This is one of those columns where I’m not going to write a lot of words even though it’s over 7,000 words of content below. That’s because I asked the loyal readers of TJRWrestling on my Facebook page some questions about how they are currently enjoying (or not enjoying) the current wrestling scene as it relates to the health crisis going on in the world.
For over one month now, WWE shows have been taking place at the WWE Performance Center while AEW has taped empty arena shows in Florida and Georgia. It’s the best thing that the wrestling companies can do right now with no fans allowed in the building, but does that make it fun to watch? I think it’s a subject worth exploring.
I’m not going to include the names of the commenters. I’m just doing that out of privacy even though I know when I do the Q&A posts I do include the names. Really, I’m just doing it this way to show you the different views of wrestling fans like you and me.
What I did is asked five questions while giving the readers the option to just give a general comment or answer specific questions if they want. Here were the questions I asked:
1) Do you like watching wrestling with no fans or is it difficult to get into because you are used to watching with fans?
2) Are you happy that wrestling is continuing because it’s better than watching depressing news about the Coronavirus?
3) Do you think wrestling companies should be running any shows right now?
4) Are matches like the Boneyard Match and Firefly Fun House Match from WrestleMania something you want to see more of? Should WWE do it even when fans are back?
5) Is your interest in wrestling shows up, down or the same from when things were normal? If you are down, do you think your interest will go back up when things are “normal” again?
Some comments will be red and others in blue because if I put everything in black then it would be hard to distinguish the comments. If I feel the need to comment, it will be in black although as you’ll see below, I got tired after a lot of comments and didn’t comment much towards the end. Let’s roll.
I think wrestling without the fans has been good at times and bad at times but I think it’s been a good lesson for wrestling companies to improve more and to be better creative wise. The fans are learning to stop disrespecting the wrestlers, bookers, and others in the business when they can’t get everything they want.
1) Honestly, in a lot of ways, I almost like it better. There are certain matches I think would benefit more from a crowd reaction but honestly just having wrestlers in the crowd making a little noise helps.
2) As long as they aren’t forcing wrestlers to perform despite reservations then it’s great to still have on TV. I do like knowing AEW recorded a lot at once so they can get them done then let people go home.
3) Honestly? Not really, I think it’s a big risk to their health and those who have to be there to keep it going. That being said people need work and money so it will help.
4) Absolutely, do more like that make it a special event obviously and don’t center a PPV around it. It gives a chance to tell more in-depth stories and keep them around even when the fans come back.
5) About the same. If they hadn’t done WrestleMania without fans I probably wouldn’t have watched but I was curious to see how they did it.
My interest in current day wrestling is down. But oddly, my interest in watching wrestling from 96-2002 is up. I’ve been watching a lot on the Network. I’ve been trying to think of why. The wrestlers themselves are more talented these days. The matches are generally longer and better, especially the women’s. So why do I prefer the old stuff? The biggest thing I can think of is how engaged the crowd is. That must add a lot for me, without me realising it. I do struggle to care when there’s zero crowd. No interest at all for me.
That said, I also don’t have a big problem in them running shows. There will be plenty of people who are entertained by current wrestling, including kids, and it’ll be an anxiety reducer for them. I have no issue with any form of entertainment continuing to entertain if done safely.
I have not been thoroughly watching the product like I used to. I use to be right in front of the tv #AllIn. Since I am blind, I thrive off of crowd response which sort of helps me react to what is going on. It’s hard to explain – just imagine your favorite band putting on a concert with nobody there. Hearing all their grunts, noises reminds me of when I use to play gosh, what was that game called? I think it was called WWF attitude on PlayStation back in the late 90’s. I think shows should’ve been taped and have everything go back to normal once everything goes back to normal, whatever normal is nowadays. I get it, there are other factors as to why shows are still being done, but you asked for my opinion lol. Tough spot, because damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Just have people stop their stupid screams and woos when nobody is there. It just doesn’t sound right!
TJR: That’s a unique perspective from a mand that is blind that is able to enjoy the wrestling product, but when there are no fans it makes it a lot more difficult.
1. Unlike Ronda, I’m actually missing those ungrateful fans.
2. Thank you Vince for keeping wrestling going. Through good times and bad, it’s been the one constant in all our fans’ lives.
