Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.
WrestleMania to Air on Fox Sports PPV for First Time
The two-night WrestleMania 36 event Saturday and Sunday will air on Fox Sports platforms, marking the first time WWE's marquee event has been carried by Fox.
According to WrestlingInc.com's Jason Ounpraseuth, WWE and Fox announced the pay-per-view can be seen on the Fox Sports App and FoxSports.com. WrestleMania will also be available on other pay-per-view platforms and WWE Network.
WrestleMania airing on Fox Sports represents the continued growth of the relationship between WWE and Fox. SmackDown has aired every Friday on Fox since October, and a WWE studio show called WWE Backstage has aired weekly on Tuesdays on FS1 as well.
This year's WrestleMania is perhaps the most unique show in its 36-year history, as it will emanate from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, with no fans in attendance due to the coronavirus pandemic.
WrestleMania was originally supposed to take place in front of more than 70,000 fans at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
This year also marks the first time WrestleMania has ever occurred over the course of two days. With so many matches to get on the card and so little original sports entertainment content available to watch, stretching it out to two days seems like a smart move on WWE's part.
Also, former New England Patriots tight end and potential future Pro Football Hall of Famer Rob Gronkowski is hosting WrestleMania this year, which is something that should appeal to Fox Sports in a big way.
McMahon Reportedly Giving More Slack on Promos
WWE is known for its scripted promos and lack of wiggle room in terms of ad libbing and creativity on the mic, but that reportedly may be changing.
According to Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio (h/t Felix Upton of Ringside News), WWE Chairman Vince McMahon gave performers and Raw Executive Director Paul Heyman "some rein" when it came to the promos on Monday's episode of Raw.
Monday's Raw was the go-home episode prior to WrestleMania, and it was heavy on promos with The Undertaker, Kevin Owens, Edge, Raw women's champion Becky Lynch and Heyman (on behalf of WWE champion Brock Lesnar) all cutting lengthy promos to sell their upcoming matches at WrestleMania.
The promos have generally been fantastic on Raw over the past couple of weeks, as AJ Styles, Randy Orton and Seth Rollins also shined on the mic last week.
Perhaps being given "more rein" is part of the reason for that, but the unique atmosphere with no fans in attendance has also helped.
Rather than having to talk over a raucous crowd in the middle of the ring, Superstars have had the opportunity to speak right into the camera while standing at the top of the ramp, sitting backstage or even milling around a graveyard setting, like The Undertaker.
As a result, it has felt like the performers are speaking directly to their opponents and the fans at home, and that intimacy has made many of the matches on the WrestleMania card feel important.
There is no clear timeline for when fans will be allowed to attend WWE events or any sporting event again in the United States, but one positive from WWE's perspective is that it can continue to provide the fans watching at home with some spectacular talking segments.
Reason for Sane's Recent Absence from TV
Kairi Sane has not been on WWE programming for the past few weeks, but that was reportedly planned ahead of time regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Meltzer (h/t WrestlingInc.com's Robert Gunier), Sane has been home in Japan spending time with her husband after recently getting married. WWE was reportedly aware that she wouldn't be available until WrestleMania.
Sane last competed in a televised match on the March 9 episode of Raw when she and Kabuki Warriors tag team partner Asuka beat Liv Morgan and Natalya.
After Alexa Bliss beat Asuka in a singles match on last week's SmackDown, it was announced that The Kabuki Warriors will defend the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships against Bliss and Nikki Cross at WrestleMania 36.
The WrestleMania 36 matches were taped last week, and every indication is that Sane was on hand to take part in the match.
While the current iteration of the WWE women's tag team titles have only been around for just over a year, Sane and Asuka are the longest-reigning champions, as they have held the titles for over 170 days.
At WrestleMania, they will face one of their toughest challenges yet when they face a Bliss and Cross team that previously held the titles for two months before dropping them to Sane and Asuka in October.
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