The coronavirus pandemic is causing all major large gatherings in the United States, and the world, to come to a halt until further notice. However, WWE has decided to take a more creative approach when it came time to discuss what to do about Wrestlemania 36. The SuperBowl of wrestling is scheduled for Sunday, April 5th and according to executives, the show will go on.
Originally, the event was going to take place at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, but now it will be relocated to the Performance Center in Orlando. Currently WWE’s weekly televised installments, RAW, Smackdown, and NXT, are all taking place at the center as well, and being recorded in front of an empty arena of seats. For Wrestlemania 36, for the first time in history, the event will also be recorded in front of a crowd-less arena.
“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,” a WWE statement read.
WWE went on in their statement to assure fans who were planning on watching from home anyway that the show would be televised as scheduled, beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The event will also be live-streaming on the WWE Network in addition to being available for pay-per-view purchase. There’s still no official word about if the traditional pre-show that WWE hold’s before all of its PPV events will still take place.
The same exact match card will also be taking place at Wrestlemania this year, meaning the only major change to the event is the fact that there will be no audience, and potentially no pre-show. Here are the most blockbuster matches that fans can still expect to see in April:
Brock Lesnar vs. Drew McIntyre – WWE Championship: After Drew McIntyre delivered one of the biggest WWE upsets by winning the Royal Rumble this year, he decided to take on one of the biggest and most ruthless WWE Champions the network has ever seen; Brock Lesner. McIntyre was able to defeat Lesner in the Rumble, but fans are excited to see how the two powerhouses will do when up against one another exclusively.
Goldberg vs. Roman Reigns – Universal Championship: When Goldberg initially one the Universal Championship at the Super Showdown, he asked the crowd a simple question, “who’s next?” to which Reigns came out from backstage claiming “I am.” It didn’t take long for the two to shake hands and agree to their Wrestlemania match.
John Cena vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt: When John Cena made his Smackdown return, he made it clear that he wasn’t ready to make his Wrestlemania return since he hadn’t earned it. However, before he could even finish The Fiend appeared and pointed at the Wrestlemania sign, Cena then tipped his cap and the match was official.
Becky Lynch vs. Shayna Baszler – RAW Women’s Championship: After a brutal assault on RAW from Baszler. Lynch was determined to seek her revenge, and luckily she had something Baszler wanted, the championship. At Elimination Chamber a month ago the two made it official.
Wrestlemania 36 is likely to still be the most watched WWE event of the year, while an audience-free crowd may make the overall experience a truly unique one, the matches alone will make up for it. For a list of the rest of the matches on the card for Wrestlemania, and for some fan-predictions, click here.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.