WWE WrestleMania 2020: Latest Buzz on Possible Card for Showcase Event

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2020

Credit: WWE.com

WWE announced Monday it was moving WrestleMania 36 from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, to its Performance Center in Orlando.

That led many fans to wonder whether the promotion will tone down the typically grandiose affair to account for the absence of fans in the arena.

According to Wrestling Observer Radio's Dave Meltzer (h/t Ringside News' Felix Upton), the WrestleMania card could be somewhat limited in comparison to recent years.

WWE.com lists seven bouts for WrestleMania 36, which doesn't include Edge and Randy Orton's Last Man Standing match. The Rated-R Superstar challenged Orton on Monday's edition of Raw, but The Viper has yet to officially accept.

Meltzer reported Edge vs. Orton might be the last addition with less than a month to go until The Showcase of the Immortals on April 5.

In that scenario, none of the SmackDown women's, intercontinental, United States, cruiserweight, tag team championships would be on the line. WrestleMania would also lack the men's and women's Battle Royals, which have become annual staples.

When limiting the scope to the main card only, eight matches would be the pay-per-view's fewest since 2015. Last year's installment had a dozen contests on the main card, 16 when including the pre-show.

In this case, going small is the sensible route.

Fans are a big reason why this event is so special. Imagine having watched The Rock battle Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania X8, only this time the raucous Toronto crowd wasn't there to react to the action in the ring.

WWE Network @WWENetwork

1️⃣8️⃣ years ago today, @TheRock and @HulkHogan made dreams come true. #WrestleMania https://t.co/wauJJequku

CM Punk found the perfect quip for the situation:

player/coach @CMPunk

Well that’s one way to make sure Roman finally gets not booed and nobody chants for meeeeeeee.

All jokes aside, WWE has already provided a taste of what to expect after moving SmackDown and Raw to the Performance Center. It seems a bit silly to have the wrestlers use the same mannerisms and promo techniques to play to the WWE Universe when they're ultimately working in front of an empty venue.

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin's appearance on Raw felt particularly surreal.

Perhaps that was by design. There are ways in which WWE could think outside the box and experiment with the Performance Center space.

But there's only so much the promotion can do to simulate the grandeur for its biggest PPV of the year, and WWE isn't helped by the fact it has a very regimented way in which it presents its product. 

Following his exit, Jon Moxley spoke at length at how he felt stifled creatively by Vince McMahon and WWE's writers. Now is a time when allowing the wrestlers some latitude to operate off the cuff would've come in handy.

WrestleMania 36 will effectively be WrestleMania in name only, so the company needs to prioritize efficiency over spectacle to avoid exacerbating what's already a difficult position.