MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - Should the WWE Cancel/Postpone Wrestlemania 36 or Not due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

MR. TITO STRIKES BACK – Should the WWE Cancel/Postpone Wrestlemania 36 or Not due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

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Welcome, everyone, to an additional column that I decided to write exclusively here WrestlingHeadlines.com, a LordsofPain.net company. Recently, I have been writing “ASK MR. TITO” columns but I wanted to write an additional column this week to discuss a few serious issues regarding recent World Events and also how it relates to Pro Wrestling.

First and foremost, I want to state where I was very short-sighted… Two weeks ago in my March 7th, 2020 edition of Ask Mr. Tito, I basically suggested that the WWE should host that event anyway and that wrestling fans should “live their lives” and something along the lines of stating where the virus really harms. In other words, if you were a younger wrestling fan, go have fun and enjoy the show… Then, a loyal reader posed to a question to me… “What if they visit their parents or grandparents after the show while being infected from attending the show?”.

Oh.

So yeah, I was very wrong on that… Given the fast rate at which this Coronavirus is spreading and how lethal it is towards the elderly, just be careful about what you touch, wash your hands, be careful of larger crowds, and consider using technology like phones or facetime to keep in touch with older loved ones who are at most risk.

Obviously, I’m not a doctor or a scientist… I’m just someone who believes that we need Wrestling and Sports, more than ever, just to keep us sane as we’re stuck indoors and resemble something “normal”.

But what I am is someone working in the financial industry. And what I’m about to suggest should be taken very seriously by anyone reading this column. I’m taking my “Tito Mask” off and I’m about to get real. I’ve worked in the financial industry for almost 2 decades now and I saw the effects of the Late 2007 through June 2009 Economic Recession known also as the “Housing Crisis” or “The Great Recession”. During that time, many people lost their jobs (unemployment jumped to just above 10% for the first time since the early 1980s) and following that, many people lost their homes due to an inability to pay on an inflated housing price. I was studying consumer behaviors with their finances closely during that time and I can provide a ton of hindsight on what to do better now compared to what consumers or businesses were doing poorly back then to harm them much worse than it could have been.

Coronavirus and your health aside… The SHOCK of this virus is causing an Economic Recession. I don’t care where you are politically… The FACT is that after the initial grocery shopping has been completed, shopping is going to dry up FAST. Fewer customers = lesser revenue, therefore, workers will see hours cut and layoffs. If people are being quarantined in their homes to work remotely… They are no longer traveling to their work facility. What does that mean? Well, any restaurants, gas stations, or any surrounding businesses will feel a huge pinch. Fewer customers = less revenue, therefore, workers will lose hours or see layoffs. If everyone stays at home and does not attend as many leisure or entertainment services (sports, movies, bars or clubs, etc), less revenue and therefore fewer workers needed. With the NBA, NCAA, Golf, MLB, XFL, and many Music Concerts being cancelled or postponed… Many workers have jobs in those big venues. No events, no paychecks.

Look at Gas Prices RIGHT NOW… Yes, I understand that Russia and Saudi Arabia are having a weird price war right now, but there is more to the story… That’s a signal for DEMAND as well… If consumers stop buying goods/services, there will be fewer Trucks needing fuel. If people are staying at home, whether it’s working remotely or buying into the “social distance” thing, fewer people driving on the road. If a Gas Station has an excess amount of unsold fuel, how do they get rid of it? Oh yeah, that’s right, cut the price… If the Gas Station is cutting their prices, fewer revenues are coming in… I bet that many Big Box retailers, those who remain, will start cutting prices here too. Why? Because you’re not coming into their doors to shop. How can they entice you to return? Lower prices. BUT they don’t want to lower prices and are only doing so because they have to! Lower revenues for them, thus, fewer workers needed.

This Economic Recession is INEVITABLE. It’s here already… I was projecting a rocky 2019 economically anyway which saw a Tariff (taxes on imports) based slowdown that caused multiple Federal Reserve interest rate cuts to help prop up the economy. And now, the Coronavirus has Producers AND Consumers scared and both will be cutting back on their spending soon, if they haven’t already (besides grocery shopping).