3. Yes, more positive, more better.
4. They should scatter the cinematic matches out more before they burn out quickly.
5. Sadly, interest has been way down due to lack of storyline, star power and increase of meaningless squash matches.
Let me preface this by saying I only really watch WWE and have only seen a couple of AEW matches with no crowds.
1) To be honest it doesn’t really bother me that much and during the matches I tend to not notice it except for when something cool happens and we aren’t hearing “This is Awesome”. Promos are odd with no fans but that also allows the talents to not have to stop for what chants haha. I do feel bad for Drew and Braun(Roman) who lost out on moments with fans around.
2) As long as the wrestlers are safe and have the option about whether or not they want to compete then I think it’s great that the option is there.
3) I think if they are going to do it, it should be maybe 1 live show a month and the rest are taped. That gives the talents that choose to still wrestle fewer chances of getting sick.
4) I would love to see more however when things go back to normal I would do only if a feud calls for it.
5) I look forward to them more now simply because there isn’t anything else to watch live haha.
It’s definitely different. I do like that everyone is putting a great effort in the hand they have been dealt with. The interaction between the wrestlers during the matches I’ve enjoyed for the most part. It does look weird when a wrestler comes out and stands and poses for no crowd.
I appreciate WWE and AEW continuing to run shows. Obviously they’re taking precautions and if you don’t want to compete you don’t have to. I mean, look at the talent that’s either been missing for weeks or isn’t there a lot for both companies.
That’s A LOT of top talent you’re not seeing every week or in some cases haven’t seen in over a month. I think things will be back to normal (or as normal as they’re gonna get until a vaccine is created) by the end of the summer. I’m glad they’re at least attempting to put on a show. All of the shows we normally watch were shut down by this virus and all you see on TV is about this damn virus. It’s nice to have an escape as long as it’s being done properly. They’re not the best shows but they’re decent and it’ll be even better once the fans come back. Plus, without this, we never would’ve gotten the classic of the boneyard match. That makes it a win right there.
TJR: I agree with a lot of this. There has been a lot of big name talent missing and who knows when some of them will be back. Plus, I miss things like sports a lot that usually take up my time in the evening when I don’t have wrestling to write about, so it is nice that wrestling is still there to entertain us.
1. I definitely like it more with fans, but I still enjoy it even without fans.
2. Very happy with the fact that wrestling is still continuing. It’s definitely much much better than watching news updates on the number of people who have contacted Coronavirus or died from it.
3. The shows should continue. Wrestling is an essential product for me.
4. I loved the Boneyard match a lot. Buzzing to see the next one. I would be happier if the next is The Undertaker vs Sting.
5. Interest has gone down a bit due to lack of fans and atmosphere, but will be up the roof with things back to normal.
1.) It’s difficult to watch without the fans because the atmosphere is a key component to the show.
2.) I would be fine if they took a hiatus for a few months, but also gives me something to watch on DVR.
3.) As long as they can do it safely and with the right precautions.
4.) I loved the cinematic matches and I hope to see more.
The no fans thing hasn’t done any service to the product itself, but I get why they continue to put a show on, for both business and to give us at home a break from the everyday and a way to relax. For AEW, they have given some indy guys the ability to keep an income coming in and being showcased while other talents haven’t been able to make the tapings and it has allowed for others to step up in some degree.
In WWE, it has allowed them to take a few different risks in the production of different matches and allowed a different approach to some matches that we most likely never would have seen otherwise. The crowd is an important factor overall as it does come off as bland and boring at different times, but they’re trying to make it work as well as possible. My wonder overall is the same as yours…do those that have tuned out now ever come back or have they moved on now and are done with the product overall? My overall interest is still roughly the same as I am still watching AEW and haven’t been interested in WWE long before this, but I do miss ROH, MLW, and others and will most likely watch again when things return to somewhat normal. The best take from all of this is Jericho on commentary…that man is GOLD and makes some of the worst situations more than bearable (like that Nakazawa bullshit).
TJR: Well said. I definitely agree about Jericho too. He has been hilarious on AEW commentary for the last three weeks and it was a great call to put him there to help fill in for others.
