WWE officially announced on Thursday that this week's episode of Friday Night SmackDown, originally scheduled to take place in Detroit, will be held inside the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. Reports of the show being moved first popped up on Wednesday night, though WWE released a statement at the time saying that wasn't the case. The new statement read, "Friday Night SmackDown on March 13 will air live as regularly scheduled and emanate from WWE's training facility in Orlando, Florida with only essential personnel in attendance. The event was originally scheduled in Detroit, Michigan."
As more events continue to be canceled, postponed or rescheduled due to the spread of coronavirus, the status of WrestleMania 36 taking place in Tampa has been up in the air this week. WWE released a statement last week saying it had no intention of canceling the event.
Friday Night SmackDown Proceeds With No Live Audience
Friday Night SmackDown on March 13 will air live as regularly scheduled and emanate from WWE’s training facility in Orlando, FL, with only essential personnel in attendance. The event was originally scheduled in Detroit, MI. pic.twitter.com/o9mR2SNhAj— WWE (@WWE) March 12, 2020
"The health and safety of our fans, performers and employees are our top priorities and we are monitoring the situation closely with our partners and government officials in Tampa Bay," WWE's initial statement on the virus possibly canceling WrestleMania read. "We remain committed to hosting WrestleMania at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, April 5, and like other entertainment properties in the U.S., there are currently no plans to cancel or postpone our upcoming events."
However, Tampa city officials met on Thursday with Vince McMahon to discuss the possibility of canceling the event. In a press conference, they announced a decision would not be made on their end for a week.
"We know that right now WrestleMania is out about three weeks, and we came to the conclusion [that] right now we don't want to pull that plug," Hillsborough County district commissioner Les Miller said. "However, we wanted to give it at least a week to see what was going to happen, if the WWE was going to do anything at all. And if that don't, at that point I would suggest we do bring this body back together in an emergency meeting to discuss what we do at that point in time."
Appearances by John Cena, Jeff Hardy and Paige have all been announced for the show. No word yet on if any of those appearances will be canceled as a result of the change.