Here’s my advice… Typically, most financial advisors suggest that you should have “at least 6 months worth of savings” to survive by paying all of your bills + buy necessity based groceries. I say go a FULL YEAR… Now, this isn’t an option for everyone, as many are living paycheck-to-paycheck. If that’s the case, I’d strongly recommend making contingency plans with your Friends and Family should you lose your job and be unable to pay for Housing, specifically. I’d also become very familiar with social programs that are out there, which are meant for times in need such as this. Make sure that you understand how your State processes Federal Unemployment claims and also understand what qualifies someone for foodstamps. Most people badmouth Food Stamp and Unemployment abuse during “good times”, but those programs were meant to be used during “bad times”.

If you’re in upper management, be lenient on your staff members and tighten the belt on yourselves first… The hourly staff is usually the ones who become unemployed first at many Corporations as the Bureau of Labor Statistics prove. During the 2007-2009 Recession, the unemployment rate for those with a High School education (or less) and Some College went up above the accepted 6% threshold while those with College seemed almost normal (under 6%). Be good to your employees and freeze or even take paycuts (also refuse bonuses) to ensure that your loyal staff members retain their employment. If you keep them employed through a recession, they’ll become more loyal and possibly more productive through and after the recession. Just give them stability and they’ll return it with pride. Try to personally reward them, too, from your own pocket as well. Something like an occasional gift certificate to buy groceries will keep them going through tough times.

Listen to your fellow co-workers… If you hear of anyone struggling, take it very seriously. It’s not just their own personal struggles, but their families as well. Many will need a shoulder to lean on. Make your shoulder available at any time.

Itemize your monthly budget and consider what is essential and what is not. Consider freezing or eliminating “what is not”. Many don’t realize how much money they lose, weekly, by going out to a restaurant for lunch. That adds up real quick… Make something at home or get something cheap from the grocery store to consume as your lunch. I actually keep dry foods in my office, such as breakfast bars or soups, and that keeps my costs low for lunch. Consider cutting the cord with Cable/Satellite. They are price gouging you, anyway… The Broadcast channels of NBC, ABC, FOX, and CBS are readily available through a digital antenna and the cheap streaming services provide high quality content anyway. I have saved SO MUCH money by leaving Cable for good during August 2015 and yet I haven’t missed it. Netflix and now Disney+ (sometimes WWE Network) are doing just fine for me along with the Broadcast channels. Youtube, too. I’m good.

What what you are buying with your phone… Those Apps add up with microtransactions and shopping on Amazon.com can be very addicting. Amazon isn’t as cheap as they once were, too… Be careful paying more for convenience. Granted, if you’re quarantined, shopping online might seem logical, but be careful…

Be careful of FRAUD… It’s during tough times when a fraudster will take advantage of you or your parents/grandparents. Watch your bank accounts daily with your online banking statement or Visa/Mastercard alerts. Make sure that you itemize what payments are occurring regularly and which ones are not.

Consider that a big Vacation will happen next year… For one, you can’t travel with the Coronavirus out there as states may ban domestic traveling across state borders soon… But going somewhere like Disney World will seriously cost you at least $2,000 and going to the beach with your family would cost up to that. Certainly, getting out of the house and out of your hometown is important, but buying groceries is as well. Also consider what type of insurance that you’re paying on your Cars… If your Car Loan has been paid off, roll the dice and shift to Liability insurance. Full car insurance won’t cover much if you wreck, anyway, and the premiums go up anytime you use it.

Just BE SMART with your money during an Economic Recession and eliminate non-essential spending… Also create contingency plans on where to go and where to stay should something serious happen. Openly help others, as well. You might be fine, but your neighbor, co-worker, or friends/family might not. Times like these are also times where you shouldn’t take advantage of someone. Don’t be a d*ck.