I like the fact that they’re still putting on shows. It’s definitely not the same without the fans. Debuts and big moments for a wrestler like winning a title or getting revenge on a rival is not the same without the fans cheering or booing. I didn’t watch WrestleMania, but I give WWE props for coming up with some creative matches. I like that AEW is having other wrestlers as the “audience” because if the fans can’t be there then this is better than nobody there. It is funny as hell when Jericho talks shit about Pineapple Pete. I can’t wait for life to go back to normal. It’s going to be good for fans to fill up an arena and support their favorite wrestlers. But until then, they’re at least giving us some entertainment.
1. I prefer the fans. It helps set the tone.
2. I’ve watched less lately, mostly due to work requirements. I’m glad it’s continuing, though.
3. Sure. I think Vince is smart for doing so. And being a gracious boss by allowing the talent the option.
4. I think the landscape will change. Not ?, but we’ll see more of these types in the future. Nothing wrong with turning it into a production. It could and will bring in new fans.
5. A little down but I still catch what I can right now.
I think 1 and 2 have a related answer for me because I find it hard at times to get into some matches with no crowd but it has helped me notice some small details with the crowd I didn’t like. Plus, I’m really glad that at least 3 times a week I can unplug myself from the world with its current situation and just try to enjoy it.
3) I don’t know. While I would understand if they had stopped after Mania, I also don’t have a real issue with them continue. Both decisions would have been criticized and praised by many.
4) I like them from home and on a few occasions it’s fine, but I don’t know if someone that paid $150 for a nice seat will enjoy having to look at the screen for 20 minutes.
5) It’ll stay around the same. Obviously, the interest for the first Raw or SD with the crowd will be higher than usual, and I hope they make it feel special (maybe save a MITB cash in for that day, or some title matches). But I also believe there’s going to be so many things for everyone to do that wrestling won’t be a top priority for the rest of the year.
I barely could watch a full wrestling show “with” fans because it got somewhat stale. Now without fans, it has no appeal at all. I get my wrestling fix by watching “The Darkside of The Ring” The Brawl For All Episode was great. Definitely a must-watch episode.
1) I’m caught in the middle. On one hand, it lets the companies explore new creative ideas, as well as really illustrating which of the wrestlers can tell a story alone without relying solely on fan reaction. On the other, it is too quiet. Not having that fan reaction really shows when something they try falls flat.
2) I’ve watched more older wrestling shows since this started than I have new programming. In that sense, it’s given me a chance to relive some shows I’ve been meaning to go back and watch and hadn’t made time to.
3) As much as I think some people are overreacting, I think allowing wrestling to continue while others have been halted is setting a bad example and borderline unfair. That being said, I’m also of the belief that if they feel safe doing it than we shouldn’t limit them. It’s a slippery slope deciding between not enough precautions and too much.
4) I was a big fan of both, as well as the Delete stuff and the way Lucha Underground was shot. I’d be down to watch more in the future, even after things go back to ‘normal’.
5) I haven’t watched anything live except for AEW (and WrestleMania) in a while, even before all of this, just because life has been busy. In that sense, nothing has changed, but it’s more from overall lack of interest in the product than all of this. At least with this, it’s made all the companies rely more on creativity and thinking out of the box, so I’ve been more inclined to check out the shows when I hear something good went down than I was before.
TJR: I really like what was written for #3 here because that’s what I’m thinking too. If they don’t run shows then a group of fans are going to complain about no new wrestling content to watch. Since the are running shows, a group of fans are complaining about it being unsafe and tough to watch with no fans. It’s a tough spot for the decision makers.
I think they’ve had some great moments, where they’ve really taken advantage of it, whether it’s cinematic matches, or for comedy purposes… but there’s also been so much garbage, too.
Stuff like Mox vs Hager, which was advertised as an empty arena match when every match is an empty arena match, so it seemed pointless… and then it ended up being really uninspired and 10 minutes too long. At least Edge and Orton made use of the whole building with theirs, you know?
1. It’s a weird dynamic. Even in the 1930s and 1940s fans were attending shows. I don’t feel like it’s good for wrestling even if it’s necessary.
2. I’ve advocated for professional wrestling to cease during this crisis for the overall safety of the performers but I still watch wrestling to support them. It’s simply the right thing to do.
