WWE WrestleMania with Rob Gronkowski will be different at Orlando’s Performance Center

·7 min read

The NFL Super Bowl, the World Cup, San Diego’s Comic Con are huge events that attract interest from around the world.

WWE’s WrestleMania is in that same vein of mega attractions, drawing tens of thousands of fans from all 50 states and 70 countries to the host area annually. Fans plan vacation around WrestleMania Week. It’s colossal.

WrestleMania Week in 2019 (highlighted by WrestleMania 35) generated $165.4 million in economic impact for the New York/New Jersey region, according to a study conducted by the Enigma Research Corporation. This marks a more than 60 percent increase from the $101.2 million amassed for WrestleMania 29 in the New York/New Jersey region and the eighth consecutive year that WrestleMania generated more than $100 million in economic impact for its host region.

In the past 13 years, WrestleMania totaled more than $1.3 billion in cumulative economic impact for the cities that have hosted the event. WrestleMania 35 also produced approximately $27.1 million in federal, state and local taxes.

Tampa was ready to host WrestleMania for the first time in the event’s 36-year history, but the coronavirus pandemic changed those plans. Instead, WrestleMania 36 will be April 4 and 5 at the WWE Performance Center training facility in Orlando, before an empty venue.

You can watch via WWE Network or pay-per-view.

Only essential personnel will be involved in the shows.

It’s a credit WWE is going “on with the show,” giving viewers something to watch, a break during these tumultuous quarantined times.

WWE — under longtime leader Vince McMahon — is delivering content for fans with its weekly television shows: “Monday Night Raw” on USA Network, “NXT” on USA Network and “Friday Night SmackDown” on FOX. All held lately at the WWE Performance Center.

Paul and The PC

Kudos to WWE executive Paul “Triple H” Levesque (I think he earned a new company title recently and rightfully so). Born in July 2013, the WWE Performance Center is his brainchild, and although the purpose was not to conduct live shows from it, the Performance Center sure comes in handy during these turbulent times.

Through Levesque’s vision, The Performance Center is a full-opt training center, preparing talent for the big stage (Raw, SmackDown, NXT) as well as referees, broadcasters, camera crew, ring announcers, and production and staffers working behind the scenes.

And it’s working.

Many on the current WWE Raw, SmackDown and NXT rosters are PC grads.

It won’t be the same

WrestleMania won’t be the same in a small venue with no crowd chanting, cheering, booing.

This is a big-time, major event, growing into large stadiums (60,000; 70,000; 80,000; 90,000; 100,000).

Raymond James Stadium was prepared to host the extravaganza but now no more.

Because of coronavirus, Raymond James Stadium has gone from welcoming more than 75,000 fans for the biggest pro wrestling/sports entertainment show of the year to being transformed into a large-scale, drive-through coronavirus testing site.

Having WrestleMania across I-4 at the much, much smaller Performance Center, you lose that big-time feel.

This will give Orlando three WrestleManias (24, 33, 36). Miami Gardens one (28) and still four in Florida.

The matches will be taped soon, according to several reports, to guarantee the shows. The future of what will be allowed by city, county, state, U.S. government officials is unknown. Better to be safer than sorry by having the matches already completed, ready to roll.

With a much, much shorter rampway, there will be no long walk, nor winded jog or John Cena sprint or even cart carry to the ring.

No Pirate Princess Kairi Sane making an entrance from the large pirate ship near the end zone of Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

No long lines for security check-in, which has caused some fans to miss pre-show matches.

Don’t have to worry about any shortage of toilet paper now at Raymond James Stadium.

No long line of tables for introductions of the broadcast teams for various countries airing WrestleMania. Sorry Carsten, Faisal, Funaki, Raymond, Deng and Zhan.

Since WrestleMania is two nights, you get two main events. That’s a plus.

Hey, due to the circumstances, this is better than nothing.

While most everything else has shut down, WWE will put its best foot forward, and it will be a nice break for us.

WWE is ready. The PC is ready.


Athletes and celeb involvement

It will be interesting to see if WWE tries to incorporate some athletes and celebrities during the 2-night broadcast.

Usually stars from other sports and entertainment ensembles are part of WrestleMania. In years past, we have seen Muhammad Ali, Pamela Anderson, Alice Cooper, Snoop Dogg, Aretha Franklin, Robin Leach, Liberace, G. Gordon Liddy, Little Richard, Billy Martin, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Maria Menounos, Motorhead, Ozzy Osbourne, Pitbull, Kid Rock, Pete Rose, Run-DMC, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Shaq, George Steinbrenner, Mr. T., Lawrence Taylor, Donald Trump, Mike Tyson, Bob Uecker, Donnie Wahlberg and more.

With the coronavirus, that will be difficult (possible but difficult), unless it’s via video, satellite or Skype.

We do know three-time Super Bowl Champ Rob Gronkowski, formerly of the NFL New England Patriots, has been named host of WrestleMania 36; so he will be there with his hype buddy Mojo Rawley.

Who knows? Maybe one of the newest Tampa Bay Buccaneers who was also a longtime Gronk teammate will appear.

Plenty of athletes and/or celebs living in Orlando or off I-4, which extends to Tampa.

WWE Hall of Famers to compete at WrestleMania 36

Plenty of hype and excitement for the return of WWE Hall of Famer Edge to WrestleMania. He was retired, forced from a neck injury, but after several years away from the ring, doctors cleared him to compete again, and he will face Randy Orton in a much-anticipated match-up. FYI, Orton wore the nickname long before Tampa Bay’s XFL team did.

WWE Hall of Famer Goldberg is back, and he is the WWE Universal champion, defending the title against Roman Reigns.

WWE champion Brock Lesnar with Paul Heyman defends against Drew McIntyre.

The Undertaker vs. A.J. Styles.

John Cena battles Bray Wyatt.

WWE Raw Women’s champion Becky Lynch against Shayna Baszler.

WWE SmackDown Women’s champion Bayley defends in a six-pack challenge with Naomi, Dana Brooke, Tamina, Lacey Evans, and Sasha Banks.

Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins.

WWE SmackDown Tag Team champions Miz and Morrison against The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston) or The Usos (Jimmy and Jey).

Tampa on my mind

Those working in Tampa from the city and Hillsborough County government officials and personnel, the sports commission (led by Rob Higgins), the sports authority (led by Eric Hart), visit Tampa Bay (led by Santiago C. Corrada), the volunteers, Crackerjack Media (led by Jennifer Renspie), the community outreach, the staff at various WrestleMania Week venues (Amalie Arena, Tampa Convention Center, Raymond James Stadium) are to be commended for their efforts with the WrestleMania Press Conference, WrestleMania Ticket Drop-Kick-Off Party and overall planning for WrestleMania Week.

Next year WWE WrestleMania is in Hollywood, California, but hopefully Tampa can land WrestleMania in 2022 or in the near future. You could say this served as a trail run in set-up, and Tampa passed that part with flying colors.

Credit also to Mr. WrestleMania (behind the scenes) WWE executive vice president of Special Events John Saboor and his team. It’s a year-round process, and they make it work, bridging the selected cities/areas with this massive spectacle of sports entertainment successfully.

My Pro Wrestling Talk on the Web and Social Media


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