The WWE announced on Monday night that WrestleMania 36 will not take place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay due to the coronavirus outbreak.
WrestleMania will still happen, but at WWE’s training facility in Orlando (the WWE Performance Center), with “only essential personnel” on the closed set. That means no fans in attendance. The April 5 event will still stream live on WWE Network and is available on pay-per-view.
“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.”
So, this will be a very weird setting for the top WWE event of the year. However, due to coronavirus concerns, seemingly the only choices for WWE were to have WrestleMania in the Performance Center with no audience, cancel the event, or postpone it.
WWE actually held SmackDown in the Performance Center with no fans on Friday, and curiosity from viewers boosted the TV ratings.
Here’s an example of the bizarre (empty) setting from SmackDown:
Pumping up the non-existent crowd during the intro walkouts at WWE SmackDown. pic.twitter.com/WAx6y1lN3e
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) March 14, 2020
UPDATE: WWE announced on Wednesday that WrestleMania 36 will be a two-night event (April 4 and 5) for the first time, and will be hosted by former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.
BREAKING: #WrestleMania 36 is now set for a historic two-night presentation on @WWENetwork with former New England @Patriots @RobGronkowski hosting The #ShowOfShows at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on Saturday, April 4, AND Sunday, April 5! https://t.co/3K5vgxL0SB
— WWE (@WWE) March 18, 2020
Additionally, it will be held from “multiple locations” instead of just at the Performance Center, according to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
WrestleMania will be from multiple locations, not just PC. More later.
— Dave Meltzer (@davemeltzerWON) March 19, 2020
It’s official! I’m hosting @WrestleMania this year…and it’s gonna be too big for just one night. For the 1st time, #WrestleMania will be a 🚨2-NIGHT🚨event: Saturday, April 4 AND Sunday, April 5 on @WWENetwork! Tell you more this Friday night on #SmackDown at 8 ET on @FOXTV.
— Rob Gronkowski (@RobGronkowski) March 18, 2020