Nearly every major sports and entertainment organizations has responded to the Coronavirus pandemic by canceling, postponing or barring the general public from events. And pro wrestling hasn’t been exempt.
While WWE and officials from both the city of Tampa and the state of Florida remain in a standoff over whether the company’s largest event of the year, Wrestlemania, will go on as planned, a large number of independent pro wrestling promotions were forced to cancel or postpone events. This included some that were scheduled to take place in Tampa, Fla. during Wrestlemania week, one of the most profitable times of the year for the wrestling industry as a whole.
Caught in that fray was the LGBTQ and marginalized communities-focused promotion Uncanny Attractions. The company released a statement Thursday evening announcing that their Wrestlemania week show, Drags & Dropkicks Vol. 4, has been canceled.
“Through this current situation, Uncanny Attractions’ main concern is the safety of our fans and the safety of our wrestlers,” the company’s statement read. “We regret to inform our fans that we will be cancelling our April 2nd show for Uncanny Attractions due to the spread of the Coronavirus … we just want to ensure we’re doing what’s right so that we can have more shows in the future and healthy bodies.”
The company is currently working to refund all prepaid tickets and asked fans to keep the wrestlers facing significant financial losses from the show’s cancellation. “Fans, if you can and want to support, buy merch from our wrestlers as it’s a trying time for everyone. We appreciate your support, we appreciate your love.”
The message of support didn’t keep emotions from running high in the wake of the show’s cancellation. “I think we booked the coolest show that will never be seen and I’m really proud of everyone’s hard work,” Uncanny Attractions producer Darnell Mitchell lamented via Twitter. “My heart is broken.”
Fellow Uncanny Attractions producer and wrestler MV Young expressed remorse for the outcome. “Not only was it the first year where I was booked for several events to show people what I was capable of in wrestling,” Young stated. “I also had my first out of [New York City] [Wrestlemania] week show as a booker to show off my creative side as well. Fucking gutted.”
It remains to be seen if other shows, including other notable LGBTQ wrestling shows on the Wrestlemania weekend docket like EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch and JALEX Take Back The Power, will suffer a similar fate.
Game Changer Wrestling’s Brett Lauderdale, who is producing the Big Gay Brunch as part of The Collective, stated on Wednesday that he still plans to hold all shows under the Collective banner barring any decisions made by city or state officials regarding mass gatherings. “The underlying spirit of GCW, The Collective and our core partners is fully based in the belief that the show must go on,” read a statement released via The Collective’s Twitter account.
The fate of all shows scheduled around Wrestlemania will likely remain unknown until the future of Wrestlemania itself is decided, but the minds behind Uncanny Attractions believe they’re doing the right thing in being proactive. And they know this won’t be their last opportunity to showcase LGBTQ and other marginalized talent on wrestling’s largest stage.
“I know we’re doing the right thing,” Mitchell said. “I can’t wait for us to kill it with another amazing show soon.”