1. Rey Mysterio & Dana Brooke In Quarantine
The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a huge blow to WWE’s official plans as two major title contenders, namely, Rey Mysterio and Dana Brooke have been quarantined just days before WrestleMania 36.
On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer revealed that both Brooke and Mysterio have been pulled from their respective WrestleMania matches.
Brooke was booked for the Six-pack elimination challenge for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship at ‘Mania but now she’s been pulled from the match. WWE has also removed Brooke from the official match graphic as well as the write-up.
“Dana Brooke was in the match, she is now out of the match. She’s in quarantine right now. They don’t want to take any chances. They pulled her from the match because she’s sick. They are concerned, so there you go. She’s in quarantine.”
On the other hand, Mysterio was supposed to challenge Andrade for the United States Championship at the grand PPV but now that the masked legend is quarantined, the title match won’t be happening anymore. Instead, Andrade will be teaming up with Angel Garza to take on RAW Tag Team Champions The Street Profits at the Grandest Stage Of Them All.
“This came out of nowhere. There were a lot of different ideas, multiple different ideas for U.S. Title matches. From last week, the main idea was probably going to be Andrade and Rey. Rey is also in quarantine so he’s off the show. You got to be safe rather than sorry for sure.”
“The AOP was probably going to be going against The Street Profits but Rezar tore his bicep so he’s out. It came out of nowhere but this is what you got. It’s just reacting to circumstances…Sh*t happens…”
It is to be noted that there’s no word on the kind of illness Brooke or Mysterio has, so it does not necessarily mean that they have COVID-19.
2. WrestleMania Plans For John Cena vs.”The Fiend” Bray Wyatt
John Cena and “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt will lock horns in less than two weeks at WWE’s biggest pay-per-view of 2020, WrestleMania 36. The match is currently being seen as the showdown to help rebuild Wyatt’s character since his maiden loss to Goldberg at Super ShowDown in Saudi Arabia.
Cena and Wyatt previously clashed at WrestleMania 30 with the 16-time World Champion picking up the victory but things are expected to come full circle this time around when The Champ puts The Fiend over in a big way at ‘Mania.
According to Gorilla Position, WWE will give Cena vs. The Fiend an exciting “movie treatment” as the two Superstars battle it out in a “closed set” in a warehouse.
A week ago, Brad Shepard revealed that Vince McMahon could be leaning towards something like the famous “House Of Horrors” match from 2017.
3. WrestleMania 36 Already Being Filmed
The 36th edition of the Show Of Shows will take place from multiple “undisclosed locations” without an audience in attendance. The grand pay-per-view will be pre-taped and WWE is firing on all cylinders to power through the obstacles laid down by the coronavirus pandemic.
Brad Shepard reports that WrestleMania taping has already begun – the company has managed to film one full match for the PPV alongside SmackDown and some content for RAW and 205 Live.
PWInsider also notes that only those who reside in Florida are working the tapings this week. It appears that WWE isn’t calling anyone who has to travel in from another state.
“Only Florida-based Producers are working the tapings this week. We are told Jamie Noble, Adam Pearce, Road Dogg and Shawn Michaels (who is pitching in) have been at the tapings. WWE did not bring in producers who live in other parts of the country.”
4. Why Is WrestleMania Spread Over Two Nights?
The coronavirus pandemic has forced WWE to make several changes to their WrestleMania 36 plans. The outbreak even caused WWE to cancel the previously advertised venue for ‘Mania i.e. Raymond James Stadium, and now the biggest wrestling PPV of the year is set to emanate from “undisclosed locations” on April 4th and 5th.
On The Jerry Lawler Show, WWE Hall Of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler discussed the reason why WrestleMania will be hosted as a 2-night event and also shared the logic behind the decision to produce the show from multiple locations.
“If you really look at the way it’s booked right now, if you had it all in one night, that would be almost 40 wrestlers just alone. It’s so big, it’s going to have to be spread over two nights. That is the truth, there’s going to be so many wrestlers involved and in this day and time, you’re not going to be able to do it in one location in one night.”
For what it’s worth, the CDC’s latest guidelines won’t allow WWE to film WrestleMania with more than 50 people at a single location. The billion-dollar promotion is strictly keeping the headcount below 50 by bringing in select Superstars and crew members at select locations to film the grand PPV.
5. WWE Not Interested In CM Punk’s Return
The wild rumors and endless speculations about CM Punk‘s return to pro wrestling return will continue up until the very day the Straight Edge Superstar buries the hatchet and returns to the ring. Punk appearing as an analyst on WWE Backstage made fans hopeful about his long-awaited return to WWE, but the fact is, the ex-Superstar is a FOX employee and Vince McMahon has no authority over him whatsoever.
While Punk has made it clear on multiple occasions that he’s open to a return provided he’s approached properly, it appears that WWE has no intention of bringing the former Superstar back to the ring ever again.
Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that it’s WWE and not Punk who is still holding onto the bitterness and given the huge star power the billion-dollar promotion currently has, there’s no need for them to negotiate with the former World Champion.
“I think it’s one show a month but as far as how long, I don’t know. I do know that WWE is pretty negative on the idea of Punk wrestling, more than I thought they would be but they are. I think the idea is between Bill Goldberg and Edge and Undertaker and people like that, they’ve got their fair share of guys like that. There’s a lot of bitterness. Apparently there’s more bitterness on the WWE side right now than on the Punk side. I would have thought it would be the other way around.” (H/T: PWmania)
6. WWE Taking Preventive Measures To Tackle Coronavirus
WWE usually reserves a plethora of rooms at a particular hotel during WrestleMania weekend but things are very different this year due to the coronavirus situation.
PWInsider reports that Superstars have been “locked down” in one hotel. Production meetings are taking place in the morning in the conference room of that hotel. It is to be noted that WWE is taking all preventive measures to tackle COVID-19.
“We are told WWE has everyone in town for the Performance Center tapings locked down at one hotel they have completely taken over with morning production meetings in a conference room.”
7. Reason Why Paige Was Absent From SmackDown
Paige was supposed to return to Friday Night SmackDown on March 13th, but fans were surprised when the 2-time former Divas Champion didn’t show up. She was again supposed to appear on the latest edition of The Blue Show, but once again, her live return was scrapped.
On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer informed why Paige hasn’t been able to make it to WWE TV yet. The retired Superstar decided not to travel by air to keep herself safe from the wrath of the coronavirus.
“Paige made the announcement by Skype because she didn’t come and I don’t know if she could have, well I guess she could have. She was not one of those willing to come. There have been other people not willing to come and WWE has been — both companies have been really good about it. It’s like ‘You’re not willing to come, fine, no problem.’ So they did the tape thing.”
As ever, wrestling fans are reminded that the above are just rumors and should not be taken at face value as facts.