WWE spread WrestleMania 36 across two nights in 2020 in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, and they should make a two-night ‘Mania the new format going forward.
Wrestling fans are tabbed a fickle bunch, as Daniel Bryan parodied during his heel run in 2019. But they are truly a loyal bunch who will find entertainment in hours and hours of programming, valuing what WWE performers do each and every week.
However, asking fans to sit through more than seven hours of programming at once was a tall task, and it was even more difficult to fit everyone on the card.
This year, WrestleMania 36 took place across two nights, as approximately the same number of matches and total time in the ring were spread throughout the weekend.
The result was less fatigue from viewers and some absolute classics on both nights, as the show felt like it was paced perfectly. We had killer openers, such as Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair, rapid-fire world title matches where finishers were spammed, amazing cinematic matches, and other great matches like Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins and the SmackDown Women’s Fatal Five Way.
As a whole, WrestleMania 36 was excellent, even when it could have easily been subpar given the circumstances. Fans didn’t come into either show burdened with expectations, and they left more than just satisfied with what they saw; they left buzzing.
WWE wrestler Mustafa Ali generally has his pulse on his things, and he called moving to a two-night WrestleMania on a permanent basis a “fantastic idea”. Ali reasoned that adding a second night going forward will give more wrestlers a chance to appear on the card, in addition to a chance to have a longer match that allows them to have the best story possible.
It’s hard to argue against either point. Even though there are more wrestlers on the card than ever and fans understand that their favorite wrestlers can’t always make it there, not seeing their favorite wrestler can be disappointing. And it can be difficult to cut talented wrestlers from the card, especially since a WrestleMania pay-off is important, beyond the career significance for an athlete being at the biggest show of the year.
WrestleMania is also an opportunity for wrestlers to showcase their best to the widest audience possible. As WWE likes to tell fans, it’s where legacies are built or cemented, and it can be difficult for a wrestler to cement a legacy if they are only given five minutes to work with in front of a burnt-out audience.
There could be some negatives to a two-night WrestleMania if ticket prices aren’t managed, since traveling to the Show of Shows is already expensive enough.
But for the performers, the positive are clear. For many fans, being fresh and focused for two shows of manageable length as opposed to one lengthy show is also a positive, even if they’d find a way to enjoy either format.
If WWE can swing it, moving ahead with a two-night WrestleMania seems best for the fans, performers, and company. Remember, WWE broke records for social media interactions at ‘Mania this year, so two nights of content could be beneficial for their brand and business.