It’s WrestleMania week…but unlike any other WrestleMania week, there won’t be any community outreach, no fan Axxess, no glamour of the Hall of Fame, no Takeover, no meet and greets throughout the host city, no day-long media appearances…and hell, not even a live WrestleMania.
What is usually a week filled with over 70,000 fans coming from all corners of the world, this will be a pretty subdued occasion, so subdued that WWE has already taped WrestleMania a week-and-a-half in advance. It is safe to say that the coronavirus outbreak has pretty much altered the way we lived for the past month or so and who knows for how many more to come.
This WrestleMania will certainly go down in history not just because it’s spread over two nights, but because it is held in one of the smallest buildings with no fans in attendance. None. Zero. There won’t be any record attendance announced this year and WWE won’t be able to gloat about the economic impact that WrestleMania left in the host city.
Tampa Bay has been trying to get a hold of WrestleMania for a few years and finally managed to win the bid but as luck would have it, a virus outbreak took that away from them too. Dozens of hotels, many of which were charging over $300 a night during Mania week, ended up with no guests at all and restaurants that would have been buzzing with clients are now temporarily closed.
Tons of independent shows and events surrounding WrestleMania had to cancel as well because let’s face it, without the WWE fans in town, there was no way they would have sold out on their own.
The idea of postponing WrestleMania to a later date was floated around but in the end, the powers that be chose to go ahead and still hold it at the Performance Center in front of nobody and to minimize the risk, pre-record it as well.
Was it a good idea to go ahead with the show? Who knows…we’ll find out in a few more days. But one thing is for sure, the buzz that accompanies WrestleMania week is definitely not there this time around.