We recently got our first look at the completely bizarre experience of the WWE putting on a show without an audience, as Friday’s episode of Smackdown was performed away from the public out of concern for spreading the coronavirus. It was very weird, but it looks like it might’ve been a weird trial run for something even weirder that’s coming in April: WrestleMania 36. In a development that is only surprising because of how unsurprising it is, the WWE has confirmed that WrestleMania will be held as planned on April 5, but it will not be happening in Tampa Bay. Instead, it will be at the WWE training facility in Orlando, Florida on a “closet set” with “only essential personnel.” That comes from the organization’s official site, which posted a very brief statement about working with “local partners and government officials” to make sure the show still happens.
Now, we say this without intending to judge the WWE or the content it produces, but real sports have suspended their seasons. March Madness got canceled. Concert venues are closing and musical groups have postponed tours. Why does WrestleMania—of all things—have to happen? Well, “money” is the obvious answer, but even then it’ll be doing its biggest and most important show without fans buying tickets and merch and concessions. It’ll still make money from people paying to see it at home, but the thing they’ll be seeing will presumably be just as weird as the wrestling that’s been airing in the past week without an audience.
Then again, WrestleMania will also be providing people with some (hopefully) good entertainment they don’t have to leave the house for. We just hope they take advantage of this situation. We’re not saying they should put together a more aesthetically inventive show with dramatic camera angles or weird settings (maybe a couple wrestlers could be arguing in Vince McMahon’s office, and then the camera pulls back and reveals that they’re in a ring?), but we are saying that we would be happy to put that together if we had a little more time and however much money the WWE is planning to blow on this.