WWE WrestleMania 36 is happening but without the fans
WWE WrestleMania is regarded as the biggest pay-per-view event for the pro-wrestling industry. Ever since its inception in 1984, several biggest superstars such as the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker and CM Punk have competed in the pay-per-view in front of record attendance. But this year, there will be superstars galore, but no fans at WrestleMania. Amid growing concerns of coronavirus pandemic in Tampa Bay, WWE officially announced that the event, which was set to take place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida, will now be moved closed doors to WWE’s training facility, in Orlando, Florida.
In a statement released early Tuesday morning, WWE said: “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,” it further added.
There were rumours circulating that WWE might have to cancel WrestleMania after Tampa Bay officials threatened to “pull the plug” on the show if WWE did not act on the rising concerns over the virus. On Friday evening, Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller said: “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 on that.”
On March 15, the CDC also announced that organisers of events with more than 50 or more people should cancel or postpone them for at least eight weeks.
Several superstars took to Twitter to express their opinions on the major announcement:
The original venue for the WrestleMania event was expected to hold a record stadium audience of 65,000 fans from across the world. It will not be the first WWE event which will take place behind closed doors. WWE have also held Raw and SmackDown at the Performance Centre this past week amid no live audiences.