3. As I said in question #2 no, but I realize why they’re doing it.
4. These cinematic matches are unique experiences, but I feel like if you do something too much and run it into the ground it loses meaning. I don’t think it’s easy to find that balance that’s needed in a situation like that. We’ve seen similar situations with concepts like the Hell In A Match. A concept like a cinematic match should only be happening once or twice a year.
5. I would say it’s down slightly. I’ve been doing other things like reading my books or watching a show like The Office. I still watch but I start shows from the beginning much later or I play catch up later. I don’t think I’ll ever reach the point where I stop watching it. It’s like ice cream to me from the standpoint of not being able to give it up.
My interest is next to zero. I read your reviews. Most of the time. I used to watch pretty regularly and read your reviews religiously, even when I watched the show myself. The empty arena matches bore me to death. I also worry about the health of WWE/AEW employees. Regardless of what the Governor of FL and our idiot President say, wrestlers are NOT essential employees, and they should be staying safe at home like the rest of us. I’ll check in periodically, and I still look for posts from you and from TJR, but, to be honest, I just don’t care that much right now. Even when there are matches that would generally excite me, it doesn’t bother me to miss them. Will I become more engaged once things are back to “normal?” Probably. Until then, I will be, at best, a casual fan.
TJR: Thanks for reading! I have definitely got a lot more of those comments from people that have told me they stopped watching due to the health crisis, but they’re still reading my reviews and I appreciate that. The thing I try to mention in the reviews is if there are things that are you should check out. With that said, I feel like there are less “must-see” things every week.
1) I don’t necessarily like it, but having more vignettes is nice. It builds characters.
2) I am happy that some guys are still able to work and showcase their talents. Also, it helps guys get paid. Anyone who is working nowadays is very fortunate.
3) Let them work. They are a business. I am sure no one is twisting their arms to wrestle. It is also giving a few guys a chance who may not be given a chance. Also having Jericho on commentary is the relief we need in a time like this.
4) They are mostly terrible. It maybe worked because it was the Undertaker and Bray. It should stay as a special feature.
5) It’s about the same. I’ll try to catch it but it is no longer required viewing. I stick with your reviews and go back and watch it if it’s good.
I like that wrestling is continuing, but it’s not the same without fans. The fans are a part of the show as much as the performers are.
To be honest, it’s rare that I watch wrestling live anymore. I haven’t done it regularly in years. I use your reviews to see if something is worth checking out. I have checked out a few matches without the crowds and I have mixed feelings about it. I think the crowds can be a bit distracting at times but also can also help get the viewers/wrestlers engaged. One thing I definitely like about the no crowds thing is that it’s now forcing the companies to get creative which is a plus.
I also think that right now is the perfect time for wrestlers to perfect their trash talking. I love how sports have incorporated “Mic’d Up” segments onto players and think it could help wrestlers develop more personality for when fans do come back. A perfect example would be Drew McIntyre trash-talking some of the heels during his matches and heels like Ziggler and Rollins getting their personalities over by berating and being cocky while beating on faces.
1) I can’t get into it. It really takes away from the product, I had already drifted away from watching WWE, sampled it again around Wrestlemania and unfortunately, I just can’t get into it. Over the past year, I have preferred to watch AEW because I don’t have to invest hours of my week trying to keep up with it, but even their shows are failing to keep me interested.
2) It’s an escape from the real world but the reason I’m somewhat happy that it’s continuing rolls into question 3, in the bigger picture if they stop producing shows for say, six months, how many people would actually go back to watching it? They need to keep a presence on TV.
5) It’s definitely down and I doubt I’ll go back to watching WWE. I’ll probably continue watching AEW because it’s easy to follow and I don’t have to invest a lot of time into keeping up with it. I’m actually watching WCW during the Lockdown. About a year ago, I started watching from when Scott Hall joined their ranks and continued on and off but this Lockdown has enabled me to watch a lot more. I’m currently on Bash at the beach 98, the PPV after the Goldberg title victory. I’m skipping some matches from Nitro and Thunder, but all in all, it’s really good shit. It’s strange watching Bret Hart in the nWo because he just doesn’t seem settled.
