While we wrestling fans debate the pros and cons of how AEW and WWE are approaching the challenge of producing closed set wrestling shows during the coronavirus pandemic, fans of most sports are left without much to debate at all.
NFL free agency has swooped in with some news to keep websites and talking heads busy, but the airwaves and streams which were once filled with games are still idle.
Vince McMahon to the rescue!
Variety first reported that ESPN will add three classic WrestleManias to their rotation. The first one airs this Sunday (Mar. 22) at 7 p.m. Eastern. They’re starting with a modern classic - Daniel Bryan’s two-match epic against Evolution, and Brock Lesnar ending Undertaker’s Streak in New Orleans at 2014’s WrestleMania 30.
WWE.com has the remaining specific of the schedule, which will provide not only content for ESPN, but great promotion leading into the two-night WrestleMania 36 on WWE Network and PPV:
Sun., Mar. 22 at 7 p.m. Eastern - WrestleMania 30
Sun., Mar. 29 at 7 p.m. Eastern - WrestleMania 32
Sun., April 5 at 3 p.m. Eastern - WrestleMania 35
The last two stretch the definition of “classic” (to be fair, WWE didn’t use that word - Variety did). But they do feature stars who can be seen on recent episodes of Raw & SmackDown, as well as this year’s Showcase Of The Immortals. They also feature history-making women’s matches like the Sasha Banks/Charlotte Flair/Becky Lynch Triple Threat from Texas, and last year’s main event with Flair, Lynch & Ronda Rousey.
Plus, you get KofiMania! And Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson with cheerleaders and a flamethrower!
Here are the obligatory quotes from ESPN & WWE executives about the deal:
“This unique opportunity is a byproduct of the terrific working relationship we’ve enjoyed with WWE over the years and the unprecedented circumstances we all find ourselves in,” said Burke Magnus, executive vice president, programming, ESPN. “WrestleMania is one of the most popular global events in sports and entertainment and the spectacular content it provides will be a treat for fans.”
“It is a privilege for us to deliver historic WrestleMania content to our world-class partners at ESPN and provide more premium programming to our fans; putting smiles on their faces particularly during this trying time,” said Stephanie McMahon, Chief Brand Officer, WWE. “We look forward to celebrating WrestleMania history with ESPN as we head into our two-night pop culture extravaganza on April 4 and 5.”