Since the middle of March, WWE has been in uncharted territory presenting television shows with no audience live from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida.
Triple H, who is the mastermind behind the WWE Performance Center, recently joined Corey Graves on WWE After The Bell to discuss initially finding out that they would be hosting shows from the Performance Center, what that whole process has been like, and why he feels it’s important that WWE continue on during this uncertain time.
“We’re in the process of doing this and we’re gonna do the Wednesday, which is March 11th. I believe that date sticks in my head. It’s the 11th of March, which is a Wednesday, and [NXT is] gonna go live from the Performance Center. So they’re doing the setup from there. As I’m headed down there on Tuesday, I’m flying down there, but the news is now picking up fast and furious about the Coronavirus,” Hunter said when discussing the initial idea of running shows from the Performance Center. “ So as I’m flying down there in the morning, I called Vince and I said, ‘hey, I haven’t seen the Performance Center yet, but, you know, we don’t really do anything halfway, so I’m going to go out a limb and say it looks pretty spectacular. Maybe when I get done doing this live show tomorrow night, maybe we should just leave this setup up. I know it’s costly and all that but maybe just in case something cancels over the next couple of weeks where we can’t go into a town, we can at least get everybody to Florida.’ At that point, I wasn’t even thinking about no fans. I said, ‘you know, we could pick up the phone and call the local fans here and fill this place up pretty easily and still at least put on a show.’”
Triple H then walks the listeners through Vince McMahon’s thought process.
“Vince was like, ‘ you know what, that’s probably smart. Run the numbers. Get me the numbers back today, and I’ll let you know.’ By the time we get to Tuesday night and we do the production meeting and all that stuff and I get done that, I’m calling Vince up and I’m like, ‘I don’t know the numbers yet, but it’s getting worse.’ He’s like, ‘yeah, it’s getting a lot worse. Let’s talk in the morning.’ By the morning, it’s like, ‘yeah, we’re coming. More than likely we’re gonna be coming there and it doesn’t matter what the numbers are at this point of time.’ So, we leave everything up by the time we do that live show and that show’s over. Vince is not only saying, ‘yeah, look the trucks on the way to Detroit are on the side of the road, but they’re turning around. They’re headed your way. We’re gonna do SmackDown from there tomorrow. Everything is shutting down.’ For the first time, he goes, ‘we might be doing WrestleMania from there,’ and I was like, ‘holy cow.'”
Continuing on, Triple H says there is no heat for anybody who doesn’t want to work the tapings but for those involved, they feel a great sense of pride in continuing to put smiles on faces.
“ I mean, everything was changing, at that point, so rapidly that we were just kind of trying to hang on to the tail end of it and do the best we could to, you know, not only be able to continue to put on a show, but to do it medically safe between all our medical teams at the highest levels. You know, it had bumps in the road, but we were able to get to a place where we were able to continue,” he said. “Contrary to how people look at it and believe it, I truly do think that it’s how Vince looks at it and I know the WWE looks at it as ‘people need some entertainment.’ I know even the response we got in those first few episodes that we did of people being like, ‘jeez, thank you guys for doing this.’ You know, you see some of the negativity around it. But like, I think, for the most part, anybody that doesn’t want to be a part of it, isn’t. No issues. But for a lot of people, it’s I think it’s they get to feel like they’re being a part of the solve and part of helping other people by performing and being a part of it still and giving people something to do and look forward to. You know, there’s nothing new happening right now. There’s even the shows that are pre-taped series and things like that. They’re running out of new episodes now. So, you know, being one of the only things that’s out there still producing, I think is, important, I think, for people’s mental well-being. We’re doing everything we can to try to continue to be able to do that and do it in the safest way possible, not only for our staff and our performers, which is first and foremost but for everybody involved.”
WWE recently updated their taping schedule to last through the early part of July, you can learn more about that by reading this article.
Credit for this transcription if any quotes above are used should go to Robert DeFelice of WrestleZone.