COVID-19 has caused a WrestleMania change.
For the first time in history to this magnitude, WWE has been forced to adjust their landmark, annual WrestleMania event. With the threat of Coronavirus looming huge, the company finally was forced to make big changes to their planned April 5 WrestleMania 36 event. The show was to take place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Instead, it will now take place at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando.
WWE issued the following statement:
"“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."
Several hurdles were thrown in WWE's way. First, cases of the virus hit the area, then caused major attended events to be moved, canceled or postponed. A travel ban also restricted flights to and from Europe.
WWE already had several planned television shows moved from their original venues to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando Florida, a training facility that they own.
Last week, Tampa officials met and noted that they would likely "pull the plug" on WrestleMania if WWE didn't make the decision themselves, which led many to days of uncertainty. Wrestlers within the company had no indication as to whether or not the show would actually happen.
This move will have a drastic effect on the industry. Not just for WWE and their finances, either. WrestleCon, GCW's Collective, and dozens of other independent companies, promoters and wrestlers are affected.
WrestleMania has never faced a move this drastic. 1991's WrestleMania 7 was originally set to take place at the massive Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, but moved to the much smaller Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. WWE's reason for the venue change were security concerns involving a storyline featuring Sgt. Slaughter, but that was widely dismissed in favor of poor ticket sales.
Fightful will keep you updated on any changes that occur.