WWE Wrestlemania 36 (lost footage of alternate finishes to professional wrestling matches; 2020)

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Wrestlemania 36 logo.

Status: Lost

WWE Wrestlemania 36 was the 36th instance of World Wrestling Entertainment's annual flagship show. Airing from 5th-6th April 2020, it was the first Wrestlemania to be televised over two nights, as well as the first to be taped. The latter arose from the Covid-19 pandemic, which resulted in WWE being forced to film the matches at its Performance Center in Orlando, Florida from 25th-26th March with no spectators, rather than televising the show live at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. The difference in the filming and airing dates led to concern over spoilers, prompting WWE to film alternate endings for some of its matches.


Heading into Wrestlemania 36, WWE had ambitions to sell-out the 65,000-seater Raymond James Stadium, televising the entirety of the show live on 5th April 2020.[1] However, plans drastically changed when cases of Covid-19 began to spread across the United States and worldwide.[2] After the NBA decided to suspend its season when players began to test positive for the virus, various sports organisations, including rival professional wrestling companies also began to initiate closedowns.[3] On 12th March, Tampa officials agreed that Wrestlemania 36 could continue as planned providing the Covid-19 situation had not worsened in a week's time.[4][3]

But as cases continued to rise, WWE announced on 16th March that the event would be fully held at its Performance Center in Orlando.[5] Among changes were to split the show's airing into two nights, being broadcast from 5th-6th April; and to film the event between 25th-26th March with no fans in attendance.[6][7] WWE also decided to produce cinematic matches, including a Firefly Fun House match between "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt and John Cena; and a Boneyard match between AJ Styles and The Undertaker,[8] the latter headlining Night 1.[9] Night 2 featured Brock Lesnar defending his WWE Championship against Drew McIntyre.[10]

Alternate Endings

The extent of time between the matches being filmed and their airing dates led to concerns the show would be spoiled in advance.[11] Professional wrestling has experienced challenges in avoiding spoilers when taping for upcoming televised events, primarily from the 1990s onwards. For example, when World Championship Wrestling (WCW) started filming matches for its programs at the Disney-MGM Studios in the early-to-mid-1990s, it would be for programs airing months later. Despite WCW's attempts to keep match outcomes a secret, including by filtering out wrestling fans, it did not prevent months of booking from being exposed by dirt sheets and internet forums, spoiling results and title changes, and damaging kayfabe in the process.[12]

Hence, to ensure hype and suspense for its show remained high, WWE decided to film alternate endings to some of its matches.[13][14] WWE had utilised this tactic before to avoid spoilers, when it filmed an alternate ending to an NXT North American Championship match between Johnny Gargano and Velveteen Dream in 2019.[14] Speculation that alternate endings would be filmed emerged even before the matches took place, with suggestions that every match on the card would receive two different results.[13]

A few days following filming, Forbes' writer Blake Oestriecher confirmed that at least some of the matches received alternate endings, some seemingly having a variety of different finishes.[14] Further still, WWE made internal leaks of the real results a fireable offence.[15] Exactly how many fights received this treatment remains unclear, while there is no information on what these alternate finishes would have been, aside from presumably having different winners.


While Wrestlemania 36 can be easily viewed on the WWE Network, no footage or photos of alternate finishes have been made publicly available. Unlike with the Gargano-Dream match, the absence of fans means no amateur recordings or images were taken of the event. The tapes containing the different endings likely dwell within WWE's tape library,[16] although the chances of the clips being publicly released remains low due to how they would break WWE's continuity following the show's airing.

See Also


  1. CBS Sports reporting on WWE's initial plans to have Wrestlemania 36 at the Raymond James Stadium. Retrieved 23 Feb '22
  2. BBC News detailing the rise of Covid-19 cases over the March-April 2020 period. Retrieved 23 Feb '22
  3. 3.0 3.1 Sports Net reporting on Wrestlemania 36's fate being decided in a week following closure of other sporting events. Retrieved 23 Feb '22
  4. The Tampa Bay Times reporting on Tampa officials' decision to wait until a week later to decide Wrestlemania 36's fate. Retrieved 23 Feb '22
  5. Bleacher Report reporting on WWE's decision to move the show to the Performance Center. Retrieved 23 Feb '22
  6. WhatCulture reporting on the filming and airing dates for Wrestlemania 36. Retrieved 23 Feb '22
  7. CTV News reporting on WWE's announcement regarding Wrestlemania 36 changes. Retrieved 23 Feb '22
  8. TV Guide where Triple H announced the cinematic matches for the show. Retrieved 23 Feb '22
  9. WhatCulture noting Night 1 was headlined by the Boneyard match. Retrieved 23 Feb '22
  10. Sporting News noting Night 2's main event between Brock Lesnar and Drew McIntyre. Retrieved 23 Feb '22
  11. WhatCulture detailing concerns the show would be spoiled before airing. Retrieved 23 Feb '22
  12. The Death of WCW detailing WCW's filming at Disney-MGM Studios, which resulted in many spoiler leaks. Retrieved 23 Feb '22
  13. 13.0 13.1 Sportszwiki reporting on WWE filming two endings, possibly for all of its matches. Retrieved 23 Feb '22
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 WhatCulture reporting on Oestriecher's confirmation that alternate endings were filmed for some matches. Retrieved 23 Feb '22
  15. 411 Mania reporting on WWE planning to fire anyone that leaked information about the show. Retrieved 23 Feb '22
  16. WWE detailing its tape library. Retrieved 23 Feb '22