State: WWE Live Shows Back in Kentucky Because of "Red Tape Reduction"

A live broadcasts of WWE's Smackdown from Rupp Arena in Lexington on Tuesday night is cause for celebration for some state officials.

It had been six years since such a show broadcast from the Commonwealth, according to an announcement released Tuesday touting Gov. Matt Bevin's "red tape reduction" initiative, crediting it with bringing the spectacle back.

“It’s great to have WWE back in Kentucky for another live televised show,” said Kentucky Boxing and Wrestling Commission chairman Chad Miller. “More shows translate to more dollars for local economies, and the commission is thrilled that our efforts are paying off for our wrestling fans, athletes, local businesses, and the combat sports industry in Kentucky.”

Since 2016, the Commission has repealed nearly 40 percent of the state’s combat sports regulations as part of Gov. Bevin’s Red Tape Reduction Initiative, the announcement said. The “cut rule,” repealed as part of the initiative, required an athlete to leave a match if he or she bled. The regulation prevented live televised matches from being held in Kentucky. Since the repeal, WWE has hosted several shows in the Commonwealth, including a Smackdown Live show earlier this year at the KFC Yum! Center.

“There is no doubt that the growth we are seeing in combat sports is directly tied to a transparent and fair regulatory environment,” said Miller. “The commission continues to look for ways to promote efficiency while also ensuring athlete safety.  Athletes can now apply for licenses online, and the Commission has streamlined and repealed approximately 55 percent of the forms an athlete could be required to complete for licensure.  We believe that all of these measures will further a strong combat sports industry in Kentucky.”

-Staff report

Photo: A.J. Styles (via WWE)