WWE is looking to make the best of a tough situation when it comes to WrestleMania 36. Normally the biggest wrestling event of the year, held in a stadium with tens of thousands of audience members, WrestleMania 36 has been taped at the Performance Center, and matches have been changed around thanks to some wrestlers like The Miz falling ill and others like Roman Reigns backing out due to fears over a potentially compromised immune system. The event will air over two nights, Saturday and Sunday, this weekend.
Despite the setbacks, WWE is doing its best to put on an entertaining show, and they appear to be leaning heavily into what makes this show different rather than trying to deliver the same show they would have except with no audience. On yesterday's episode of Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer reported that WWE is currently editing and adding special effects to the matches as they try to decide what order to air them in. In addition, WWE executive Triple H appeared on ESPN MMA to talk about the event, further adding evidence that WWE is treating WrestleMania 36 more like a movie than a sports broadcast.
Triple H: "I say this a lot, we're more akin to the Rocky movie than we are actual boxing. Once the event takes place live in boxing, you're kind of done with it. With us, the Rocky movie, you'll watch it over and over again because it's the story and the characters and the emotion that you feel. You'll go back and relive those epic moments of Andre [The Giant] and [Hulk Hogan] and Hogan slamming Andre the Giant at WrestleMania 3 or whatever connects with you from the past. You can go back and watch those and relive them."
Triple H went on to address the event's notable lack of "The Big Dog" Roman Reigns, my personal favorite wrestler, noting: "You can watch our business in multiple different ways. One of them is the storyline aspect of it and to follow the storyline. Another way is the online component of it and the reality of it behind it. Roman has his situation and his reasons for doing the things he's doing, but I will say from our standpoint and the storyline standpoint, it's going to play out in a unique manner and we want it to play out that way. I don't want to give away the ending of the movie before the movie takes place. Everybody just has to watch and see how this unfolds. It will unfold in a unique way and I think it will be meaningful for everybody."
WrestleMania without a crowd is sure to be an interesting experience… unless those aforementioned special effects include digitally inserting one. I'll be watching this weekend. Will you?