With WrestleMania 37 less than three months away, it looks like WWE wants to have paid fans in attendance for their biggest show on the calendar. At least, that’s what Stephanie McMahon has suggested.
WWE planning to bring fans back for WrestleMania in Tampa?
The WWE Chief Brand Officer spoke with TMZ about the upcoming supercard and noted that he hoped and planned to see fans in attendance at Raymond James Stadium, where this year’s WrestleMania will emanate from.
“I’m thrilled and excited because, hopefully, this will be the first opportunity for us to have our fans back in attendance,” McMahon said. “That’s the current plan. Of course, ticket information is not available yet cause we’re still trying to figure out all the machinations.”
Raymond James Stadium, which is home to the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, allowed fans for six of their eight regular-season games. McMahon used this as a comparison point for how they plan to handle bringing fans back.
“We’re going to learn a lot from [the NFL] logistically, etc., and really best practices, what works, what doesn’t work. But man, we can’t wait to come in and for 2 nights, really rock that pirate ship.”
McMahon also discussed the precautions the company would take to ensure those hopes become a reality.
“Working with the local organizing committee, all of the health officials, health and safety is first and foremost, of course,” McMahon said. “For our fans, for our performers, for the employees, for the staff working the building, there’s a lot of different logistics that need to determined, but hopefully, it’ll all work out, and this will be the first WWE event where we actually bring the WWE Universe back together in person, and I cannot wait.”
WWE last ran a show with a live crowd on March 9, 2020; it was an episode of Raw that took place at the Capital One Arena in Washington D.C. A few days later, the COVID-19 pandemic forced nationwide shutdowns and suspensions of operations.
However, WWE continued to broadcast shows from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Fla. before moving to the Amway Center — and then, Tropicana Field — in August, where the company put together the WWE Thunderdome featuring a virtual audience.
Should WWE even be attempting to pull this off?
It’s hilarious to hear McMahon attempt to use the NFL as any sort of barometer for tending to matters revolving around COVID-19. It’s also hilarious to think that anyone with a measure of discernment would trust a company that didn’t even mention the term “COVID-19” on their many television shows until their top babyface contracted the virus would take the proper precautions to make something like this possible.
Then again, this is the same company that basically bribed it’s way to being designated an essential business in Florida, fired dozens of wrestlers and employees to make their stock price look sexier, so whether they should open these shows up to the paying public is clearly of no concern to them.
With COVID still running rampant throughout the country, none of these shows — including AEW, though they have handled things much better than WWE has — should be running shows, let alone running them with fans in the stands. But WWE will probably do what they always do: power through it and do what they want, no matter how much backlash they get.