Amid concerns about the coronavirus health crisis, WWE has moved WWE SmackDown to the WWE Performance Center for this Friday, while the status of WrestleMania remains in question.
On Wednesday night, reports began to circulate indicating that WWE was cancelling WWE SmackDown from Detroit, and moving the taping to the WWE Performance Center. WWE initially denied the report, as the show had not been cancelled yet, but did say they were putting contingency plans in place just in case they had to.
Today, things changed. In a press release from WWE, the Wrestling Observer reported that the show has now been canceled in Detroit and will air live from the WWE Performance Center with only essential personnel in attendance. The move comes on the heels of the NBA, NHL, MLB, NCAA, and more announcing the suspension and cancellation of all upcoming events for the foreseeable future.
The city of Tampa was in discussions about what to do about WrestleMania 36, as cancelling the show and postponing it until later could have severe economic impact on the city. Upon discussing it, the city has decided to give it more time and reconvene in 7 days, leaving it up to Vince McMahon in the meantime to make a decision.
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The moving of SmackDown to the performance center is the first showing of response from WWE concerning the pandemic since it escalated in the last week. Many states have taken action to ban or highly recommend than any non-essential mass gatherings of people be canceled, with New York, for example, banning gatherings of over 500 people.
AEW responded to this by rescheduling their AEW Dynamite taping for next week, though they will still be recording a live show of some sort. WWE announced soon thereafter SmackDown was being moved to the Performance Center. Several independent wrestling companies are feeling the effect of the virus, as they have been forced to move shows or cancel them entirely.
The status of WrestleMania is still unknown at this time.
For more information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website or the website for your state’s Department of Health.