WWE's decision to go back to airing live shows as opposed to pre-taped episodes of Raw and SmackDown comes after Linda McMahon's Super PAC committed nearly $20 million to the state of Florida.
It was revealed that Linda McMahon's Super PAC to help re-elect President Donald Trump committed $18.5 million to the state of Florida. Per Jon Alba and Stephanie Coueignoux, the $18.5 million was committed to Florida on April 9, the same day as the announcement that deemed WWE an essential business by the state. It was on April 10 when Vince McMahon decided to go for live tapings at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando.
.@StephanieCNews and I pieced together this timeline regarding #WWE:— Jon Alba (@JonAlba) April 14, 2020
April 9: DeSantis qualifies WWE as essential. Same day, Linda McMahon's re-elect Trump Super PAC commits $18.5 million to Florida.
April 10: Vince McMahon reportedly made decision to tape live in Orlando. https://t.co/lmyomQUmSp
I have asked how @WWE is "critical to Florida's economy": no audience, only essential personnel- what revenue is being generated and if so- how is it benefiting Florida residents and taxpayers? I'm waiting on @GovRonDeSantis office to respond. @MyNews13 #n13covid19— Stephanie Coueignoux (@StephanieCNews) April 14, 2020
Linda previously served as the Administrator of the Small Business Administration from 2017 to 2019 during the Trump Administration. Prior to the announcement, WWE had done episodes of Raw and SmackDown and even WrestleMania 36 at the Performance Center.
Officials previously told CNN the service was added to the "essential business" list because "it is critical to Florida's economy."
WWE put out a statement defending the decision saying, "We believe it is now more important than ever to provide people with a diversion from these hard times. We are producing content on a closed set with only essential personnel in attendance following appropriate guidelines while taking additional precautions to ensure the health and wellness of our performers and staff. As a brand that has been woven into the fabric of society, WWE and its Superstars bring families together and deliver a sense of hope, determination, and perseverance."
Fightful will continue to update fans on WWE's schedule as more information becomes available.