Although WrestleMania 36 is still pushing forward in the first weekend of April — albeit without any spectators due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic — WWE has reportedly decided to cancel two of the event’s expected matches. The men’s and women’s battle royal matches that typically take place during the WrestleMania kickoff show or undercard are rumored to have been taken off the schedule.
In a report published Thursday, Pro Wrestling Sheet‘s Ryan Satin cited sources familiar with the situation, writing that WWE will not be holding the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal and the WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal at this year’s edition of the “Show of Shows.” As he explained, this decision was reportedly made in order to adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for social distancing and the cancellation of mass gatherings.
“We’re told this is one of the many precautionary measures WWE is taking during the event to ‘flatten the curve.'” Satin continued, adding that these measures will also include having a team of physicians on hand to test people entering its Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, for the WrestleMania taping.
According to Satin, WWE confirmed that both battle royals were canceled when he reached out to the company for comment. The removal of the matches has yet to be confirmed in a news release, however.
At the moment, there haven’t been any other reports regarding specific WrestleMania 36 matches that may be canceled ahead of to the event. However, The Inquisitr reported on Thursday that only seven bouts have been confirmed so far for both nights of WrestleMania, with four taking place on Saturday, April, 4, and three scheduled for Sunday, April 5. Among other expected matches, the Last Man Standing Match between Randy Orton and Edge remains unconfirmed, as Orton has yet to respond to the challenge made by Edge on this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw.
Considering how both the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal and WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal essentially serve as WWE’s way of featuring performers that aren’t involved in any relevant feuds leading up to the event, it’s likely that the rumored cancellations won’t have much of an impact on the company’s storylines going forward. However, as Cultaholic noted, these contests have also been used in the past to elevate younger or less-heralded superstars. Cesaro (2014), Baron Corbin (2016), and Mojo Rawley (2017), for instance, emerged victorious in previous iterations of the men’s battle royal.