PONTIFICATING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE – MAY 1
By Leo Haggerty

LEARN FROM THE WWE

First of all, and I will start EVERY article with this paragraph, sports pales in comparison with what is occurring with the Coronavirus. Hopefully, the columns that I, and the rest of our correspondents, provide you is a momentary escape from the trials and tribulations that Americans, and the rest of the world’s population, are experiencing. The COVID-19 is not a video game that you can press reset and get a new life. This is real and dangerous so, above all, be prudent and stay safe.

Folks, I got to at least give the World Wrestling Entertainment an “A” for effort.  Vince McMahon and company gave it their best shot.

WrestleMania 36 was scheduled to be held right here in my hometown.  Raymond James Stadium on April 5th with the conservative estimation of 60,000 fans in attendance.  The showpiece event for the WWE was coming to Tampa.

I have to apologize to The Rock for stealing his signature line but could you smell what the WWE was cooking?  It was going to be BIG.

Well, COVID-19 put a stop to that.  The event was moved from the RayJay to WWE Performance Center in Orlando.  Hey, the show must go on, right?

Wrestlemania 36 now became a two-night television extravaganza.  It would be taped in advance to adjust to the circumstances that the coronavirus has dictated.  Also, and here’s the killer for the WWE, it will be held with no fans in the building.

It was, in my opinion, a bust.  Please, do not blame the WWE for that.  They tried Plan B which was hold the event devoid of fans.

It didn’t work.  There was no buzz as you would have experienced at a standing-room-only venue.

Athletes feed off the emotions of the crowd.  With no electricity in the air, it just appeared to be a bunch of elite level athletes having a strenuous workout.

I hope the other professional and collegiate sports leagues took notice of the results of Wrestlemania.  The WWE was the guinea pig to see if holding sporting events in front of no spectators was a viable option.  Obviously, it isn’t.

Hey, Vince you had no choice.  You gave it your best shot and I applaud you for that.  The WWE just doesn’t work without an arena full of fans being fanatics.

Will it work for other sporting events?  I guess they will just have to find out for themselves but my vote is a loud no.