By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
The following press release was issued on Friday to announce that ESPN will air classic WrestleMania events over the next three Sundays.
ESPN today, in collaboration with WWE, announced it is airing encore presentations of historic WrestleMania events over the next three Sundays on ESPN and streaming via the ESPN App. The special content initiative begins this Sunday, March 22, at 7 p.m. ET with the airing of WrestleMania 30. The full schedule is below:
WrestleMania 30 (airs Sunday, March 22, 7 p.m. ET) – from April 6, 2014
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Hulk Hogan and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin kick off the 30th anniversary of the “Showcase of the Immortals” before a record-breaking crowd at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints. Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar attempts to end the most celebrated streak in WWE history, Undertaker’s 21 consecutive victories at WrestleMania; witness the emotional culmination of Daniel Bryan’s “Yes! movement” in a championship triple threat match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Randy Orton and Batista.
WrestleMania 32 (airs Sunday, March 29, 7 p.m. ET) – from April 3, 2016
The largest crowd in WWE history filled Jerry World at AT&T Stadium for WrestleMania 32, as more than 101,000 fans witness the “Show of Shows.” Roman Reigns takes on Triple H for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the main event; Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks in a match to crown the first-ever WWE Women’s Champion; the world famous Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders welcome The Rock to AT&T Stadium; and Shane McMahon stuns the WWE Universe with a death-defying leap in his Hell in a Cell match against Undertaker.
WrestleMania 35 (airs Sunday, April 5, 3 p.m. ET) – from April 7, 2019
WrestleMania at MetLife Stadium features a significant moment in WWE’s Women’s Evolution as the “baddest woman on the planet” Ronda Rousey takes on Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair in a “Winner Take All” Triple Threat match for the Raw and SmackDown Women’s Championships, marking the first time women were the main event at WrestleMania; Kofi Kingston finally gets a shot at realizing his lifelong dream of becoming WWE Champion against Daniel Bryan; and Batista faces his one-time friend and mentor Triple H in a “no holds barred” match.
“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.”
These three encore presentations will air in advance of this year’s WrestleMania, which for the first time ever, will be held as a two-night event streaming live on Saturday, April 4 and Sunday, April 5 at 7 p.m. ET on WWE Network and available on pay-per-view. WrestleMania will be hosted by three-time Super Bowl Champion Rob Gronkowski. As WWE previously announced, only essential personnel will be on closed sets at multiple locations, including WWE’s training facility in Orlando, during the production of WrestleMania.
Powell’s POV: Sports networks are obviously hungry for content with no live sporting events taking place, so this seems like a good deal for both parties. It also begs the question of whether this is leading to something bigger with WWE and ESPN given that Vince McMahon teased the idea of selling pay-per-view rights to a streaming partner. The world has changed significantly since McMahon teased that possibility, so there’s no telling whether anything will happen anytime soon. Either way, such a deal will not affect this year’s WrestleMania, which is already advertised for WWE Network and pay-per-view. Furthermore, t