Due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, WrestleMania 36 was forced to make drastic changes for the worse. Originally scheduled to be held at the Raymond James Stadium on April 5, the restrictions administered from a national level has caused WWE to cancel this and switch it over to the Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. The main events feature Universal Championship and WWE Championship matches of Goldberg vs. Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar vs. Drew McIntyre, respectively.
Since the pandemic, WWE Raw and WWE SmackDown have both been aired live at the PC, with no fans. Unfortunately, for the first time ever, this will be the same fate for WrestleMania. WWE announced that the show will now be a two-night event, scheduled for both April 4 and 5. In an unprecedented turn of events, the biggest WWE show of the year will now have to be taped.
Why WrestleMania is “Too Big for One Night”
While WWE is promoting the show as being “too big for one night,” the reality is that the amount of people in one place is restricted, which changes the entire dynamic of allowing the roster in the PC at one time. As a result, the event has to be split in two to honor the restrictions. To make matters worse, Orlando Mayor Buddy Myer has issued a stay-at-home order for the city, until April 9. This is longer than the scheduled WrestleMania event. The order will be in effect as of Thursday, March 26.
Due to these circumstances, WWE WrestleMania is going to be taped before the order is in effect. There will also be tapings for Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown until after April 9. The inability to have the event in Tampa has also caused the WWE Hall of Fame and NXT TakeOver: Tampa to be postponed.
PWInsider reached out to WWE regarding the future of the Hall of Fame and TakeOver, and here was the response:
“The WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony and NXT TakeOver will not take place as previously scheduled. We will share further details as they become available.”
WrestleMania Card Forced to Change
Along with the frenzied turn of events, the original card for WrestleMania has been forced to change as well. While the main event matches are still the same, along with other matches such as John Cena vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt, Edge vs. Randy Orton, and The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles, the SmackDown Women’s Championship, Raw Tag Team Championship, and United States Championship matches have been changed. Since both Rey Mysterio and Dana Brooke have been quarantined, there will be no U.S. title match, and Brooke is now removed from the Women’s title match. In addition, since AOP member Akam was injured during a match on Raw, the rumored tag team title match has now been changed to the Street Profits defending their titles against U.S. Champion Andrade and Angel Garza.
For the foreseeable future, the WWE Performance Center will be the hub for all events. As of now, the taping schedule will go until the order expires. Perhaps an even bigger issue would be that if the order is extended, this means that WWE will be forced to air Raw, SmackDown, and NXT without any new matches until the order has been lifted. This would leave all the wrestlers sitting at home, and the fans without watching any new matches.