News NXT’s Rik Bugez defends taking his mask off in the crowd on Raw

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But after learning about false negatives, the metalhead beefcake says it won’t happen again.

On the episode of Raw which aired last night (June 29), the audience of “Performance Center recruits” was wearing masks. It was a reassuring sight after reports of the practice being discouraged while cameras were rolling, even as COVID-19 cases were skyrocketing in Florida and WWE’s Orlando facility.

Eric Bugenhagen, aka NXT’s self-described “metalhead beefcase” Rik Bugez, has been a standout among the extras making up Raw & SmackDown crowds over the past couple of weeks. He was also one of the folks caught taking on camera taking off his mask during Monday’s show.

He defended the decision, as his test prior to the taping came back negative.

We all get our brains poked to get tested before tapings now. When the test is negative, I feel ok taking my mask off for 10 seconds to convey some emotion for the sake of entertainment. Without facial expression, they might as well have mannequin dummies behind the plexiglass

— Eric Bugenhagen (@rikbugez) June 30, 2020
Bugez interacted with a few fans on the issue, including one who brought up studies like this one from Johns Hopkins about how people who’ve recently contracted the novel coronavirus can get false negative results. Upon learning this, the mustachioed air guitarist said it wouldn’t happen again.

That’s what I’ve been hearing. I didn’t know that at the time so moving forward, the mask stays on

— Eric Bugenhagen (@rikbugez) June 30, 2020
Learning is good!

Stay safe out there everybody.

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