By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE is holding a press conference to announce that WrestleMania 36 will be held in Tampa, Florida at Raymond James Stadium. My notes are listed below the video. Refresh the page for the latest updates.
-Hulk Hogan opened the press conference. He said it’s very special to him because Tampa is his hometown and where he fell in love with pro wrestling. Hogan spoke about WrestleMania memories and said he’s excited that the next generation of wrestlers will have the same experience in Tampa. Hogan also spoke about the energy of WrestleMania.
-WWE executive John Saboor spoke briefly and introduced Ken Hagan, Hillsborough County Commissioner, who officially announced April 5, 2020 as the date of WrestleMania 36.
-Stephanie McMahon was up next. She said it’s amazing to her that they’ve never held WrestleMania in Tampa before. She noted that WrestleMania generates over $100 million in economic impact for the host city. She said that if they do their jobs right then fans will be left with memories that last a lifetime.
-Titus O’Neil stepped up to the podium and noted that Tampa is his home and is also home to a number of WWE wrestlers. He spoke about the charity work that the company will do. Titus said they don’t want to wait until next year, and said they will be doing an anti-bullying rally in Tampa later today.
-Saboor spoke again and introduced Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who called O’Neil the real mayor. Buckhorn joked that he is two months away from being “your next Uber driver.” He said he can’t think of a better way to wind down his mayoral run than making this announcement. He spoke about how pro wrestling is part of Tampa’s DNA and how past generations watched at the armory. Buckhorn noted that Brian Blair was in attendance. He spoke about the major events that Tampa has hosted and said WrestleMania is comparable. He said people around the world will see WrestleMania and think Tampa is a cool place. Saboor said he was given a title belt backstage and he plans to wear it home tonight and display it in his man cave.
-Paul “Triple H” Levesque took his turn at the podium. He joked that the mayor’s wife will take the title from him. He spoke about the likes of Dusty Rhodes wrestling in the Tampa Armory. He said it gets no bigger for WWE than WrestleMania. He said there is no spectacle like it and he will put that up against any sports or entertainment event. Levesque also noted that the WWE Performance Center is located in Florida, and developmental actually started right up the road. He spoke about the women’s evolution and how they changed the name from Divas to Superstars. He said NXT will hold its largest show of the year during WrestleMania week, though he did not specify a date. Hunter closed with the “Are you ready?” line and said they better be.
-Rob Higgins of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission was up next and joked, “That’s right, I have entrance music.” Higgins thanked the WWE executives and fans for “instructing us” to host WrestleMania. He said it’s the biggest event that Tampa coveted that it hasn’t had a chance to host. He said there will be 40,000 to 50,000 hotel rooms booked for the event. He noted that WrestleMania will be held a year before Tampa hosts its fifth Super Bowl. He said Tampa is the fifth city to host WrestleMania and the Super Bowl all within the same year. He said they submitted their bid inside a custom turnbuckle with “It’s Our Time” written on it.
-Saboor introduced a few dignitaries who were in the front row and then introduced Charlotte Flair. He noted that she will face Ronda Rousey for the Raw Women’s Championship at WrestleMania at WrestleMania 35. Charlotte said she started her career in Tampa in July 2012 and then honed her skills at the WWE Performance Center. She said she has goosebumps just thinking about her WrestleMania 35 match. She said WWE has devoted more airtime to the female talent and noted that the women are featured in the main event of some of the company’s biggest events. She said WrestleMania will be no exception. “And, oh yeah, we’re just getting started. Woooo.”
-Saboor introduced Natalya, Sasha Banks, and Bayley, who were seated in the front row. Saboor introduced Roman Reigns as the final guest and noted his “courageous and inspirational fight” against leukemia. Reigns said when you go last, everyone says what you were going to say. He mentioned the economic impact that WrestleMania has. He said he had some time on his short drive to the stadium to think about what he wanted to say. He said it’s all about the moments. He said it’s not beating Brock Lesnar, Triple H, or Undertaker. He recalled seeing his daughters chasing his sons and how they all had smiles on their faces at last year’s WrestleMania. He said it’s neat to see that from so many different families. He said there will be big moments, but there will also be the little moments when fans see their kids reacting to various things or talking the next morning about how great the show was. He invited people to come make that moment with WWE.
-Saboor wrapped up the press conference by thanking everyone for being with them. He also noted that they will release ticket information at a later date.
Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Ian Riccaboni discussing his decision to re-sign with Ring of Honor, getting emotionally invested in matches, the March 15 ROH 17th Anniversary show, the G1 Supercard at MSG, and much more.