Did you get all of that? Cool… The Tito mask is going back on and let’s get back to our regularly scheduled WRESTLING broadcast…

*****************

SHOULD THE WWE CANCEL WRESTLEMANIA 36?

Simply put, I’m going to write like a Pros and Cons type column on what the WWE should do for their April 5th Wrestlemania 36 show. In my opinion, I’m FOR having Wrestlemania 36 still going on BUT in an empty or smaller arena setting due to the need for something “normal” during pandemic and economic recession times. BUT, Wrestlemania isn’t Wrestlemania without a large crowd of fans…

Away we go…

WHY WRESTLEMANIA 36 SHOULD BE CANCELLED

Why to Cancel #1: Wrestlemania needs a big LIVE crowd to watch it.
Wrestlemania is the WWE’s top event of the year and therefore commands a big arena or stadium to host it. This is a show that boasts and brags about setting attendance records… Just not the same without that big crowd going bonkers for a major Wrestlemania moment. I just don’t know how well Bill Goldberg vs. Roman Reigns would look in an empty arena without fans either loving it or trolling it. Fiend loses a lot without fans in attendance and that entrance happening.

Why to Cancel #2: Keeping wrestling fans safe.
If the WWE keeps the event at Tampa Bay and does not restrict wrestling fans from attending, they could be placed at risk. Remember, it’s not just the younger fans who are at risk, but it’s who they might spread the virus to that’s at risk. If a wrestling fan visits an older fan or their parents/grandparents, that’s who could be at real danger from the Coronavirus. 60,000+ fans traveling means many gas stations, hotels, restaurants, and arena facilities that they’ll be contacting.

Why to Cancel #3: Keeping wrestlers safe.
Wrestling is full contact, as wrestlers will basically be trading sweat with each other and being around each other backstage + sharing catering.

Why to Cancel #4: Bad publicity.
NBA, NHL, MLB, PGA, and XFL (owned by Vince) have all either cancelled or postponed events. By not joining the public risk protection, it looks bad on the WWE. The McMahon family is closely associated with Donald Trump, as Linda actually works with him… If you go back to over a year ago, the WWE took major heat

Why to Cancel #5: Risk of losing major revenue.
If the WWE postpones Wrestlemania 36 and still hosts it in a major arena, that’s a big Live Event payday waiting to happen. If the WWE goes empty arena or moves it somewhere else for April 5th, they risk losing $5-10 Million in Live Event revenues. If they just wait and have the Wrestlemania event later, such as to May or June, they can still present a healthy financial quarter to investors of WWE stock. Additionally, without a big live gate, wrestlers won’t get paid.

What about the other side of the coin?

WHY WRESTLEMANIA SHOULD STILL HAPPEN ON APRIL 5th

Show Must Go On #1: We need something NORMAL right now.
MLB, NCAA, NBA, PGA, and XFL (owned by Vince) have either been cancelled or postponed. If we’re going to be stuck inside our homes for weeks, if not months… We need something to watch that feels normal. In my opinion, we’re ahead for some miserable times with the Pandemic followed up by the Economic Recession. Then, Election Drama… I don’t care if it’s an empty arena or placed in the tiny Performance Center… It’s something to watch with friends and family (taking precautions, of course) in April like we always have. Think about the Smackdown that happened following 9/11/2001… Stephanie’s IDIOTIC comments aside, we needed that show for “piece of mind” as wrestling fans.

Show Must Go On #2: UFC isn’t cancelling.
Just saying, they are competition to WWE’s fanbase. If UFC will still hold events, WWE should figure out a way too. Even if it’s empty arenas or at the Performance Center, just present your product. WWE could risk losing fans to UFC if UFC events are still happening.

Show Must Go On #3: What if all of 2020 is quarantined?
When States and our Federal Government declare “national emergencies” and ban gatherings of large amounts of people, it could last longer than we think. We could be just arriving at the first stage of this virus. Thus, if the WWE cannot host a large event through the entire 2020, they run the risk of cancelling Wrestlemania in whatever form that they can present it. I believe that this travel ban and then quarantining stuff will last for a while and it’s not worth the risk of postponing your biggest WWE event that is expected to happen in April. Plus, fans might not be willing to attend in May/June or future months out of fear or serious economic strain.