TJR: The point about WWE and AEW needing to keep a presence on TV is very true. If they went to just showing taped content then they might lose even more viewers than they are right now.
My interest in wrestling as a whole is waning. The no-fan thing isn’t really a big deal to me but the lack of compelling programs is what’s losing my interest. I think I’m almost at the point where I’ll likely stop watching, but as for now I’m just watching out of habit.
I get what the WWE is trying to do by running shows. They say that it is to take people’s minds off of the coronavirus but it’s hard not to think about that when I see all of the empty arenas.
TJR: That’s absolutely true.
I enjoy it. It’s definitely different, though. I find AEW is putting on a better audio experience with the “crowd” of other talents along with the other ringside antics. But I’m still enjoying both WWE and AEW. I think if they can safely screen everyone coming in and out of the respective facilities, and those people are self-isolating outside of their work environment, then there’s no health-related reason to stop production. Also, it’s keeping people employed and keeping us entertained. So I think it’s good all around that they are still doing shows.
1) It is not nearly as good without fans. The fan reactions and excitement add to the product and makes the experience more enjoyable when watching from home. This goes for all sporting events, not just WWE but hockey, basketball etc etc.
2) I am happy that it has continued just because I believe it has saved a lot of people from losing their jobs. Look at how many have been released and the product is still getting produced. I think a lot more, both on and off screen would have lost their jobs if it stopped altogether. And to your point, it is nice to see something on Monday’s and Friday’s that is not news or a rerun of a sporting event I have already seen or know the result of.
3) I don’t mind it as long as it is true that if you don’t want to work due to the pandemic there will be no repercussions for doing so. I also believe that if the right precautions are taking with staff coming and going from the Performance Centre you can really mitigate the risk.
4) I would like to see more of it but I think they should be done on the Network. It can be promoted on both Raw and Smackdown but the match itself should be on the Network. The reason being is I feel the fans in attendance who paid money for live action shouldn’t be forced to sit in an arena and watch a match that could take anywhere from 15-30 minutes to play out. It seems unfair for those who have paid to see live action.
5) I’d say my interest is down right now just because I do enjoy it more with fans present. I find myself skipping it more than trying to see it and just reading your review when it is posted. Once fans are back I’m sure my interest will actually good up because I feel like they will try to make those first few live shows with fans really special.
While I wholly support the service they’re trying to provide I haven’t watched since the first fanless show except for WrestleMania. Honestly, it’s depressing to watch at times. It just sticks out like a sore thumb instead of being a distraction because it’s a weekly reminder of how off things are right now. That being said I am pumped for the first shows with crowds again. It’s going to feel like an event and the crowds will no doubt be hot so in that sense it’s renewing my interest in wrestling for sure. I’m eagerly looking forward to normal again and I’m excited to be excited about wrestling again.
TJR: I’m with you on that feeling in that last sentence. I feel like fans are going to be very loud and happy that wrestling is back, so there will probably be a lot of excitement when the fans are able to attend shows again.
The politics on if they should or not aside and just purely talking about the product, the wrestlers are doing a good job entertaining us. There have been some great matches, some good stories, and even great overall shows (though both WWE and AEW have been slipping some). People have been stepping up; I can immediately think of Asuka as a performer and Zelina Vega as a manager.
WrestleMania suffered due to lack of fans but in a nutshell, it was a good two nights. This pandemic has made wrestlers and writers focus on who is in front of the camera, which could be the biggest thing to come out of this. It can make for a better product overall once things get back to normal.
TJR: I like the positive attitude and the thought that wrestlers going through this will be better performers after having gone through this ordeal. I hope that is the case.
My level of interest hasn’t really changed. I do miss the crowds as some wrestlers do a very good job of playing off them. I’m glad they keep making new content although I hope they are giving the talent a choice of whether to be there or not. Some of the wrestlers have really stepped up their game now they’ve got some airtime! I enjoyed the “cinematic style” matches, it reminded me of Lucha Undergrounds over the top vinaigrettes (hopefully Vince buys the rights to that footage one day).
I’m hoping that when crowds are allowed back they throw everything at the next PPV and make it a really great, memorable show. Oh and keep Wrestlemania a two-night thing as it was Sooooo much better than 7+ hours viewing in a single day!
