WWE reveals WrestleMania 36 will take place behind closed doors

WWE reveals WrestleMania 36 will take place behind closed doors

WWE has revealed in a statement that WrestleMania 36 will still go ahead next month - but it will be taking place behind closed doors at the company's training facility in Orlando.

The company's biggest event of the year is still scheduled to go ahead on Sunday, April 5, however, rather than take place in front of a capacity crowd at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, it will instead take place behind closed doors at the WWE Performance Center.

The decision was made in response to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic.

Home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers - which has a capacity of 65,890 for football games - WrestleMania was expected to draw over 70,000 WWE fanatics from all over the world.

Considering the non-stop nature of the company's shows and storylines, it would have been impossible to postpone the show until later on in the year.

Writing in a statement on WWE.com, the sports-entertainment company said:

"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."

Fans of the product will have already seen two of WWE's weekly television shows take place from their Performance Center in Orlando - Friday night's SmackDown Live and last night's WWE Raw. Both live shows took place in front of empty chairs.

Last night, WWE Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin returned... to an empty room:

Dubbed "WrestleMania Weekend", the company was also scheduled to host several other events in Tampa over the long weekend - including the WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony and the pay-per-view NXT TakeOver Tampa.

However, WWE has now issued the following statement confirming that those events have been postponed until further notice:

“The WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony and NXT TakeOver will not take place as previously scheduled. We will share further details as they become available.”

Legends such as the nWo, Batista, The Bella Twins, JBL, "British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith, and Jushin Liger were all listed to be inducted into the 2020 Hall of Fame.

Since revealing the news, several WWE talents have taken to Twitter to express their thoughts on the move:

The event's current match card is as follows:

WWE Title Match
Drew McIntyre vs. Brock Lesnar (c)

WWE Universal Title Match
Roman Reigns vs. WWE Hall of Famer Bill Goldberg (c)

WWE NXT Women's Title Match
Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley (c)

RAW Women's Title Match
Shayna Baszler vs. Becky Lynch (c)

Last Man Standing Match
Edge vs. Randy Orton

John Cena vs. "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt

The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles

As of the most recent situation report from the World Health Organization, there has been 167,511 confirmed cases of COVID-19 around the world, and the number of deaths as a result of the disease has now reached 6,606.