LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 11: WWE logos are shown on screens before a WWE news conference at T-Mobile Arena on October 11, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was announced that WWE wrestler Braun Strowman will face heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury and WWE champion Brock Lesnar will take on former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez at the WWE's Crown Jewel event at Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on October 31.
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

WWE has found itself in a position where WrestleMania 36 will be extremely different than past editions of the annual event.

Rich Mancuso

This is WrestleMania season. The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t stopped WWE from staging its annual event. They’re the lone star in town with sports in the dark and are taking advantage of the situation.

Utilizing pre-taped matches with no fans in attendance, hoping to gain more momentum, and here we are. On both Saturday and Sunday night, an event will be televised on WWE Network and pay-per-view, and is the only game in town. 

As one who’s been in the pro wrestling industry, from experience, this is the mega-event on the calendar. However, this won’t be that event that has set indoor attendance records over the years.

You see, this is WrestleMania, sports entertainment, and it was scheduled to take place before 75,000 or more fans at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida. Instead, matches have been taped in off-site venues and some at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando with empty seats in the background. 

And with no fans, the talent set for this event will work extra hard. Pro wrestlers play off the crowd, the pyro effects. This time, it’ll resemble an audition or rehearsal. You will hear the talent talking in the ring and editing the production will hopefully add to some effect of a simulated crowd. 

WWE doesn’t want you to run away. They, instead, say that safety procedures are very strict for the talent and limited production personnel on-site.  The show, they say, was not postponed, as this is an entertainment business.

So WrestleMania 36, according to WWE, will be that diversion from a national and worldwide health crisis. 

Yes, they will entertain and that is always the focus of WWE. But this WrestleMania, not like the 35 others, will have that different and expected feel. Those who tune in will view storylines come to an end. There will be that curiosity to see how this WrestleMania will transpire.

It will be different, unique. The coronavirus pandemic has shut down all sports with an exception for WWE, which has advertised this event as big enough for two nights and not just one. And with no baseball, NBA, NHL, MLS, golf, tennis, NASCAR, or really any sport for that matter, this is the only show in town.

And many of those loyal fans, from a consensus, would rather see WrestleMania staged at a time when we are safe from the pandemic. From this perspective, WrestleMania should’ve been postponed to a later date.

WWE is different though, because this billion-dollar company works on a scheduled cycle and is committed to dates with its worldwide network of 1.5 million subscribers in mind. 

Similar to all sports, WWE is committed to its sponsors. They’re a sole entity. The schedule remained and they ignored the criticism of proceeding with their event of the year.

Forget about the financial losses here, only because WWE will survive with stockholders and sponsors that are always in its pocket. It’s the nature of the business to understand that pro wrestling fans are a loyal base and have been for years.

They will watch, and so will others, as this is the only show in town. Also, ESPN and FOX Sports are networks that are in business with WWE. They’ll additionally air some of their platform programmings prior to WrestleMania.

Yes, an event that’s big enough for two nights. An event that will draw the usual amount of viewers that are loyal pro wrestling and WWE fans. An event with the usual suspense, but a type that’s unique, because the spoilers have been silenced due to the circumstances of a closed-door event.

However, this is not WrestleMania as it should be. The entertainment event should’ve been postponed to a later date, but instead, will occur as scheduled. Only WWE would do it this way.

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