Though wrestling never stopped during the pandemic era, things did become more difficult for many. Wrestlers couldn't travel or were forced to miss time due to personal reasons or positive tests, leading to many changes on-screen and behind the scenes.
For NXT commentator Beth Phoenix, she was unable to travel to Orlando to call the action on NXT television. Despite the circumstances, WWE was able to configure a setup that allowed Phoenix to call the show from a remote location.
"It was a village of people," Phoenix told Renee Paquette on Oral Sessions when asked how things came together. "Over the summer, Adam [Edge] had the World's Greatest Wrestling Match [Backlash 2020 bout against Randy Orton] and my mom has a heart condition, she has a triple bypass and is like mega high risk. The pandemic happens, the news is saying the world is ending and we're like 'what is going on?' I think they were working and talking to all talent and (asking) who is comfortable doing what. In my situation, I was like, 'I'm stuck guys.' Adam is hurt, he just had surgery. My kids aren't in school, they are remote schooling, and I can't get COVID because my mom lives alone and I help her. I was in a situation where maybe I had to quit. I said to them, 'If you have to replace me, I completely understand, but I'm stuck. I have to take care of my husband. He needs my help, my kids need me, and my mom needs me.'"
Phoenix continued by saying, "Michael Cole and Hunter said, 'we're going to come up with something.' They got with tech and tech got with me. I can barely operate a cell phone, but I can click a link to get on Zoom. Somehow, with an army of WWE masterminds, we were able to set up a remote commentary station. We did this progressively throughout the summer, fall, and Christmas. We were able to get my mother vaccinated in that time before I came back to work and Adam was healed and my kids returned to school. I was in a position where I could travel again. I have absolute gratitude and loyalty to Hunter, Cole, and everyone that made that happen and how hard it was to work with me because they had to put the other commentators on a delay, about .8 of a second in order to be able to match me because it was done through the internet. They would have to call (the action) and then see it on the screen half a second later. Replays, everything was off. To the guys sitting at the desk, they were so good that they were working on a delay to operate in sync with me. It was unbelievable."
Phoenix not only returned to her spot behind the commentary table once things settled, but she helped introduce the NXT Women's Tag Team Titles during the pandemic era.
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