WWE SmackDown encountered unexpected changes this week, and it seems that these alterations were not solely due to creative decisions but rather out of necessity. Originally, WWE had hinted that the confirmation of Asuka’s SummerSlam match would take place during the July 21st, 2023 episode of SmackDown. However, plans shifted, and the announcement was made through a post on social media instead.
According to the social media update, Asuka is set to defend her women’s title against both Bianca Belair and Charlotte Flair at SummerSlam. Despite the revelation, Bianca Belair was notably absent from the SmackDown episode that night.
Reports from PW Insider shed some light on the situation, suggesting that WWE might have been compelled to make creative changes during SmackDown due to several positive COVID screenings that emerged before the Orlando show.
Rumors circulated among the wrestling community that the reason behind the changes in the scheduled plans was the presence of talents who were either confirmed COVID positive or had direct contact with someone who tested positive. As of the reports, the specific names of those affected were not disclosed, leaving fans and the wrestling world speculating about who might have contracted the virus.
“The word making the rounds at SmackDown is that the reason there were some changes to the scheduled plans tonight is that there were talents pulled for medical reasons. One version making the rounds is that there were COVID positives or talents who were at least in direct contact with someone who tested positive.”
The safety and well-being of WWE’s talent and staff have always been paramount, and the company has taken stringent measures to mitigate the risk of COVID spread during its events. The potential presence of positive cases or close contacts might have led to quick decisions and changes in the show’s lineup to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved.
As information continues to surface, it remains important for the wrestling community to support WWE and its talent during this challenging time. The ever-changing nature of the wrestling industry means that adaptability and flexibility are crucial, and plans may continue to evolve as circumstances dictate.