The Show Must Go On: Wrestlemania Is Still Happening

ESPN Daily


In the WWE. That is we say what our jobs are. Every day is to put smiles on people's faces all over the globe and we truly believe that and then this time maybe more than any other in in my memory people need those smiles right now more than anything that's WWE executive vice president. Paul Leveque better known as triple h talking about the decision to move forward with this weekend's wrestlemainia thirty six. It's the closest thing to live sports. That's happened in a wild but with no fans permitted the arena and concerns over the safety of the wrestlers and staff. What will the showcase of the immortals look like in the age of Corona virus? I mean at times. It's Friday April third this. Espn daily Greg. You're ready to talk wrassling. Damn Right Excel it talking about sports with funny named people trying to punch each other in the face. Greg Luzinski is a senior writer for. Espn you can check out. Lapsed Fan's guide to wrestlemainia on. Espn DOT COM. Yeah actually I wanted to ask you think. Most people know your name from hockey. How long have you been on the Wrestlemainia beat my wrestling a Bona Fides? Go back to when I was a we child watching Hulk Hogan and the more cartoonish W. F. which really sort of capture my heart as you know through the decades there have been times where it's been okay to say a wrestling fan and then sometimes when they've you don't mention it to a lot of people. I think we're in an okay dimension it part of wrestling right now. We're sort of a necessary to mentioned it portion because there's nothing else going on and wrestling is somehow improbably still happening. How is this even occurring? Well the way it's been occurring for the W. E. and their competition. A W which Ariza. Tnt network is that they've been holding shows in empty facilities but for me that means holding their weekly television programs raw and smackdown at the W. E. Performance Center a training facility in Orlando and what they've been doing literally holding it inside of an Empty Gymnasium. I'm the game triple agent. I would like to personally. Welcome you to the. Wwe Performance Center now. This show will be different from anything you've ever seen before. Sit Back Relax. And if you can't forget about the world around you and let. Wwe Do what we do. Let us put a smile on your face to start. That was a little bit awkward because the wrestlers would come out and they would look to the crowd. That wasn't there and they would do all of the usual pantomime they would do to get the fans excited except there was no fans getting excited. You see it doesn't matter if there's ten thousand fans at their zero fans because this is how I I remember that can only way I could describe it as it's like when you're at chucky cheese and the animatronic band starts playing into an empty room. It's still playing. It's still doing. Its own thing. But there's nobody that Iraq to it and that was like the first couple of weeks of this and also they've been utilizing more space around the performance center lake attacks in the parking lot and stuff like that to try to make it feel more than just trying to recreate something inside of an empty room derailed. Me With that chucky cheese analogy this. It's the it's the rock afire explosion ban. Greg get it right. There's nothing better than being in an empty room with the rock afire. Explosion Band and just hearing the gears clunk together. It's jarring but also satisfying so wrestlemainia. Thirty six is happening on Saturday. What was the original plan for the event the original plan was to hold wrestlemainia? Thirty six at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa and this was going to be a huge event for those who don't know it's not just simply wrestlemainia. Inside of a stadium. It is an entire city being overrun by. Wwe events you have the Access Fan Festival you have the WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony. Where wrestlers of old honored and put into a virtual hall of fame. Physical building doesn't exist quite yet and then also after Wrestlemainia the next day on Monday. It's tradition to hold Monday night raw in that same city so this isn't just simply one event on a on a on a Saturday night for The city of Tampa. It was a whole citywide sort of celebration for wrestling as of March. Third The W. E. and Tampa's mayor said there were no plans to postpone the event the W. E. said look the health safety of our fans and performance of our top priorities. But we remain committed to hosting Wrestlemainia at Raymond. James Stadium fast forward to March twelfth. Now you have Hillsborough County's commissioner less Miller saying he'll probably have to cancel wrestlemainia if the. Wwe doesn't make the decision itself because of the virus pandemic governor Rod Santa's that points that cities and counties should cancel mass gatherings over the next thirty days and so it was becoming a worse than worse. Look for W. E. to keep wrestlemainia scheduled framing Jamie Stadium on March sixteenth. They made the decision not to have upwards of sixty five seventy thousand people come to a stadium during a virus outbreak and instead moved into their performance center in Orlando. It's a two night event April fourth and April Fifth. How has wwe justified or explained their decision to go on with us? Well there's the public explanation and then there's the assumed explanation that the public explanation according to the WWe is that it is for the