Virus exposes truth about WWE in 'embarrassing' leaked footage

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

The coronavirus pandemic has sparked the shutdown of nearly every sporting league and event around the world for the next few weeks and months.

But along with the AFL and NRL, the WWE is forging on - albeit without fans.

‘EXCEPTION TO THE WORLD’: AFL slammed over ‘strange’ virus plans

‘GROWN MEN IN TEARS’: Sad reality of NRL's virus dilemma

The WWE is continuing to film their regular shows, however fans have been barred from arenas as the stars wrestle behind closed doors.

And apparently that means the wrestlers can take breaks during commercials - even in the middle of matches.

Sasha Banks, Bayley, Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross stopped while an ad played. Image: Sean Ross Sapp/Twitter

Footage has been leaked online of a women’s match at Sunday night’s Smackdown show coming to a complete stop while broadcasters air commercials.

The show was meant to take place in Detroit but was moved to the WWE Performance Centre in Orlando and played out in an empty arena.

The video - posted on Twitter by journo Sean Ross Sapp - shows Alexa Bliss, Sasha Banks, Bayley and Nikki Cross mulling around in the ring while they wait for the all-clear to continue their match.

The farcical scenes would never occur with spectators in attendance, fuelling the ‘fake’ debate that WWE always seems to be battling with.

Some online users labelled the footage ‘embarrassing’ and ‘exposing the company’, while others didn’t really have a problem with it.

“I mean, work smarter, not harder. I don’t have a problem with this,” one fan wrote.

Another added: “I don’t blame them tbh”, while another fan described it as: “Probably the most fascinating smackdown in a long time.”

WrestleMania facing cancellation over coronavirus fears

Officials have flagged the possibility that WrestleMania will be cancelled as WWE continues amidst the coronavirus crisis.

Hillsborough County commissioner Les Miller says he’d “probably” have to cancel WrestleMania 36 if WWE doesn't choose to do so.

The annual WWE showcase event is set to take place on April 5 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

“I'm hoping that [WWE chairman and CEO] Vince McMahon and WrestleMania and WWE make the call themselves, but a week from now if they've not done that and we're still in the situation we're in, we'll probably have to pull the plug on that,” Miller told Fox 13 on Thursday.

Sasha Banks, Alexia Bliss and Bayley in action during a WWE live event. (Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images)

Florida Governer Ron DeSantis previously stated that cities and counties in the state should cancel large gatherings over the next 30 days.

WrestleMania 36 is expected to bring approximately 70,000 people from around the world.

“While we remain committed to hosting WrestleMania at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, April 5, we are putting contingency plans in place in the event that it is canceled by government officials, civil authorities, and/or local venues,” the WWE said in a statement.

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