WWE announced on Monday that all “WrestleMania 36” events scheduled for the Tampa Bay area would not take place due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic but “WrestleMania” would still go on in front of no fans from the company’s training facility in Orlando on April 5.
“In coordination with local partners and government officials, WrestleMania and all related events in Tampa Bay will not take place. However, WrestleMania will still stream live on Sunday, April 5 at 7 pm ET on WWE Network and be available on pay-per-view. Only essential personnel will be on the closed set at WWE’s training facility in Orlando, Florida to produce WrestleMania.”
The unprecedented decision comes in the wake of nearly every other sports league canceling or postponing events in response to the outbreak.
As of Monday, the coronavirus has infected more than 180,000 people, killing 7,119, including 78 in the United States.
The decision to hold WrestleMania in front of no fans comes as WWE has shifted its events to the training facility in Orlando in the midst of the outbreak. The March 13 episode of “Smackdown” was filmed live at the WWE Performance Center under similar circumstances — no fans, only essential personnel.
WrestleMania is WWE’s largest event of the year and has been held annually since 1985. The event has morphed from a one-night affair to a nearly week-long extravaganza.
This year, the WWE Hall of Fame Induction, “SmackDown Live,” “NXT TakeOver: Tampa,” “Monday Night Raw” and the WWE Axxess events were all scheduled to take place in the Tampa Bay area. In an additional statement, WWE announced that the Hall of Fame Induction and “NXT TakeOver: Tampa” would “not take place as previously scheduled,” and that further details would be shared as they became available.
While WWE is the main focus of the week, WrestleMania week regularly draws independent wrestling shows, conferences and provides an overall boon to the industry and local economy. According to Enigma Research, WrestleMania 35 brought in $165 million to the New York/New Jersey area last April.
Although the decision to move WrestleMania 36 comes under different circumstances, WWE’s biggest event has moved venues once before. In 1991, WrestleMania VII was moved from the Los Angeles Coliseum to the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena as the country was in the midst of the Gulf War.
From a travel perspective, WrestleMania regularly brings in fans from all 50 states and scores of countries globally.
Reactions started to come in shortly after the announcement was made:
Heart broken for everyone who was excited for WrestlaMania in Tampa. I’m so sorry to the fans @BillieKayWWE & I were so excited to meet. Our time will come!!
This WrestleMania will go down in history.
I’m grateful for the city & WWE for keeping everyone safe during this time ❤️
— Peyton Royce (@PeytonRoyceWWE) March 16, 2020
So like this means that me and @Themikalmosley get to be in the crowd right? Just two best friends watching a wrestling show. Pouring out their emotions for everyone who can’t be there. Those emotions are essential - let us represent you #WoodsAtMania pic.twitter.com/XRQMYQt9bq
— Austin Creed - Future King (@XavierWoodsPhD) March 16, 2020
My first #WrestleMania moment will be perfect. No one in the arena to dampen the sound of tendons ripping and bones cracking & snapping as I become the RAW women’s champion & usher in a new era #Reality #CrankRipTear
— Shayna Baszler (@QoSBaszler) March 17, 2020
It breaks my ❤️ to know that fans won't be able to attend #WrestleMania They aren't just there to watch the show, they're apart of it! But priority #1 is everyone's health. So on April 5th we will do our very best to put on a show worthy of our fans. Its what you deserve.
— $asha Banks (@SashaBanksWWE) March 17, 2020
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