WWE WrestleMania 36: The Fiend, John Cena Will Benefit Most from Empty Arena

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2020

Credit: WWE.com

Necessity is the mother of invention, and that adage might hold true at WrestleMania 36.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forced WWE to move The Show of Shows to its Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, and no fans will attend the event.

ESPN's Marc Raimondi provided more information on the venue change:

That raises a big question regarding John Cena's battle with "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt: Will they actually set foot in a wrestling ring?

WWE has smartly played off their previous encounter at WrestleMania XXX, which was a straightforward singles match. Having them wrestle another traditional match would be a mistake and waste what is a golden opportunity to think outside the box.

According to PWInsider's Mike Johnson, the company plans to tape WrestleMania 36 on Wednesday and Thursday, with the pay-per-view hitting WWE Network on April 4 and 5.

Having the ability to closely edit and control the action opens the door for a grittier Ultimate Deletion-style setup that is light on the wrestling and heavy on choreographed set pieces.

This would make sense for a variety of reasons.

Cena, who has quickly become a major Hollywood star, is perfectly equipped to convey the kind of emotional delivery that is somewhat over the top but not so ham-fisted the whole affair devolves into a farce. The 16-time world champion could make The Fiend look like a genuine threat in an atypical setting, something not everyone in WWE could pull off.

Wyatt, meanwhile, could have a soft reset after he was turned into cannon fodder for Goldberg at Super ShowDown in February.

The Fiend is entering dangerous territory in terms of how he's perceived by the WWE Universe, and WrestleMania XXX is a perfect example why.

Losing to Cena didn't single-handedly knock Wyatt down to the midcard, but it did swiftly halt the momentum he had been building to that point. He wasn't a world champion until nearly three years later, a title run that concluded with him losing another big WrestleMania match.

Avenging his defeat to Cena in 2014 would provide Wyatt with a shot in the arm, and a match at the Firefly Fun House or another unique location would let him lean into the supernatural aspects of his Fiend character.

Wyatt is a talented in-ring performer, but fans fell in love with The Fiend because the package was so unlike anything else they were watching on WWE programming.

Because WrestleMania 36 will be pre-taped without any fans, WWE has a blank slate to do whatever it wants with The Fiend—and that doesn't mean showering the ring in red light. Let him teleport out of an Attitude Adjustment. Have him demonstrate some superhuman feat of strength, like Braun Strowman tipping over an ambulance with Roman Reigns inside.

Perhaps taping Cena vs. Wyatt beforehand was the plan all along. Now, WWE has no other choice, and it will only be limited by its imagination in how the match unfolds.

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