WWE is known for its huge crowds, grand ticket sales and high reactions from fans. However, due to the COVID-19, a lot of their regular operations have been changed.
It started with their weekly shows. On March 13, they moved their “Friday Night Smackdown” to their WWE training facility in Orlando. The show was still being filmed live, just without an audience.
WWE did the same with their “Monday Night Raw” show the following week. Even though WWE is scripted, the wrestlers often draw from the crowd for reactions during matches and promos. Witnessing a show without an audience was strange.
Two WWE wrestlers, Rey Mysterio and Dana Brooke, have already been quarantined.
Stephanie McMahon, WWE’s chief brand officer, said the company is taking various precautions along with the previous decisions.
“There’s extensive testing and screening when you first come in the facility regardless of whether you’re a talent, a crew member, or anyone else. Working with our doctors, you have your temperature taken. If you have a temperature over 100.4 degrees, you are automatically asked to leave,” McMahon said.
She added, “If you’ve been out of the country or been in touch or in contact with anybody who’s been out of the country you’re not allowed in the facility.”
Now with Wrestlemania 36, the plans have changed drastically. Originally, their biggest event of the year was scheduled to be held in Tampa at Raymond James Stadium on April 5. The stadium can fit roughly 70,000 spectators.
This year for the first time ever, WrestleMania will be a two-night event. Again being filmed at a closed set, the show will be available on the WWE Network and pay-per-view on April 4 and 5 at 7 p.m. EST. Rob Gronkowski is hosting the event.
Along with these adjustments, all extra events surrounding Wrestlemania such as press junkets and fan signs have been canceled.
Recent news came that WWE superstar Roman Reigns will not be competing at Wrestlemania. He was set to face Goldberg for the Universal Championship. At 34, he is immunocompromised and diagnosed with leukemia, so the decision was honored by WWE for Reigns to pull out of the match.
The match card for the night is headlined by WWE Champion Brock Lesnar vs Drew McIntyre. Other buzzworthy matches are Edge vs Randy Orton in a last man standing match, Raw Women's Champion Becky Lynch vs Shayna Baszler, The Undertaker vs AJ Styles in a boneyard match and Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn vs Daniel Bryan.
As the virus progresses, let’s see what the company will do for their future events. They have another big show called “Summerslam” in August.