Pandemic leaves Florida WWE fans Wreste-less

Even during these new, strange times, Florida is back to its old ways.

In Florida, World Wrestling Entertainment, one of the most popular wrestling leagues in America, has now been considered an essential business, opening the door for – of all sports – wrestling to make a grand return to the live sports world.

In the newest chapter in the chaotic-evil novel titled Florida, WWE was deemed as an essential business, falling under media and entertainment, in which media is generally considered essential. While WWE will be broadcast without any fans in attendance, all other essential areas of operations are expected to be back to what they were before the lockdown.

The WWE has already begun airing performances, with the first show since the lockdown airing Monday in Orlando.

Many of the WWE’s side shows, including Smackdown and Raw, are expected to return soon as well. Never thought I would see the WWE dominate the live sports market like it will.

One of the primary reasons WWE was deemed an essential business was because of WWE having a large impact on Florida’s economy. The fact that staged wrestling is a major part of Florida’s economy just goes to show why “Florida Man” is as widely known as Santa Claus. I would wonder why they don’t have anything better else to watch, but when you live in the state with the Miami Marlins and Dolphins, I guess it makes sense.

But while WWE fans can rejoice in its return, that return has come with a price. WWE celebrity and party animal Rob Gronkowski left the WWE on April 21, coming out of his retirement from the NFL and reuniting with his old teammate, Tom Brady, to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

While all sports leagues in Florida considered to have a “national audience” – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s words, not mine – are now essential, only the WWE has any plans to return now or anytime soon. 

With the NBA and NHL seasons still suspended, the Miami Heat, Tampa Bay Lightning, Orlando Magic, and Florida Panthers still won’t be playing. And with the MLB season still postponed, the Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays will also not be playing for a while, which in the case of the Marlins, might be for the best.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by any of this because it is Florida. Bringing sports back while the COVID-19 pandemic is near its peak doesn’t seem smart. While having live sports is better than watching some random NBA game from January 2018, I would rather wait another month or two and get sports back to normal, rather than take the risk of the WWE potentially causing the virus to spread even more and push back real sports several more months.

I’m starting to get bored of scoring like 70 points on Madden 15. The sooner we can get all our precious sports back in a safe way, the better.

Even in times of a pandemic, I guess this goes to show that Florida never changes.