I found WrestleMania a very good distraction from real-life sadness. I thought the 2 ‘fresh’ matches were good and enjoyable. Is it as good as with fans? No, but I think it’s better than nothing. I appreciate the superstars and production teams still trying to entertain us.
1) It’s different obviously but the promos seem to be better in the ring without fans but at the same time the reactions from fans enhance the product more to me it’s just different.
2) Yes, I’m happy because of that very reason. It takes my mind off the pandemic and the news surrounding it. Plus, with other things on the shelf, so to speak, at least we have wrestling continuing.
3) I can see the other side of the argument but if, and it’s a big if, the companies keep their employees safe and healthy I don’t see an issue. What I do have a problem is the double standard with fans on attacking WWE for continuing to run shows and PPVs but let say AEW, who are doing similar plans and actions, skate by without any criticism whatsoever. If you want to attack WWE that’s fine, but do so with AEW as well.
4) What I liked about the Boneyard Match, and even the Firefly Funhouse Match, is that WWE is thinking outside the box and getting creative to do things they normally wouldn’t be doing. Hopefully going forward this type of thinking continues.
5) My interest in wrestling is about the same as ever still interested in watching it, supporting the wrestlers I can be critical but still without question trying to enjoy the product overall.
2) Yes and no about having wrestling continue. Yes, because it’s a great escape and we as a society need some entertainment to take our mind off of what’s happening around us. No, because as much as I’d love to watch people compete, if it’s for the sake of them becoming ill due to lack of social distancing then it isn’t worth it.
It’s not directly answering your questions, but I love the cinematic matches. The no crowd feel grows on me. I just find it bullshit that sweaty wrestlers ate essential enough to put each other in headlock, but photographers and actors like me are out of work.
I did have this idea that they could incorporate the feel of say, Invasion or Survivor Series 2001, where you had the rivals react backstage to the matches and reactions in split cam. You could have a match and they play over the top the reactions of the stars backstage watching or people at home. But that could be risky. Unless it’s taped.
I can’t watch wrestling without a crowd. I thought that it was a great idea for WWE to still have WrestleMania without the crowd because it gave everyone a chance to sort of a getaway. The RAW and SmackDowns after WrestleMania should have been it, though.
I’ve got used to no crowd as I began to think of it as watching a behind the scenes rehearsal. Plus it’s intriguing and kind of mesmerizing being able to hear all the noise and effects without the crowd muffling it (strikes, weapon attacks like the ring bell, groans etc).
I believe AEW has the better format by having personalities in the crowd as it does provide a bit of regular ringside noise and amusement.
I think the cinematic matches are amazing and perfect for the current situation (or any aging wrestlers). Plus, it helps add a bit of variety in general and separates the lack of crowd a bit more so it’s not as overwhelming. I’m happy for them to still appear occasionally after the pandemic’s over, especially regarding the aging wrestlers, if they want to keep performing.
Finally, if planned accordingly and very strictly regarding health regulations so everyone stays safe, I’m happy for them to keep doing it. Fewer people in at a time or filming in bulk to lessen the days of filming and travel is fine with me.
1. I definitely prefer the fans in the audience. I try to get into the matches lately, but I don’t like hearing audible moaning or screaming. Cinematic matches are okay though.
2. I’m happy it’s continuing because it’s somewhat normal while everything else is shut down.
3. I can’t tell them not to run any shows because it’s not my money. I personally wouldn’t, but it’s not for me to say.
4. I definitely would like to see more cinematic matches. I’m not Jim Cornette.
5. My interest is down a little. I cut cable months ago so I don’t watch any WWE or AEW. I know SmackDown is on FOX, but I don’t get that either.
I do watch the clips on YouTube though so I know what’s going on for the PPV.
I don’t think they should be running shows due to the risks. The product isn’t as enjoyable. But it’s better than no product. I don’t tend to watch it religiously anyway but it’s lowered my interest.
1) I find it very hard to watch without fans in attendance. I’ve always thought the fans were as much a part of the show as the performers, so without one of your main components, it’s weird.
2) I’m very happy wrestling is still on. It’s a nice break from the constant barrage of coronavirus b.s., and a welcome distraction. I have watched so much wrestling in the past 6 weeks. Thank goodness we have that available.