fans the fans are the lifeblood of the organization it is a panacea the fans to be able to hold this event. It is going to give them some comfort in a time of confusion and trouble. It's also going to be arrested for the performers themselves who you know are looking for some direction or looking for some focus in life during uncertain times. And that's sort of the the public explanation for this. If you know about the wrestling business you know that part of this is the fact that story lines that are going to have their big payoff. At wrestlemainia are a month long process. All the story lines all the action. They all run through. Vince McMahon they are on one track. And they're going to stay on that track through hell or high water. These are storylines narratives that the W has been planning to wrap up in culminate at Wrestlemainia happens every year and then they kind of moved to new stuff after that so from a function process to have wrestlemainia occur and wrap up which are the signature feuds and storylines of their season. If you will was a pretty important thing was there any blowback to all of this. Yeah I think there has been some in the rest in wrestling circles amongst wrestling reporters and and amongst the fans wondering okay. We are looking around the sports world. We're looking around the entertainment world. We're seeing literally every pro league every concert tour Disney on ice everything canceling out of concern about corona virus and yet professional wrestling roles on as a weekly television product so there is a bit of confusion. There're two why this continues while every other facet of sports entertainment seems to have stopped. What about amongst the wrestlers did any of them have reservations about participating in this one particular did so wrestler by the name of Roman reigns one of the bigger stars and WWe had a very highly publicized battle with leukemia? He left in October. Two thousand eighteen returned to WWE IN FEBRUARY. Two thousand nine thousand nine hundred and he's compromised so news started to break recently through some of the quote unquote dirt sheets in wrestling. The ones who report the rumor. Innuendo that Roman reigns was not going to be participating in his scheduled match against Goldberg for the Universal Championship at Wrestlemainia. Wwe basically said hey look. This is understandable situation. The health and safety of our performers paramount Sakiz. The biggest name that we know will not be participating but quite frankly until we see what events they air this weekend we won't know who else may have decided to pull out or had to be quarantined or any of that nature because they're being very clandestine about what the card will actually be the first wrestlemainia. That's taking place over multiple nights. It's also the first wrestlemainia that is going to be completely pretaped. So when did they take this weekend's event and what steps did they take to ensure the safety of the wrestlers in the people working on it? It's been a race against time for me. As I mentioned the performance center is in Orlando Florida Orlando Florida. Recently issued a stay at home order March twenty sixth that really closed out all the essential businesses. Just like we've seen all over the country so the WBZ has been racing. It's time to not only record wrestlemainia matches but also record. Future television matches programming as well as far as the safety of the wrestlers. It is a closed control facility. Stephanie McMahon the daughter of owner Vince McMahon who is the brand manager for WWe said to variety. Recently there's extensive testing screening. When you first come into the facility regardless of whether you're a talent crew member or anyone else if you have a temperature taken and you have a temperature over a hundred point four degrees you're automatically asked to leave also any wrestlers de out of the country or in contact anybody who's been out of the country you're not actually allowed to enter the facility. Either so they are taking some safety measures as far as trying to make sure anyone exhibiting symptoms isn't allowed in the facility or anyone who might have been exposed to corona virus through travel or relationships isn't allowed in the facility. Which is you know what you see from other companies as well but obviously there's no way to be sure without Virus testing whether anybody actually has the center of city so they tape this before the stay at home order. Does that mean this is going to be the last big event like this or is this something they're going to keep on doing? There is a lot of sort of mystery as to how these wrestling organizations are going to continue to keep on doing their thing. I'm not sure what the regulations mean for the performance in Orlando. I don't know if this is GonNa be it for their use facility or not. I can't tell you that. Eighty w their competition with also filming inside of an empty facility in Florida's well and there was news this week that they're gonNA be taking their show to some undisclosed to record matches going forward so I don't know if it's GonNa be a shell game where these companies have to start going to the few places around the country that don't have restrictions in place or what have you. But it's clear from both cases that even though they're putting a bunch of their product in the bag right now in our taping matches and episodes for future use on television. The show apparently is going to go on

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