By Scott Jarvie
Whether it’s the high ride of US wrestling of the WWE or AEW, or the growing talent of UK based wrestling we know one thing for sure the world of wrestling has come to a halt. Not only the world of wrestling but working, economics, politics, other sporting gatherings or natural living everything has sadly come to a stop for the moment. We have to ask ourselves how to do me move on from this. COVID-19 has certainly taken its effects on the world due to health hazards and new government laws coming into play, but as a wrestling and sports fan how do we move on from this once we are back to normality or if we go back to normality.
Does the norm become something new we have to live with? In this small article I want to open up and understand how we adapt and carry on from where we left off.
Wrestling, for me, is something I enjoy as a fan. All aspects of wrestling, the characterisation, the story telling, the art in the ring, and believing in something that’s fictional. It’s a place to relive my childhood but also enjoy the new adaptation of current and new stars. The way it has been handled though, and the knock on effect it has had, is very drastic and that’s not surprising. For WWE wrestler Drew McIntyre his big moment was sadly ruined. Working so hard to get back to the place he deserved and worked so hard for, to win the Royal Rumble, running through everyone in his way including the beast Brock Lesnar and getting his chance at the grandest stage of them all to have it taken away by the biggest heel in wrestling at the moment Coronavirus. WWE have recently prevented audience turning up at shows for Raw, Smackdown, NXT and 205 Live etc. the HOF was cancelled and WrestleMania, for me, shouldn’t have went ahead. The loss of fans that makes it so special was clear to be the case, using the Performance Center as the platform as the grandest stage of them all was not a good idea from the stage to the matches the spectacle was gone.
WWE have always been a company that the ‘show must go on’ is engraved in their philosophy, and trying to adapt by taking the correct precautions is great but for WrestleMania it should have been postponed. Another example is how AEW are handling it, similar to WWE, no fans which takes the atmosphere away but a knock on effect is wrestlers characterisations such as Adam ‘Hangman’ Page. His essence will be lost after this as the beer drinking bad ass will not be sharing cups of beer with the hardcore fan base that alone brought the crowd and wrestler connection into play.
To move on for the moment; for the fans, because they can’t be see, or enjoy, wrestling unless it is behind our computer screens watching old videos, taking in podcasts and radio interviews, as well as watching the WWE Network, YouTube or other videos. Touching on the virus taking over the world, this pandemic has made us think twice about things making contact with people and objects, who we talk to and how far you stand next to people and breathing in general having to wear masks to protect our well-being. These are near enough the fundamentals to wrestling and attending shows. So my question is how to we move on and get ready for our future in attending wrestling shows or if you are a performer how do you go about wrestling?
Personal hygiene, for many people, is important. Washing and looking after yourself is so important but yet we will doubt others if we are around them now, could you imagine standing in an arena where it’s jam packed full of people ready for a show but you can’t enjoy because you think the person next to you could be a harm to yourself. Aside from two athletes who are the main attraction, they could be thinking this to themselves and start to doubt others if they are looking after their health and well-being but also concentrating on what’s happening in the match and storytelling this could leads to series problems in the ring such as harming one another, a lack of concentration that leads to injuries and possibly fatalities. Also is the arena hosts and staff taking the correct precautions making sure hot water is running through out the arena and soap on dispense as well as hand sanitiser placed around each corridor or hallway? There are many more reasons to add but I don’t want to waste to much time on this.
Unfortunately, I think this will cause a downfall, with smaller independent companies trying to stay a float, there is currently no revenue to support these organisations, the ticket gate is as dry as the pump for the beers at the moment. There are many more weeks, months and, I dare say, maybe years until livelihoods are up and running and we can get back to some what a relaxation to an extent and can enjoy this again.
The future itself no one knows, but personally I think the following could be introduced just to start with to get back on our feet in wrestling. For the consumer and fans, don’t get recklessly drunk at events and think twice about your decision especially with hygiene involved in crowded placed. Carry a sanitiser so you don’t have to rely on others and offer to people if they need it. Unfortunately for indie shows you will maybe have to attend wearing a mask if you feel unsafe and stand a meter or so apart, this last point brings me on to the wrestling companies practices they can bring in. Bring down ticketing prices for the moment to attract fans back, yes it’s not great but low income is better than no income, reduce the number of tickets to space out fans for hygiene purposes.
These are just personal proposals for when the government lifts bans and try get back into the swing of it. Another course of action is that we maintain empty arena or functions whatever we do but what knock on effect does this have? Do we go to a more of an online stream, do we have get clearance and show proof we don’t have the virus to access buildings where doe this start and stop?
The wrestlers themselves, I assume once in play, like other members of the public will go through testing for the virus and take extra care who they ‘rub elbow with’ in and out the ring.
Overall the message is clear I was just trying to see what the future may hold when we surpass this horrible time and how as a community and a global nation come back from this and we defend ourselves next time to something similar.
If anyone who has any opinion or views…