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WrestleMania will have no fans due to coronavirus outbreak

The WWE has moved the largest event in sports entertainment down I-4 to their performance center in Orlando

Colin Jost battles Braun Strowman in the ring during SNL’s Michael Che and Colin Jost at WWE WrestleMania at Met Life Stadium on April 07, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for WWE

The latest victim of coronavirus is WrestleMania, which today announced they would move the event from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando.

In coordination with local partners and government officials, WrestleMania and all related events in Tampa Bay will not take place. However, WrestleMania will still stream live on Sunday, April 5 at 7 pm ET on WWE Network and be available on pay-per-view. Only essential personnel will be on the closed set at WWE’s training facility in Orlando, Florida to produce WrestleMania.

It’s a huge blow to Tampa Bay, a community with a deep tradition of professional wrestling and one that was ready to embrace the “Showcase of The Immortals.” But now the biggest event in sports entertainment will take place with no crowds, no crowd reactions, no pyrotechnics, no opulent entrances... no anything. And considering this is a scripted event performed not as an athletic competition but as an art form, it’s going to be extremely difficult to re-create what makes the art of professional wrestling special in front of empty chairs.

As with many decisions made by the WWE as of late, this one is a head-scratcher. Why not either postpone the event or cancel it all together? The fans seem to agree. A sampling:

Branding whatever this Zombie pay-per-view will be as WrestleMania, the biggest event in pro wrestling, just seems foolish. But we’ll see what the creative team can do with what will be a very tough, if not impossible, show to book and make fans happy.