WWE marches to the beat of their own drum, and that continues with the move of WrestleMania 36 to the Performance Center–and still gives us the escape we need.
Let me start in the most important way, and it has nothing to do with WrestleMania: I hope you and yours are happy and healthy. Wash your hands. Make good choices. Love one another. We’re going through some crazy times, and for many that’s just piling on with whatever they already had going on. Be smart, and be good.
Yesterday I wrote a piece on WWE WrestleMania 36, and urged WWE to, at minimum, postpone the event. Mere hours later (you’re welcome) the company announced their stance: WWE WrestleMania 36 will go on as scheduled on Sunday, April 5, just 90 minutes north and in front of 70,000 less fans.
You’ve all seen it, but here it is:
“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.”
WrestleMania, the Granddaddy Of ‘Em All, will be held inside the WWE Performance Center, with no fans. Wrestling’s biggest stage will emanate from WWE’s smallest–and I am absolutely thrilled.
The world is going through some crazy shit right now, man. People don’t know what to think. I heard comments from a gentleman in his 60s who has lived through Vietnam, the Cuban Missile Crisis, 9/11, and more. He says he’s never seen the public react to anything in this manner. People are hoarding things they don’t need to hoard (if we’re placed on mandatory quarantine, we still get to leave to get food and supplies at set times). I personally remember 9/11 like it was yesterday, when I was working as a manager in the legal department of a credit card company and Vickie, one of my clerks, came to my desk: “Greg, they’re saying a plane just crashed into the World Trade Center.” She went to the break room to check out the news, and returned a few minutes later. “Greg, another plane just crashed into the World Trade Center.” (Kinda puts this whole WrestleMania thing into perspective, eh?)
The world is crazy, man. Experiences–ups and downs–is what life is all about. And how you respond to them is the most important thing we have and do everyday.
Internally, WWE has one really big goal in all they do: to put smiles on people’s faces. Triple H said exactly that while stealing the show during Friday’s Smackdown from the Performance Center. You can tell that Bryon Saxton was trying to do the same during Monday’s Raw from the same location.
We know the card so far, and what we can expect to be added. We don’t know how the event will look, how WWE will make it unique. But I guarantee you, they will make it unique. It’ll be a night to remember for many reasons. But this is what WWE has always done.
Earlier I mentioned September 11th, and my experience around it. I also remember the Thursday after, when WWE presented Smackdown Live as the first major sporting/entertainment event to take place after the horrendous attacks. WWE is a part of American culture, no matter how many people try to dispute that. We all talked about the financial implications of cancelling WrestleMania, and that the company was waiting for Tampa to cancel the event so they can collect on an insurance policy. Well guess what? That didn’t happen! WWE cancelled it first, proven by the statements from Highspots in regards to the hassle Marriott is giving them over cancelling WrestleCon.
Thanks for asking Peter. Unfortunately Mania cancelling before the city or state actually puts us in a bad situation with our venues. pic.twitter.com/tm6tb7l75o
— WrestleCon (@wrestlecon) March 16, 2020
Here is the key text there:
“Unfortunately Mania cancelling before the city or state actually puts us in a bad situation with our venues.”
WrestleMania cancelled (in terms of the local Tampa market anyway) before the city put the kibosh on the event. WWE is eating the cost. Now it’s possible the city steps in and does a major shut down that WWE can lean on in an insurance filing, but that is likely to take years to resolve now that they made the call on their own.
But they made the call.
Pro Wrestling is an escape, and so is WrestleMania
For me, professional wrestling has always been an escape from real life. My two best friends (Patrick O’Dowd and Miranda Morales) both came into my life thanks to pro wrestling. I’d still be here, but I know for a fact my life would be vastly different without pro wrestling. I watch it. I talk about it. I podcast about it and thousands of you listen. I write about it and the same numbers read.
WWE puts smiles on people’s faces. No not you, stupid internet fan who complains about everything. But the kids and families who make up their target market. Those who still seek out larger than life characters and experiences. Those who look at Roman Reigns as a hero, not as a problem being shoved down our throats. Those who will tune in because Bill Goldberg is back in the spotlight, and they “remember that guy.”
I am excited to sit down on Sunday, April 5, 2020 and watch WWE WrestleMania 36 as a fan. Truth be told, WrestleMania and the Royal Rumble are two of the only events I can still watch purely as a fan. I hope you’ll join me in taking time away from the stresses of live and everything the Coronavirus is taking from us. WWE decided that it can’t take our escape. It’s going to put a smile on my face.