Show Must Go On #4: If empty arena, it will force the WWE to actually try harder for quality.
If we venture into an Empty Arena or Performance Center Wrestlemania, it’s going to force WWE’s Creative Team and wrestlers to put on a higher quality show. Without the live audience to distract them, wrestlers have to impress the television viewer more than ever.

*****

THE LAST WORD

In my opinion, Wrestlemania 36 should still happen on April 5th BUT to an empty arena. We, as a country and world, need something that appears “normal” right now. The Pandemic Fears + Economic Recession Fears are going to make life rough for everyone either now or later. When you see stories such as Gun & Ammo sales increasing out of fears recently, people are tense… Based on how fast the Coronavirus is spreading, we could be at the beginning of this… But again, what I cannot stress hard enough is the ECONOMIC impact of this virus. The Recession is coming and I cannot pound this desk hard enough. Even if our health risk dies down, it may take the economy a while to grow significantly again.

The Performance Center Smackdown was fine and it caused wrestlers to have a little more attention to detail without a big live crowd in place. For many fans who grew up watching NWA/WCW during the late 1980s, we’re used to the smaller Studio Wrestling shows. Hence why we popped when Billy Corgan was holding Studio Wrestling shows for his version of the NWA (but we’re pissed about the Jim Cornette dismissal).

Pro Wrestling needs to go back to what made it fundamentally great… It has become too bloated and too corporate thanks at first to Time Warner getting too involved with WCW during 1998 and then with the WWE becoming Corporate during 1999. Everything is too micromanaged now and done for the sake of marketing, selling toys, or public relations.

WWE, in particular, is a hot corporate mess that has lost HALF of its Attendance and Audience since the Attitude Era peak during the Spring of 2000. Worse yet, their deterioration since 2015 has caused them to lose over 1.5 million RAW viewers and thousands in attendance. Now, without a full time top draw like John Cena around, Merchandise numbers are bombing.

Under the Corporate WWE model, wrestling has lost its way and only became worse as they gutted experienced wrestling hands from their backstage (Brisco, Patterson, Ross, etc.). Everything BUT the way Vince McMahon can swindle declining Cable/Satellite companies to give him money is broken within the WWE. Yet, with those television deals, if you compare them to NFL/MLB/NHL/NASCAR/UFC, the WWE could be receiving more if their QUALITY was up to drive up higher viewership.

Stripping the WWE down to just a camera in an empty arena could do the WWE some significant good. It could make the World WRESTLING Entertainment company realize what built that Corporate empire… Wrestling! At the end of the day, you are building a wrestling ring in the middle of an arena that depicts heroes and villains fighting over championship titles that should be treated like the greatest prize or honor in the world.

Vince McMahon has tried Bodybuilding, Ico Pro, Football, Movies, Music, Restaurants, Boxing Events, and other non-wrestling things… What has been mostly the results of those? Mostly failures… Wrestling has given Vince the lifestyle that he enjoys as well as meaning in our society. Stop being ashamed of that and put all of your chips onto what made you great.

So give us WRESTLING on April 5th, 2020 even if it’s in an Empty Arena or at the Performance Center. We need that badly right now as everything has been turned upside down and will likely get worse as the known effects of the economy’s decline are realized.

That’s my opinion and I’m sticking with it… DO NOT cancel Wrestlemania 36 BUT place it in an Empty Arena or the Performance Center. Put the wrestlers in the audience to make it amusing, too… Let the heels cheer for the heels and the babyfaces cheer for the babyfaces… If brawls happen in the crowd, well, then that will be entertaining.

Please take care of your finances and help others right now… Times might get really tough soon not just with the pandemic threat but also economically.

So just chill… Until the next episode!

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