During an interview ESPN MMA, Triple H discussed how close WWE was to cancelling or postponing WrestleMania 36 this year. Triple H noted that all options were on the table, but that the company felt that they have an obligation to provide themselves and the fans with WrestleMania.
“We were going through the minute by minute of what was happening,” Triple H said. “It’s amazing how quickly all of this happened. On Wednesday March 11th, we were actually doing an event out of the Performance Center in Orlando that actually had fans at it. And I had mentioned to Vince, ‘Maybe we should leave some of this stuff up just in case, it just seems like things are going in a weird direction very quickly.’ In a 24 hour period after that everything was shutting down. It’s like everybody, playing it by ear. We can also do this in a way from an entertainment standpoint, from a Hollywood standpoint and a fictional standpoint that we can kind of control the environment and do this in a way that really nobody else can. And that’s what we’ve been able to do with WrestleMania. We’ve been able to continue the product, continue to put the event on, do it in the safest way possible, with minimal staff, no fans but we feel like it’s necessary.”
“I think [postponing or canceling] was obviously considered but we feel like it’s an obligation for us,” he continued. “Our fans have been there for us for years and years and years and we want to be there for them in this time where everybody is just doing the best to get through this, stuck home and the world needs entertainment right now. We feel an obligation to give them that. Whether it’s exactly what we would like it to be or they would like it to be, it probably won’t be, but it will be a version of that. We will make it the spectacle that it needs to be and that we can to the best of our ability and we’ll give the fans something to be entertained by. Sometimes people get very caught up in what we do, the arguments of what’s happening and why and should’ve done this or that, but at the end of the day if you don’t take it too seriously and you enjoy WWE for what it is, an entertainment source that hopefully we can do what the intent is is putting a smile on your face. If you can forget all that and put it aside and just sit in front of your set and just be entertained by what we do, then we’ve succeeded.”
When asked about what would have happened if the WWE did not have the Performance Center to fall back on for these fan-less shows, Triple H admitted that they would be in a difficult situation.
“I think we’d absolutely be in a difficult situation right now,” Triple H said. “The Performance Center ended up being worth its weight in gold of the ability to be able to not only train there, but to be able to create content there on a 24/7 basis. We’ve used the Performance Center for events in the past, we put on a Super Bowl halftime show that people really enjoyed, we’ve done other shows there, we’ve shot NXT there. It’s been used for that purpose but in this situation, it really turned out to be the saving grace so to speak for us to continue entertaining our fans.”
Rob Gronkowski was announced as the official host of WrestleMania 36 and signed a WWE contract. Triple H talked about WWE’s plans for Gronk and what the WWE did to make ‘Mania feel different due to the circumstances they are in.
“People have said ‘What are your plans for Gronk’ and I said ‘We don’t have plans for Gronk, Gronk has plans for us,'” Triple H said. “I think we’re all just living in Gronk’s world sometimes when I am around him. I think he’s going to do some really cool stuff that people will be shocked when he actually does. I think that the event itself will be spectacular while obviously not in a stadium with 70-80 thousand people. It looks spectacular, the look and the feel will be phenomenal. Talent really stepped up to bring the energy and the excitement knowing how important this was. A lot of things will take place both live and taped, but that will be taking place from alternative locations.”
Triple H also talked about the good he believes that can come out of this fan-less WrestleMania and some changes that may continue after everything is back to normal.
“It’s funny, sometimes I often think and I’ve heard this said a lot, that out of chaos comes genius,” Triple H stated. “Sometimes these moments in time allow you to think outside the box, and do things that you wouldn’t necessarily have the ability to do.
“If WrestleMania was just WrestleMania in a stadium and all that, we would be approaching it like we always do. We’re approaching this differently, from day one when we thought we were going to do this we thought how can we do it differently and unique and how can we capitalize on the situation that we’re in. I think we’ve done that and I think there will be some things on there that will, I don’t want to blow it out of proportion, but I think there’s some things that might change the way we do business going forward even after this.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit ESPN MMA with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.