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Indie wrestling is headed to Tampa for WrestleMania week

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Independent wrestling has been hit hard by the pandemic. That COVID forced WWE to move WrestleMania 36 to their Orlando Performance Center and cancel all ancillary events in Tampa cost lots of promoters and wrestlers lots of money.

The pandemic isn’t over, but with vaccinations place and a year’s worth of protocols to pick and choose from, WWE is bringing their biggest event and fans to Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium this year. We’re not sure yet how many tickets will be sold for WrestleMania 37, but executives said they’d use the Super Bowl as a guide. The NFL put 25,000 people (and 30,000 cutouts) in the same venue on Feb. 7. Speculation is Vince McMahon will want 30,000 fans at his two shows at Raymond James on Sat., April 10 and Sun, April 11.

Figuring some percentage of that 30K - 60K will also be interested in paying for non-WWE shows, Gamechanger Wrestling (GCW) has announced they’re bringing The Collective to ‘Mania week. The series of indie shows will run from April 8 - 10 in Ybor City, just north of downtown Tampa.

The major players return such as Joey Janela’s Spring Break and Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport along with Effy’s Big Gay Brunch, For the Culture, Jimmy Lloyd’s D-Generation F.

New GCW Franchises joining The Collective include Allie Kat’s Real Hot Girl Shit, the 2 day 16-Man Acid Cup Tournament and a special ‘Alex Colon Produce’ Deathmatch event called “Planet Death”.

The Collective is also joined by new partners in rising upstart VXS, along with Florida favorites No Peace Underground and Unsanctioned Pro out of Ohio.

All in-ring action will take place OUTDOORS in the Cuban Club Courtyard and attendance will be capped at 20% of Capacity. Masks are required and tickets will be sold using a staggered and socially distanced seating chart. Covid safety protocols will be strictly enforced on the grounds.

2020 Tampa Collective Ticket Holders will have until Thursday at Midnite to redeem credit, rollover their 2020 packages or choose to reserve their credit or Rollover packages to 2022 in Dallas.

GCW ran some of the shows that were planned for last spring this past fall, and got caught in controversy around COVID procedures. The move to an outdoor venue is a good sign, and hopefully they’ve tightened things up in other areas as well for this latest go ‘round.

We’ll see how this, and other steps towards the return of large public gatherings, goes over the next few months.