Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Bill Apter Talks Potential Risks And Rewards of WrestleMania 36 at WWE PC

Bill Apter Talks Potential Risks And Rewards of WrestleMania 36 at WWE PC
While speaking to Wrestling Inc, Bill Apter discussed moving WrestleMania 36 to the Performance Center.



"It's the right decision and I'm relieved that they're not going to be doing it at Raymond James Stadium. Had they left it there, even though people know about the virus, a lot of fans would have tried to go anyway. Wrestling fans are loyal fans and they'll go anywhere to support it," said Apter.

"Moving it to the Performance Center – why not? With families having social distancing, why not sit in your home and watch the show? This is gonna be a spectacle in a different way because no one has ever seen WrestleMania like this."

Many people tuned into SmackDown last week without an audience just for the novelty of it all. Apter talked about the appeal of these types of events that are outside the norm.

"I thought the no-audience PC of SmackDown was very enjoyable to me. I used to go to the small gyms and watch wrestlers and boxers work out. It was a unique perspective and I said I wish fans could see this because it's really cool," Apter said before noting that Dory Funk's Bang promotion had a similar feel.

Apter has been in the wrestling industry for 50 years and was asked if he's ever seen anything like the no-audience matches on Raw and SmackDown.

"That one classic match with Jerry Lawler and Terry Funk where they ran the empty arena match. Other than that I've never really seen it. There were some companies that didn't do great business that drew 4 or 5 fans [laughs]," stated Apter.

"I was impressed with the casual way that Michael Cole and Triple H got on during that show. It was refreshing and it was like sitting back with the guys and girls and having a good time watching this happen."

Even without an audience, WWE is still putting employees at risk by continuing with events. Apter was asked what would happen if someone like The Undertaker tested positive for coronavirus.

"I think if that happens before WrestleMania then Taker's done with WrestleMania. They would also have to pull out anyone that's had contact with him," Apter said before noting this would be worst-case scenario would be cancelling the whole event.

"I hate to use the cliché 'we're gonna have to see what happens' but there are a lot of people that are gonna say they should cancel the event, period. And that still could happen."

Having Raw or SmackDown at the PC is one thing, but putting on The Show of Shows there is a whole another thing. Apter was asked how he thinks WrestleMania will come off if it does indeed take place at the PC.

"I think there will be a one-hour pre-show with highlights to familiarize people with what's going on. Then I predict a 2-3 hour show," stated Apter. "But again, it may not happen. If one person on that roster comes down with this before that show date, we may not have WrestleMania 36. It may have to become WrestleMania 36.5."

He added that any WWE employee could come down with this thing including cameramen.

As part of the ripple effect of WrestleMania being moved, many other events planned for the weekend have been cancelled including WrestleCon. Apter discussed that happening.

"I knew if WrestleMania was cancelled or put in a place where fans wouldn't be able to go, then WrestleCon would be cancelled. I feel terrible for [the WrestleCon promoter] because he has spent so much money and energy in making this such a great thing. He's gonna lose his shirt, his pants, everything with this being cancelled," said Apter.

"I think at this point, anything surrounding WrestleMania that has anything to do with live participation with fans should not run. That's my feeling."

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