The globe is in current lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic and that includes the sporting world. But, whilst most of the major sports put their calendars on hold, WWE is maintaining its desire to continue with the season, as evidenced by the hosting of a two-night WrestleMania showpiece event behind closed doors in early April.
Of course, the lockdown meant that fans couldn’t travel to the arena at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium so the event was streamed online around the world.
The best casino sites and bookmakers were offering odds on an array of markets ahead of the event as punters finally had some live sport to bet on after weeks without any live soccer, football and basketball.
With the online world expanding exponentially, live streaming such as this is becoming increasingly mainstream and, with the WWE governing body appearing unwilling to end its commitment to the schedule, wrestling could certainly become the next best thing to watch.
WWE’s stance from the start
From the very beginning, Vince McMahon and co. were determined to go ahead with WrestleMania. By the time March came around, other US sporting organizations were already planning to play games behind closed doors. The same could not be said of McMahon and WWE as plans for WrestleMania still continued.
And, even as late as March 13 when the NBA, NHL and MLB had all suspended their seasons, March Madness was no longer going ahead, the Masters were postponed and numerous WWE events had been relocated, McMahon and WWE released a statement which declared their willingness to host WrestleMania on Sunday, April 5.
Filming took place on Tuesday, March 24, just after Florida’s Orange County announced a stay-at-home order from Thursday night at 11pm. That left WWE with just enough time to get the rest of its filming done, despite being pushed for time and despite the moral obligation.
Even WWE’s event on May 10, Money in the Bank, is still scheduled to go ahead.
Criticism of WWE
Against the backdrop of such a torrid climate, WWE’s attitude does seem rather remarkable. Yet, the company is going through safety procedures with only essential personnel on-site with social distancing being practiced outside of ring performances. And, of course, such performers will be tested once widespread testing becomes available.
But that didn’t stop WrestleMania 36 from going ahead. Critics did lament the lack of studio audience and a poor lead-up with a number of star wrestlers backing out due to the pandemic. Yet it’s a miracle it was on at all and it sure did give many sporting fans a light break from the doom and gloom of current society.