The COVID-19 epidemic is causing shutdowns and cancellations to sporting events all over the world, and those that are continuing as normal have been forced to take extra precautions. The pro wrestling industry has also felt the effects of the virus, but WWE and All Elite Wrestling are still hosting televised shows, albeit from empty arenas.
With WrestleMania 36 on the horizon, WWE still plans on moving ahead with their biggest show of the year, but the latest rumor about the event will mark an unfortunate first for the company.
Citing Fightful Select, Sportskeeda reports that this year’s WrestleMania and the subsequent episode of Monday Night Raw will be pre-recorded. This is unfortunate news for the company and fans, as the live atmosphere is part of the appeal for both shows. Of course, it’s completely understandable since most superstars will be going into self-isolation until the current crisis is over.
Both shows could also be pre-recorded this week. As The Inquisitr previously reported, the company plans on recording a batch of shows in the coming days so superstars don’t have to travel to upcoming events, while also ensuring that fans have new episodes and events to tune in to on a weekly basis.
— WWE (@WWE) March 21, 2020
The company has faced some criticism for pressing ahead with WrestleMania and other shows. According to Hall of Famer Mark Henry, by the way of PWMania, Vince McMahon is unlikely to cancel the biggest event of the year, and he believes that the WWE chairman is too stubborn and competitive to give into the pandemic.
“I think that is if you cancelled it, you would be conceding. You will be letting it [coronavirus] win. And, I mean, knowing Vince McMahon? He’s not gonna let it win, he’s undefeated. He’s not gonna allow it man.”
Even if the event goes ahead, it’s likely that some advertised matches won’t take place. As noted by The Inquisitr, the annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal is expected to be cut from this year’s card, as will the planned women’s equivalent of the match. The company has agreed to adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for social distancing and the cancellation of mass gatherings.
Anything could change in the coming weeks and some matches will be reliant on the availability of superstars to travel, but at the time of this writing, the tentpole bouts involving main event performers are expected to go ahead as planned.