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Stephanie McMahon Addresses Roman Reigns Dropping Out of WrestleMania 36, Says They Support Their Superstars

April 2, 2020 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Roman Reigns Goldberg Smackdown

Sports Illustrated interviewed WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon, and she addressed the situation with Roman Reigns dropping out of his scheduled match with Goldberg at WrestleMania 36. Below are some highlights.

McMahon on how WWE is handling safety protocols during the coronavirus: “In terms of safety measures and protocols, first and foremost, every performance is voluntary for our performers and crew. That is a really important note to highlight. Also, the Performance Center itself is a closed set. We’re shooting in waves. No one person, regardless of who they are, is allowed to enter if they have a temperature of over 100.4, or if they have been out of the country or been in touch with someone who has been out of the country. We also do pandemic-level cleaning, which includes fogging and ultraviolet light, in the facility every single night. That could be overkill, quite frankly, but we really are trying to put in the best safety practices that we possibly can given the circumstances. Those are some of the measures we are taking, and it is as comprehensive as it can possibly be. We also changed some of the format for WrestleMania. We’re not holding the men’s or women’s battle royal—that’s just too many people in the ring at one time.”

McMahon’s response on Roman Reigns reportedly dropping out due to health concerns: “With all of our superstars, it really is a voluntary basis. It’s not my place to give his personal situation, but we support our superstars. We support their personal opinions and concerns, and again, this is all voluntary. Especially when you have a talent or a performer with pre-existing conditions, or whatever the reason might be. If someone is uncomfortable, we will absolutely honor that. We want our talent to perform at WrestleMania, but only if they’re comfortable. Regardless of their reasons, they have to be comfortable. It has to be something they want to do. We absolutely support all of our superstars and their decision of whether or not to perform, especially at this time.”

On how WWE has handled the changes: “It was, actually, because this is an unprecedented time. We all have been day-to-day really looking at all of this. Ultimately, as brands and leagues and companies are reinventing themselves, it’s important to stay true to your mission. And our mission is to put smiles on people’s faces. We’re a fan-first company, we always want to provide an experience that is worthy of our fans’ passion. We’re constantly looking at what other leagues are doing, what other providers are doing, assessing the landscape–can we make it as safe as possible? Where can we shoot the content? All of these different factors have come into play. We’re working with local, regional, and global agencies, we’re putting in the best possible testing measures that we can [and] all of the safety precautions that we’re taking to take this very seriously. This is not something where we’re just being bullheaded and moving forward. This is a concerted, very thought-through effort to entertain our fans with our biggest show of the year. It won’t feel and look like our biggest show of the year, but certainly from a content standpoint and a match standpoint, we’re trying to deliver.”