World Wrestling Entertainment released a statement late last night after the below report about Smackdown being moved this week due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Here’s what WWE said to ESPN as well as other outlets:
“WWE has not cancelled Friday Night SmackDown in Detroit, however, based on the current situation, we are putting contingency plans in place in the event that upcoming WWE shows are cancelled by government officials, civil authorities and/or local venues.”
TJR Thoughts: I don’t think that’s wise from WWE because the key to stopping Coronavirus is limiting the events with thousands of people in attendance. It’s what other sports leagues are doing and they should do it too.
Here’s our initial report about it.
The Coronavirus outbreak aka COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on the world and it has a major effect on the sports and entertainment business as well. Since we are a pro wrestling site, that’s what we’ll focus on here.
It has been reported by PWInsider’s Mike Johnson that WWE is canceling the Smackdown event in Detroit this Friday, but they are still running the show. Smackdown this Friday will take place at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando. Tonight’s NXT show was at the WWE PC as well although that was because their regular spot, Full Sail University, was booked for another show. It’s not known if Smackdown will have fans in the building the way NXT did tonight although the setup will allow a few hundred fans. If you didn’t see what it looked like, you can see it in the clip below.
There has been no information from WWE yet about Smackdown being moved.
The PWInsider report was mentioned by @WrestleVotes on Twitter earlier in the night as well, so they likely got similar information.
WWE has had discussions this evening about relocating this Friday’s SmackDown event to the Performance Center due to the viruses. No word on if official or not as of yet.
— WrestleVotes (@WrestleVotes) March 12, 2020
In addition to Smackdown being moved this Friday, WWE may be moving other events to the Performance Center according to Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.
Does that mean WrestleMania could be moved to the WWE PC on April 5th? I guess it’s possible, but if I had to guess I would say maybe WWE would postpone it for a few months with a hope that maybe the Coronavirus will be out of our lives soon and then they can hold WrestleMania later in the year. Your guess is as good as mine.
Earlier tonight, the National Basketball Association announced that they have suspended the NBA season for now. There is about one month of games left before the playoffs were set to begin, but now we don’t know if the season will resume or when. Several other sporting events have been changed.
The NBA has suspended its season due to the coronavirus pic.twitter.com/Nr90gv2lNc
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 12, 2020
"This is people's lives at stake. This isn't about basketball. … This is a global pandemic."
Mark Cuban spoke to the media after the NBA suspended its season. pic.twitter.com/xFkDOFf46o
— ESPN (@espn) March 12, 2020
It appears as though WWE is going to move forward as best they can by running shows at the WWE PC, but it wouldn’t shock us if they suspended events at least for a few weeks.
An announcement about this year’s WrestleMania in Tampa could be coming as soon as tomorrow since Tampa’s city officials will have a meeting that could lead to a change or even a cancellation for WrestleMania on April 5. We’ll have an update on that whenever something is announced.
TJR Thoughts: This f’n sucks. I’m a huge NBA fan, so I’m sad about their season being suspended although I understand why they did it. If WWE took a week or two off I wouldn’t really mind it, but if they feel like the “show must go on” then that’s fine too and it’s a good thing they have the Performance Center that they can use to run shows.