Given the panic and concern, WWE needs to make the WrestleMania 36 decision now.
CoronaMania is running wild (to soon?) as the world seeks comfort and reassurance in a challenging environment. I myself hit up my local Walmart at 6:00 AM today (Monday) and was somewhat surprised to find that it felt like 1:00 PM on a Saturday. I was able to get one package of Angel Soft (my favorite brand of toilet paper, by the way), thanks to the staff at the store monitoring and ensuring no one gets more than one. When I got there, they only had 6 packs left. Not a bunch of 6-packs, but literally six packs of toilet paper. Thirty six rolls. And that’s more than I’ve seen in about a week!
I said today is Monday—that’s Monday, March 16, 2020. (Happy 316 Day, Attitude Era fans!) That’s 20 days before WWE presents WrestleMania 36, the Grandaddy Of Them All, and the company’s Super Bowl. (Don’t sue me, NFL.) It’s the biggest day on the wrestling calendar, both for WWE and for the world around it. Many independent wrestling companies go all-in on this event, and independent wrestlers can create their own star-power in one weekend.
The coronavirus has threatened or ended all of that for 2020.
The NCAA Tournament (Women’s and Men’s), MLB’s Spring Training, the NBA season, the NHL season, NASCAR, the PGA Tour (including the Master’s), E3, comic conventions, a good portion of the Las Vegas Strip, SXSW, Coachella, and so much more has been postponed or outright cancelled. It’s an insane time that most of us have never seen in our lifetime.
Yet WWE WrestleMania 36 is still on, scheduled for Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, April 5, 2020. Over 70,000 people are expected for the event, pending international travel of course. As of the time of this writing, the event is moving forward as planned.
Counter to WWE, the UFC insists on holding events, also in front of empty seats, and shows no signs of slowing it down. Dana White has been marked in his comments, and they’re all about making sure the events happen. Check out these comments, as shared by ESPN:
“Obviously, things are changing by the hour. This morning, they announced new travel restrictions for the U.K., so [the March 21 event] can’t continue in London. But the fight will go on. We’re working on finding a new venue, likely in the United States, and I have my matchmakers literally working right now to put together the undercard.”
WWE has held Smackdown at the Performance Center, will hold tonight’s Raw there as well, and NXT will be there for the foreseeable future thanks to Full Sail University closing down any and all events through the end of April.
But what about WrestleMania? According to WrestleVotes (usually somewhat reliable), holding an empty-stadium WrestleMania 36 is not what Vince McMahon wants to do:
I don’t have much new info on WrestleMania, but I do know, according to a good source, that Vince really does not want to host the event in an empty stadium. He’s very much against it, his least favorite option I’ve heard.
— WrestleVotes (@WrestleVotes) March 16, 2020
So what does it all mean? Something’s got to give.
WrestleMania is an international event, as fans from all over the globe converge for what is essentially a celebration of pro wrestling and its fans. Travel is restricted, and fans need to recoup the investment they’ve made on the event itself.
The Center for Disease Control has recommended, along with medical experts and so many government officials, that any large group gatherings do not take place for the next 8 weeks. WrestleMania 36, as we’ve already established, is less than 3 weeks away.
WWE, for its fans and the wrestling business as a whole, needs to change this event. Maybe we have it over the summer, maybe it’s outright cancelled. I know the insurance/financial situation is a big one in the board room, but we’re dealing with people’s lives. Not only their health, but their finances and their day-to-day planning.
So I reiterate the title of this article: WWE must, at a minimum, postpone WrestleMania 36, if not outright cancel the event.
EDIT to add:
Since this published, the UFC has postponed their next three events and closed all offices through March 31. So, even the UFC, who has been getting killed in their media space, has come around. C’mon Vince!
What say you? Drop a comment, send me an email, or interact on social media! This is a big topic, and I want to hear your thoughts.
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