There is no doubt that WrestleMania 36 is the most unique event in WWE history. As the world struggles to control the coronavirus pandemic, WWE has retreated to the company’s Performance Center where it currently broadcasts its weekly television shows without the crowds. While the surreal atmosphere finally became the new standard for wrestling fans, having WrestleMania run under the same conditions seemed unimaginable. However, this will be the case when WrestleMania 36 is broadcast over two nights on Saturday April 4 and Sunday April 5.
Paul “Triple H” Levesque, current WWE leader and legendary artist, spoke at CBS Sports headquarters Friday about the decision to move forward with the event. He also revealed when preparations began to move the tapes to the Performance Center, starting with a phone call on March 10.
“I called Vince [McMahon] and said, “You know, in case things continue south with this situation, maybe we should leave all of these things here and the production capacity before converting them back into a training center. Maybe we should leave this in place in case things continue to go wrong and we need to have a backup facility in case something is canceled, “said Levesque.” We had a conversation at this subject and decided it was a good idea. In 24 hours, that’s what we were doing, and it just keeps growing since the cancellation of events and the cancellation of sports leagues and entire seasons and all along. “
Many fans and media have criticized WWE for the decision to continue hosting events during a global pandemic, bypassing medical and government guidelines in order to advance operations up to and possibly beyond WrestleMania . Professional wrestling is intense and close physical activity, and with the high transmission rates of coronaviruses, many have expressed concern about wrestlers – who are seen as independent contractors and therefore do not benefit from most protections for full-time employees – being asked to participate in matches. This is all the more true since almost all other sports and entertainment stores have closed down.
In Lévesque’s mind, the structure of WWE makes the company particularly suitable for the situation.
“We are in the unique position of one of the few types of entertainment sporting events where we are live and can do it in a different way,” said Levesque. “We don’t fly an entire team in different places against another team and we have to fly crew and staff everywhere and mix people together. We can do it in our Performance Center, we can bring in individual talents, we can work with the CDC and the medical community to give them the best medical advice and the best possible screening to do it safely. Even in the settings of bringing talent into the waves like we do with WrestleMania, having matches take place, bringing talent, making it do a little bit of performance and then leaving and not being there for the whole thing, so we don’t have to risk so many people being in the same place at the same time. “
Levesque also spoke about what he saw as an obligation for the company to walk and make faces smile despite the existence of an unprecedented global situation.
“We are really doing everything we can to make it happen in the safest way possible.” But as we mentioned at the beginning, because we think it is necessary and it is almost our duty, in our opinion, to try as best we can can keep people entertained as much as possible. It will be different. People will like it or not or criticize it or not. But we hope they can just forget about their problems and enjoy them for a few hours, even if there are no fans and even if 80,000 people do not go crazy. “