3) I’m torn on this one. See, I’m still working and my company has taken a TON of extra precautions in order to keep people employed. Some of them are annoying, but I’d rather that than being laid off or something. For wrestling, If they can still produce a show following the guidelines and safety precautions, then I say go for it.
4) I LOVED the Boneyard match. I HATED the Firefly Funhouse match. Both were great concepts though. WWE should definitely keep these ideas going forward. It’s exciting and with all of the characters they have, it could make for some interesting mini movies.
5) My interest in wrestling is down right now, but will for sure be back up once they run shows with fans. NXT was so amazing with the live crowds. It all comes back to question #1, where I said the fans are as much a part of the show as the performers. I think once we can go to shows, fans will be so insane and it will be so awesome.
To be honest, I watch the highlights, but to sit through the whole show, I find it difficult. AEW puts wrestlers out there to kind of act as fans, and it helps a little, but it’s just not the same without the noise. They’re trying, but it’s just not there.
It makes me a bit ashamed/embarrassed to be a wrestling fan with these companies still going and proclaiming that they are doing a good thing for people bored at home. It is immoral, reckless, and stupid. I wouldn’t be surprised if both companies have a number of wrestlers seething with anger at the situation. but can’t really say anything.
I’m not really going to defend AEW, but I have a little more empathy for them trying to push on given the relatively new organization has been hot out of the gate and has yet to put on a bad show as far I’m concerned (this doesn’t count during quarantine because I haven’t been watching any wrestling shows but Wrestlemania itself). Meanwhile, the talent has been doing a good job and I think Charlotte vs Rhea should be more appreciated.
My interest in wrestling is low right now because it’s just tough to watch these empty arena shows. I’ve been watching more old wrestling on the Network because I miss regular wrestling.
My usual routine is to watch AEW live every Wednesday but I heard that CBS was gonna air old Bellator shows on Wednesdays so I think I’m gonna watch those for now and tape AEW so I can skip all the boring parts.
Regarding the cinematic matches, some of them are great. I loved the Funhouse match. I thought it was one of the best things WWE has ever done. That being said, you can’t do them too often because they get old. Ciampa vs Gargano was good but by that point, I was already sick of those matches.
Lastly, I’m conflicted on whether WWE and AEW should be running shows. On one hand, it’s kind of irresponsible and dangerous. But I also get that they probably feel like they have to because they have no way of knowing when it’ll be safe to run normal shows again. It’s not like everything will be okay in a month. It could be that we don’t see fans in arenas again until 2021.
It’s unwatchable for me. I’m trying but the fans make the moments to me. I’ll check out the more interesting ideas, like the Boneyard and Funhouse matches, but I’ll probably just watch old Takeovers until audiences become a thing again.
I stopped watching because without the fans it’s harder for me to buy in. When I try to watch now it just looks like people doing acrobatics. I’ll probably watch when things are back to normal, but I would go on hiatus if I were them.
1. It’s difficult to get into matches with no crowd. When you think of the bigger moments like bumps or title wins, the crowd adds something.
2. I have been watching Smackdown since I get Fox and there’s no other new sports content on right now.
3. They do have a large archive so if they incorporated some of that to lessen the number of people exposed, I would be ok with that.
4. The more creativity, the better.
5. My interest in wrestling is about the same. If there were any other sports on right now though, it would be less interesting.
I don’t like it. It feels like a practice run without the fans. Daniel Bryan’s entrance is underwhelming without the fans. And the heels without the boos are like if they have no heat.
Wrestling is not the same without fans cheering/booing inside the arena! It is so boring! WWE should show more videos from the Attitude Era instead of doing live shows! It benefits from their performers to take time off and to fans to rewatch classic wrestling!
TJR: The Attitude Era rules! Well yeah…it f’n did. Everything except the chair shots to the head. Ouch.
1 – I find it very hard to watch without the fans, A 3 hour Raw is a tough watch anyway but in an empty arena if feels like a 6-hour show.
2 – I’m not happy that it is running right now. I feel with modern tech and a huge back catalog there are many different things they can do to fill the time. Things like legends watching old matches together via webcam and talking about it. Interviews with newer talent to get them over could be done too.
3 – Again it’s a no.
