The first thing that WWE did to combat the coronavirus was to cancel WrestleMania 36 in Tampa, move it to the Performance Center, and have it take place with no audience. After that, it was a matter of trying to figure out how to make this whole thing work and come off as appealing to those at home. Well, they have figured out something as the biggest wrestling event of the year will now take place over two nights with former NFL star Rob Gronkowski serving as the host.
Earlier this year, there had been whispers on social media that WWE would move WrestleMania to be held as a multi-night event. That didn’t seem like anything that the promotion would ever do, but unforeseen circumstances have forced it to happen in 2020.
The official website of WWE revealed early on Wednesday evening that WrestleMania 36 will now take place on Saturday, April 4, and Sunday, April 5. On both evenings, the event will begin at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT with the former New England Patriot hosting the whole thing.
Gronk will host the event as it takes place live from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, but there will no fans in attendance. Due to the threat of COVID-19, only necessary personnel will be in attendance to keep the risk to all those involved to a bare minimum.
It’s official! I’m hosting @WrestleMania this year…and it’s gonna be too big for just one night. For the 1st time, #WrestleMania will be a ????2-NIGHT????event: Saturday, April 4 AND Sunday, April 5 on @WWENetwork! Tell you more this Friday night on #SmackDown at 8 ET on @FOXTV.
— Rob Gronkowski (@RobGronkowski) March 18, 2020
This format is truly unprecedented as it is something that WWE has never done with their huge pay-per-view. Other wrestling promotions have done this kind of thing, but it is unheard of from WWE even though WrestleMania has been approaching a length of seven hours over the last few years.
Longtime fans will remember back in 1986 that WrestleMania 2 actually took place in three different venues. Matches were held at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, the Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, Illinois, and the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California.
That was the first and only time WWE has held a WrestleMania in multiple locations, but that is about to change.
FYI – WrestleMania will not only take place at WWE’s training facility, it’ll also include multiple locations over two nights. All locations will still be closed sets with only essential personnel.
— Ryan Satin (@ryansatin) March 18, 2020
It is the only WrestleMania that also took place on a Saturday and not the traditional Sunday, but again, that is going to change. This year’s event will now be the second to ever have in-ring action happen on a Saturday.
Fans will be able to catch all of WrestleMania 36 in early April as the WWE Network will stream it on both evenings. Considering the unique nature of having the pay-per-view happen with no fans, splitting it up into two evenings is a good way for WWE to keep fans from getting antsy.
As of the evening of Wednesday, March 18, 2020, here is the card for WrestleMania 36:
- WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Drew McIntyre.
- WWE Universal Championship: Goldberg (c) vs. Roman Reigns.
- NXT Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair.
- Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Shayna Baszler.
- Bray “The Fiend” Wyatt vs. John Cena.
- The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles.
- Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins.
- Last Man Standing Match: Edge vs. Randy Orton (not yet confirmed).
More matches will be announced for the WrestleMania 36 over the course of the next two weeks, but this opens so many doors. Fans are already anxious to see which matches land on which night, and just how much fanfare will be included without having anyone in attendance to watch from the crowd.