being.

To sum it all up, while WWE is not yet dealing with a cancellation/postponement of WrestleMania 36, which many expect will be the case in the coming week, Vince McMahon‘s empire is entering its own form of uncharted territory with Raw and SmackDown likely moving to the Performance Center in front of no fans for the next several weeks if not longer. While WWE initially seemed reluctant to make the move of its shows, it seems forces outside of their control may be the driving forces here. SmackDown got moved out of Detroit likely as a result of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer advising residents against attending gatherings and events of over 100 people in order to limit community spread of the virus. Raw, which was set to feature the return of Stone Cold Steve Austin for “3.16 Day” got moved out of Pittsburgh likely as a result of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf advising residents against attending events with over 250 people in light of the PA State of Emergency declared on Thursday. NXT got moved out of Full Sail University due to the college closing down as a result of the virus. And Backstage, which next week was set to see CM Punk‘s return to the program for the first time in nearly a month, was canceled due to a decision Fox, not WWE made.

Vince McMahon has been victorious in a lot of battles in his career, but thus far, coronavirus seems like its been quite the formidable foe for WWE’s head honcho. It is unlikely that moving a few shows to the Performance Center is the worst WWE will face as a result of the virus’ spread. All eyes will be on Tampa Bay and the fate of WrestleMania 36.

As we continue to get updates on how the coronavirus will affect WWE and other wrestling companies, stay tuned to Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.

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