According to a report from Dave Meltzer of F4WOnline, the television contracts WWE has with the USA Network and FOX require the company to produce a set number of live shows every year.
After previously reporting that WWE would be taping a number of episodes of Raw and SmackDown in one large taping, WWE abruptly changed course and switched to moving back to a live format every week in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. The reason for this change is because USA and FOX only allow a certain number of taped shows to be presented every year. According to the report, the USA Network allows three taped shows.
WWE has had to cancel all live events indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is believed that there was a fear in the company that if WWE violated the terms of the contracts, despite being in a situation that was out of their control, television money, which is key to the company right now, would be withheld.
WWE issued a statement to ESPN defending the decision to go back to live events:
“We believe it is now more important than ever to provide people with a diversion from these hard times. We are producing content on a closed set with only essential personnel in attendance following appropriate guidelines while taking additional precautions to ensure the health and wellness of our performers and staff. As a brand that has been woven into the fabric of society, WWE and its Superstars bring families together and deliver a sense of hope, determination, and perseverance.”