Wrestling World Reacts to Coronavirus Outbreak

WWE has moved SmackDown and AEW has rescheduled the next two weeks of shows. What will happen to WrestleMania?

WWE Performance Center
Photo: WWE

The wrestling world is responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, which has now forced the NHL and NBA to suspend their seasons as well as the cancellation of the NCAA tournament, the postponement of the Major League Baseball season, the cancellation of the inaugural XFL season, and much more.

First, WWE has canceled Friday’s SmackDown event in Detroit. Instead, the show will air on FOX and will take place from the WWE Performance Center, the training facility that the company owns in Orlando, Florida. Only “essential personnel” will be in the building, according to WWE.

“Friday Night SmackDown on March 13 will air live as regularly scheduled and emanate from WWE’s training facility in Orlando, Florida with only essential personnel in attendance. The event was originally scheduled in Detroit, Michigan,” the company said in a statement on Thursday night.

While nothing has been announced, it’s likely that the company will be forced to do the same thing for Monday’s episode of RAW.

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Earlier on Thursday, the city of Tampa was holding meetings about big events scheduled for the city in the coming weeks. Perhaps no event is bigger than WrestleMania 36, which is WWE’s biggest event of the year and brings in fans from around the world.

To this point, nothing has changed regarding WrestleMania, but that could change in the coming weeks. The city of Tampa said that for now, the decision regarding WrestleMania is in WWE’s hands, but the city could force their hand as we get closer to the event if WWE doesn’t make any changes.

Elsewhere, All Elite Wrestling has canceled its next two episodes of Dynamite, including next week’s show in Rochester, N.Y. and the following week in Newark, N.J. AEW said that these next two events would be canceled and rescheduled for July. AEW still plans on holding television shows on both March 18 and March 25, with the shows being aired from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida. AEW ownership also owns Daily’s Place. According to the company’s Twitter account, both shows will take place with a limited audience and only essential personnel.

“As a precautionary measure against COVID-19, we are relocating next week’s AEW DYNAMITE show on March 18 from Rochester, NY, to Jacksonville, FL,” AEW wrote on Twitter. “This show will be televised live on TNT from Daily’s Place, and be managed under a restricted attendance policy. The DYNAMITE show in Rochester will be rescheduled for Wednesday, July 8, at Blue Cross Arena. Fans who have already purchased tickets to the Rochester show will be offered a refund via the point of purchase, or have their original ticket valid for admission to the event on July 8. Additional details will be forthcoming.”

“In addition, the DYNAMITE show on March 25 at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, will be relocated to a new venue, which will be announced shortly. This show will be televised live on TNT on March 25, and be managed under a restricted attendance policy. The DYNAMITE show in Newark will be rescheduled for Wednesday, July 22, at the Prudential Center.”

“We appreciate your understanding as the safety and well-being of our fans and talent is always our top priority. We will continue to closely monitor this evolving situation related to COVID-19 and be guided by government officials, health organizations and venue management.”

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On top of the cancellations in pro sports, Broadway plays and concerts around the country have been canceled, and the movie world has been reshuffling its release schedule.