REPORT: WWE introduced fines after concerns raised by Kevin Owens

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During a recent French-language podcast, host Pat Laprade shed some light on WWE’s adoption of stricter guidelines regarding masks being worn and talent observing social distancing measures.

On the July 9th edition of Les anti-pods de la Lutte, Laprade reported that it was WWE performer Kevin Owens that raised concerns at the tapings on Friday, July 3rd that led to the policy.

Owens reportedly told Vince McMahon he was not comfortable over the lack of masks being worn and people being too close. Owens informed McMahon that he was going to go home. McMahon asked Owens what he wanted him to do with Owens said to have responded that McMahon was the only person the crew was going to listen to.

Laprade went on to describe that McMahon asked if instituting a policy with fines would work. Owens responded that he once swore on SmackDown, was fined, and never did it again – proving it to be a deterrent.

Owens saw that people began wearing masks and keeping their distance, and he chose to stay for the tapings, which included last week’s episode and the show airing tonight.

Shortly after, fines were introduced with Mike Johnson at the first to report failure to wear a mask would result in a $500 fine for the first offense and $1,000 for a second offense.

Earlier this month, Fightful Select had reported that an unnamed talent on Raw had approached Vince McMahon about the situation involving masks and social distancing.

Owens has been a public advocate for people to wear masks and noted that his wife’s grandfather died from COVID-19 earlier this year.

Let’s try this.

— Kevin (@FightOwensFight) June 29, 2020

Good on Kevin for standing up for what he believes in.


Owens is the man. One of the few guys left in WWE who have any balls and aren’t scared of the boss


That’s good to hear.

I had a feeling it was Owens, when I first heard this story. Glad to hear it was actually him and he was listened to.

Which ironically the boss seems to appreciate.

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Or he likes the idea of deducting Paychecks during a pandemic :slight_smile:

We are in July and Vince starts listening. He should have taken measures at least 4 months ago.

Has any company other than New Japan had that rule in place yet?

In general I hope what Owens did puts pressure on every company, from his own, down to Indies running shows again in lax-rule states to do the same. Hell I wish every state had this now. It’s such a simple way to prevent the spread. But I have a feeling lots of companies, not just in wresting, need their workers to step up and push leadership to do things when there’s no official direction coming from governments.

I love Kevin Owens. And he’s since confirmed this report. But man, why did it take a performer pulling aside his billionaire boss to make this happen? I’m glad he did. But this company is disgraceful for taking this long and having no major executive/decision maker crack down on this in March/April. You’re telling me all it took was a sit down with Vince McMahon - did none of his yes men care at all?

WWE should have been dragged through the mud by mainstream media and sponsors for months now. It took an employee to make this happen. Lana just had her mother, father, and husband all contract COVID. The positive cases are 30+ and growing. This company is beyond lucky they haven’t killed anyone yet.

Again, good on Kevin. I’m glad someone in that company with pull had the balls to put his foot down and do the right thing. But, it doesn’t excuse WWE from months of dangerous and egregious behavior in the face of science

Very happy to hear this. Great job KO

didn’t this come after the 30 positive cases so vince wasnt listening to KO up until then or KO didn’t say anything until after and with the 30 plus cases it forced vinces hand
he went dragging and screaming to change his mind he didnt want to and nothing sadly would have made him change sooner until there was an outbreak i am sure there was many who brought him aside even some sponsors but we never hear about them sponsors (if any) and the outbreak made him change his mind i am Not Sure KO alone did (However its good he said something)

Much like Dan Snyder and the Washington Football team he is finally changing name after major sponsors are severing ties he didn’t want to until there was a societal massive change.

Billionaires Don’t Change Their minds until it hurts them financially.

Kevin Owens : Shouldn’t we all put masks on ?

Vince : Why ? What’s going on ?

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I’m aware sponsors are all that matters to billionaires to make change. I’m just not going to give the company any credit for these changes they should’ve made in April. I’m glad Kevin spoke up. It also speaks volumes nobody with pull potentially felt comfortable to speak on this until now.

I will note, I don’t think PR is an issue with WWE. If mainstream media cared, they’d get a lot more attention than they have. They’re sort of out of the public conscious. Again, glad Kevin spoke up. But it’s an absolute shame that the United States is so short-sighted on this. WWE is just a microcosm for it.

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Agree with most of your statement. Except for when you stated

We all know Vince only listens to one or 2 people. Otherwise, God notice how bad the tv is

I haven’t watched the TV in probably 3-4 years now. All I know is through John and Wai. So, I get it. However, it’s important to note some talent do have pull there. I mean, it’s clear with Kevin Owens. I’m sure he has a good relationship with Vince, and Vince listened to his pitch to add fines. It may not be as simple, but it’s clear there was a relationship there and Owens had some pull to convince Vince.

Obviously, it shouldn’t be on the talent to begin with. They should not have to bear the responsibility - the company should be proactively taking care of them. But, if a Randy Orton-status guy comes up to Vince in April and has this conversation, maybe it would have gotten through more soon? I’m sure talent where concerned and voiced it, but in this situation, there are guys with influence

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WWE always get a free pass from mainstream media. Since it is not an actual sport they are seen more like a joke. Nothing gets taken seriously.

Even if they were taken seriously, I dont think mainstream media would come after WWE. Mainstream media (on either side of the political spectrum) is mainly focused on going after government. If you went to CNN for example with this story, I believe the narrative they would prefer to take is how Trump and DeSantis allowed this to happen due to lack of policy and negligence in the republican party, which to be fair is true.

Now to be clear, I am not absolving WWE of anything. I 100% agree that they have made many many mistakes since this started. My post is 100% directed at how I believe the mainstream media would cover it if they cared.

Of course. There are more important things to cover. This is obviously a massive failing on the Trump administration and his band of goons than anything else. I’m not advocating WWE gets 24/7 coverage.

My point about mainstream media was the fact WWE no longer bears relevance compared to UFC, MLB, or soon-to-be NFL. UFC was under heavy fire early on from the sports media prior to their newer COVID protocol. It was a big story, concurrently reported with the rest of the news in the world.

WWE and Vince escape that sort of criticism. Obviously WWE isn’t a sport, but they don’t get mainstream coverage like they did in the 90s/00s because it’s much less popular and relevant in American culture. They exist in their own bubble, barring the occasional John Oliver feature.


If this is in response to me, I don’t disagree with that. I was more so adding to your point, not trying to go against it.

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