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    Friday, September 25, 2020

    The Grapevine (9/25/20): COVID-19 Cases in WWE and AEW, RETRIBUTION Update, NXT UK

    Lance Archer in AEW

    Welcome to the Grapevine! This section of Smark Henry is where we round up all the important founded and unfounded rumors floating around the pro wrestling scene that you may have missed over the past few days. Remember to take everything with a grain of salt!

    COVID-19 cases in WWE and AEW

    This week saw a number of COVID-19 cases be confirmed in both WWE and AEW. There reportedly was a small outbreak over in NXT, with a Performance Center coach testing positive. The outbreak was reportedly due to what seemed to be an increasingly lax attitude toward the virus. Creative plans for NXT and even RAW and SmackDown may be affected by this outbreak, with Wednesday's show being rewritten as a result of these developments. WWE is apparently testing Performance Center trainees weekly and before they get booked on any shows.

    Meanwhile, both Lance Archer and Ben Carter of AEW have confirmed to be positive with COVID-19. Archer was off this week's Dynamite after being advertised for a big six-man tag team main event, while Carter appeared on both Dark and Late Night Dynamite this week. This will likely affect some members of the AEW roster. (Source: Wrestling Observer Radio, Fightful Select, Jon Alba, Ben Carter and Lance Archer on Twitter)

    We say: Whoomp, there it is. This is the major risk both companies carry by still continuing to operate despite the pandemic, and it's clear that the American attitude of not taking the virus seriously is very much prevalent. This should serve as some sort of wake-up call to at least tighten the screws the way the NBA and NFL do, if you're not going to shut things down.

    RETRIBUTION update

    The female members of RETRIBUTION were also reportedly due to get new ring names on this week's RAW, but those plans were scrapped. One possible name brought up was "Shatter," and it's not clear whether this was supposed to be for Mia Yim or Mercedes Martinez. (Source: @Wrestlevotes on Twitter)

    We say: Well... okay. It's not as bad as Slapjack, we'll give them that.

    NXT UK update

    The NXT UK roster had to undergo a three-week training session in the UK Performance Center due to ring rust. The roster is said to train weekly before and after tapings, but the six-month layoff was apparently so great that a longer training session and re-shoots of some matches necessary.

    Several new talents are supposedly set to debut within the next few sets of tapings, presumably to replace the losses the roster took over the spring and summer. The roster also received their own third-party edict, as they are now no longer able to sell their own merchandise and make money through third-party platforms. (Source: Wrestling Inc.)

    We say: We can't blame anyone at all for accumulating any ring rust, as it's a natural effect of not wrestling for a long enough time. What we're probably amazed at is the new hires at a time like this, proving that the company's still behind the brand when many thought it was kind of dead in the water. At least they're supporting their employees across the pond.

    Let us know what you think of today's news in the comments!

    Photo from AEW
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    Item Reviewed: The Grapevine (9/25/20): COVID-19 Cases in WWE and AEW, RETRIBUTION Update, NXT UK Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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