Coronavirus outbreak: WWE WrestleMania in Tampa Bay could be in trouble
WWE WrestleMania is regarded as the biggest pay-per-view in pro-wrestling industry. The 36th edition of WWE’s biggest event is set to take place on April 5th in Tampa Bay, Florida. But a troubling news this past weekend has put a question mark on whether the event will be taking place. Last week, a report broke out that two people in Manatee and Hillsborough Country, Florida, have tested “pre-emptively positive” for the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19), Forbes reported. After the news broke out, Florida Governor Rob DeSantis issued an executive order in which he declared a public health emergency in the state.
He had previously revealed that 15 people have been tested positive for the virus within the state of Florida. Hillsborough County is where this year’s WrestleMania is scheduled to take place. With the widespread panic and fear over the virus, the WWE authorities were questioned whether WrestleMania is set to face its first-ever cancellation, or a shift in the venue.
WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon and Tampa Bay officials, at a luncheon last week hosted by Raymond James Stadium, the site where the ‘Show of Shows’ will take place, addressed the concerns. “The health and safety of not only our fan base, but also our superstars, really does come first. We don’t want to put anyone in a bad situation ever, regardless of the circumstance. Those are not risks worth taking,” Stephanie said.
Rob Higgins, Executive Director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, further added: “You’ve got to be nimble, and you’ve got to be ready. Thirty-six days is a long time, so it’s hard to predict. I think we just continue to information gather as much as possible, so that we are as prepared as possible.” Stephanie further noted “and if necessary, enact those measures.”
WWE’s executive vice-president of special events John Saboor went on: “Given the number of live events that (WWE) does, it’s constantly monitoring global events. There are active and ongoing discussions at play internally, like there are in any sector of American business, and certainly families as a whole. So I think those will continue.”
Meanwhile, the WrestleMania card looks to be stacked up with several legends confirmed of making a return, including 16-time World Champion John Cena and Goldberg. Here is the confirmed WrestleMania card so far:
1) Brock Lesnar vs Drew McIntyre (Universal Championship)
2) Goldberg vs Roman Reigns (WWE World Heavyweight Championship)
3) John Cena vs “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt
4) Charlotte vs Rhea Ripley (NXT Women’s Championship)
5) Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
6) WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal