WrestleMania 36 has been cancelled due to coronavirus concerns. In its place, a reduced event with no audience will take place at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida this April.
The cancellation was expected for several weeks, with speculation growing over whether the city of Tampa would shut down in the wake of Florida’s mounting coronavirus crisis.
Last week, Fox 13 reported that Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller (of Tampa Bay) said the county would cancel the event should WWE not call it off. “I’m hoping that Vince McMahon and WrestleMania and WWE make the call themselves but a week from now, if they’ve not done that and we’re still in the situation we’re in, we’ll probably have to pull the plug,” Miller told reporters.
It’s not known whether this decision was made by WWE itself, or forced by Tampa officials. On March 17, it was confirmed that there were 160 coronavirus cases in the state, including five deaths.
With the U.S. Centers for Disease Control And Prevention this week recommending that gatherings of 50 people or more be cancelled over the next eight weeks to slow the spread of coronavirus, the cancellation of this year’s WrestleMania arena show was inevitable.
Last year’s WrestleMania took place at the Metlife Stadium in New Jersey and recorded an ‘official’ attendance of 82,265 (although these numbers are often inflated by WWE for ‘record-breaking’ purposes). This year’s show was to take place at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, which has in the past recorded crowds of 74,512. As one would imagine, the potential for a coronavirus outbreak to spread amongst crowds of that size is enormous.
In its place, WWE will host a reduced version of WrestleMania 36 from its home training facility, the WWE Performance Center. It’s the same location that hosted SmackDown over the weekend. That show featured awkward silences and unusual promos delivered to empty seats.
It’s currently unclear what contingencies or changes WWE is planning for the scaled down event.
The following matches are scheduled to main event the show:
- Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Drew McIntyre
- John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt
- Becky Lynch (c) vs. Shayna Baszler
- Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
- The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles
- Edge vs. Randy Orton
Changes to these planned matches are currently unconfirmed.
Last year, WrestleMania earned WWE around $27.7 million ($US16.9 million) in attendance alone (not counting online streaming figures). It’s likely that WWE’s financials will suffer a similar loss with this change of venue, although the full impact is so far unclear.
You’ll be able to stream WrestleMania 36 live from the WWE Performance Center on the WWE Network 7:30am on Monday, April 6 AEDT.
Expect a very different WrestleMania spectacular this year.