WrestleMania Apr 7, 2024; Philadelphia, PA, USA; WWE Universal Championship match between Roman Reigns and Cody Rhodes during Wrestlemania XL Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

WrestleMania is WWE’s preeminent event. The storied event has had forty editions dating back to 1985, when the first one occurred at the historic Madison Square Garden.

Since then, the event has been all over: from Chicago to Detroit, Los Angeles to Anaheim, Phoenix to Seattle, stops through Texas and Florida, and many more. Traditionally, the event has occurred in early April or late March. There have been certain instances where this hasn’t occurred. WrestleMania X-8, for example, occurred on St. Patrick’s Day 2002. WrestleMania XX occurred on March 14, 2004. But it’s held firm to an early April state for many years.

It doesn’t sound like that’s for long. WWE President Nick Khan spoke at Sports Business Journal’s World Congress of Sport on Wednesday. Khan’s tidbits included WrestleMania. This year’s annual extravaganza emanated from Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, earlier this month.

But based on what Khan had to say, not only should WWE fans not expect many open-air WrestleManias going forward out East, but they should perhaps think about a calendar shift for WrestleMania.

Let’s examine why WWE might make this decision, what could happen, what shouldn’t happen, and what we think will happen here.

What’s the problem with where it is now?

Based on what’s out there, Nick Khan directly said that the head-to-head competition with the Men’s Final Four is a factor. Presumably, the Women’s Final Four doesn’t provide this issue directly with WrestleMania (but more on outside factors in just a little bit). Meanwhile, the Men’s Final Four has competed directly with WrestleMania for many moons.

It appears WWE no longer wants this to happen. The company hasn’t ever had an issue selling WrestleMania to its global audience. Fans worldwide have routinely flocked to the United States (or Canada) for the annual mega-event. So we can’t imagine it has much to do with competing for fans, especially since both events have run parallel to each other without any real evidence that one takes from the other. Especially since the two-night WrestleMania craze just began in 2020, induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, and then turned into a two-night thrill ride.

Depending on how long it is, a move for WrestleMania could open up shop more for them. Those Final Four venues that can’t be used on the same weekend as WrestleMania may then be freed. That could, in turn, allow for more venue flexibility and options.

Is it just that, or is there more at play?

So, let’s get into this aspect of it.

WrestleMania is indeed a two-night weekend event. It’s also become a citywide event for the entire week. The company has often placed its television shows, Smackdown and Raw, in the same city or vicinity as the event. In 2023, WWE held ‘Mania at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, and then Raw and Smackdown aired live from Crypto.com Arena, formerly known as STAPLES Center. This year, everything was held at either Lincoln Financial Field or the Wells Fargo Center.

So that means you have to account for Friday and Monday. The Women’s Final Four, which has certainly experienced recent booms, would then become a “threat” to the Friday night telecast. The Men’s National Championship Game has really stood as their biggest television threat in April for years. The Raw after WrestleMania has become a huge event. They would want as many eyes on that as possible.

You can’t do that if you compete annually with the Men’s Title Game.

When is the ideal time for WrestleMania?

While all of these factors are true, this one’s easy to me. I don’t think this is a “broken” issue to me, a potential WrestleMania ticket-buyer. So, if you don’t want to compete with the Final Four, kick it to the following week.

You might have to deal with The Masters, but that’s not a primetime event. If you start going too far down the calendar, you risk throwing the fans for too much of a loop. It’d be an immediate, harsh adjustment, and the build would be unnecessarily lengthened. You’d have to make other adjustments to the beginning of the calendar.

That means the Royal Rumble would be on the table. The traditional January event that begins the road to WrestleMania would have to be kicked down the curb unless they wanted to extenuate the build. One decision will have to beget another.

To avoid that, kick it out a week. That’s the ideal time.

The one thing they shouldn’t do is…

Move it to May. There’s apparent rummaging that they could do that, but I wouldn’t care for this decision. April is a month wrestling fans often look forward to for WrestleMania. They’re a passionate bunch, and they’re willing to be loyalists. It just feels like a situation where it’s really not that broken, so making that harsh an adjustment would feel like an overstep.

What do we expect?

If Khan is going to go beyond insinuating, WrestleMania will almost certainly move from its previous location. We may know the official answer next month when WWE reportedly announces the date of WrestleMania 41. Conventional wisdom isn’t often conventional. As much as I may not want it, I think a May WrestleMania is possible in the future. Maybe not right away, but as they say, Nothing lasts forever.

About Chris Novak

Chris Novak has been talking and writing about sports ever since he can remember. Previously, Novak wrote for and managed sites in the SB Nation network for nearly a decade from 2013-2022