4 – I think 1 or 2 a year can be a good thing, even with the fans back. Any more and it will start to run thin.
5 – Way, way down. The shows are hard to watch so I find it hard to care what’s happening. Not watching is getting me out of the habit of watching and right now it feels like it will be a struggle to get back into it when the world rights its self again.
1. It’s hard to get into, but it’s still entertainment. I’ll watch as long as I continue to be entertained.
2. I’m glad they’re putting out new content. It’s something to look forward to other than Jeopardy.
3. It’s not exactly social distancing, is it? If they tape several shows ahead of time and limit the travel and social exposure, it would be better.
4. I enjoyed them for what they were. I’m a huge fan of The Undertaker and have been since his debut. I was 3.5 and scared to death of him, but I’ve been a fan for nearly 30 years. This format could allow him to continue on for a while longer without tarnishing his legacy or risking injury. I think they could continue with this as a special attraction, but it shouldn’t be done regularly.
5. Down. Nothing feels “must-see” anymore. WrestleMania was enjoyable, but not special. The lack of fans in attendance is hurting the product and my enjoyment, but I am still watching.
1. I don’t mind the no fans. As a selfish viewer, I’d rather have a show with no fans, than no show. I think AEW has handled it better by putting peeps around the ring. MJF and Spears placing bets was great.
2. Again the selfish viewer in me who wants to keep watching is happy that both companies have continued. It is a welcome distraction from COVID.
3. That’s a hard one because they’ve been deemed essential probably due to some quality bribing so of they’re allowed, yes they should, but make it safe and use common sense. Don’t risk flying 70-year-old Lawler to the show only to make casual racism jokes ?♂️.
4. I loved the cinematic matches, ranked 1. Boneyard 2. Ciampa/Gargano 3. Funhouse. I do want to see more, maybe two a year wouldn’t be overkill. I would prefer it as a network exclusive or maybe to bookend shows, I don’t want the crowd to have to sit through it if they don’t want to. Feel like it would kill a crowd if done halfway through a long show. If it was a network exclusive they could promote it for right after the show. And play it in the arena for those that stick around.
5. My interest levels are the same. I’m still watching all the shows, usually not live as I’m in NZ and it’s on at midday over here plus it means I get to fast forward which makes the 9 hours of content over the week easier to digest. My interest will go through the roof when crowds return. I’m looking forward to who the crowd goes hot and cold for. Will the crowd still be hot for the Hangman (I reckon yes) even though he hasn’t been around. Will the crowd have been impressed with the resurgence of Apollo Crews? The new alliance of Bryan and Gulak? So yes, I’m super interested in who the crowd will decide is over and who isn’t.
1. I know it’s a touchy subject but AEW even having like the 10 people in the crowd has made a world of difference. It makes it feel as close to normal as possible and I’ve enjoyed watching their product. The silence in WWE has made it hard to watch.
2. I am happy they’ve continued. It’s been a nice relief from everything else.
3. It’s not my place to tell them what they should and shouldn’t be doing. I just have to trust that the performers know what they’re doing and are ok with it.
4. Absolutely. It would make it better for fans too if you can cut down some of these 4 and 5 hour tapings for tv shows. I remember going to the Raw that had Ultimate Deletion. I got to leave at 9:30 instead of like 10:15. Big difference.
5. It’s the same for everything except NXT. NXT is down because they thrive on crowd participation and are sorely missing it right now.
1) Not really. I’m so distracted by them talking and the lack of noise is weird. I didn’t mind one or 2, but not so much now.
2) Yes and no. I kinda feel like its reckless even though all precautions are taken. But it gives us something else to do besides wallow in self-pity.
3) Honestly no. I love wrestling but if it shut down for a bit I would understand.
4) They will. After all, they make movies according to Vince LOL. I think they’re okay if used very, very rarely. I don’t wanna see them become common like Hell in a Cell.
5) I think it’s up since I have nothing better to do lol. I’m still mad at WWE for firing people, though. But I am PUMPED for how good the indy scene will be in my area soon. That’s assuming this all blows over.
That’s where we’ll wrap it up with over 7,000 words of content here. Thanks to everybody that participated and if you want to join in the discussion, use the comment section below. Thanks for reading.