During this time of uncertainty and hysteria stemming from the Coronavirus pandemic, now more than ever it's nice to have pro wrestling as an escape. There has been a lot of debate whether companies like WWE and AEW should be running shows with quarantines and shelter-in-place orders popping up across the world. Regardless of your opinion on the matter,, those crew members, wrestlers and announcers stepping up during this unprecedented time has been incredible to see.
They've all given their all for our entertainment, which for those who might be scared and at home can mean a lot. Some sense of normalcy and routine is appreciated by many. It's clear each company has learned from the week before in regard to show layout and presentation. There is something to be said for this type of ingenuity.
It wasn't long ago where travelers were excited to finalize preparations for WrestleMania week. I had even been preparing to participate in the WrestleMania 5K. It's sad the normal festivities won't be taking place, but we understand this decision had to be made. Though the sting remains for not only the fans but performers who were heading to Tampa for shows even outside the proverbial WWE Universe.
The independent workers who depend on these events each year for crucial income. Kudos to those who have used their platform, and in many cases, financially donated to help their peers. For example, Rusev is pledging $20,000 to help WWE employees, most who we don't see, get through.This community really comes together during the hard times, and it's nice to see. Make sure to support your favorites by buying a shirt on Pro Wrestling Tees or other merchandise they might be selling online. That goes a long way.
Speaking of shirts, good on Cody Rhodes and Chris Jericho for having a shirt on sale with all of the proceeds benefiting organizations like the World Health Organization and the United Way. It'd be nice if WWE added a fundraising component to WrestleMania. Maybe donate proceeds from those clever "I Wasn't There" shirts on WWE Shop or even add a component to their "Show of Shows." An event that has reportedly been filmed over a couple of days at the Performance Center. Man, did that venue turn into great investment beyond just functioning as a venue for the developmental system.
If you're getting bored at home, WWE has also been kind enough to give non-subscribers access to much of the content on WWE Network. Their library is truly an embarrassment of riches for viewers young and old. Now is the perfect time to reminisce or learn more about pro wrestling's history. In other good news, the Special Olympics has partnered with WWE to produce a fitness series featuring Becky Lynch and six Olympic athletes. The School of Strength program gives those at home the opportunity to work out and remain active during this period of closures and cancellations due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Not long ago I got a chance to speak with Christy Hemme, Gail Kim and Amy Dumas regarding their KAYfABE series they are looking to produce. These three are clearly passionate and dedicated to bring the audience something unique to the marketplace by combining elements of cinematic drama with pro wrestling. I applaud their entrepreneurism. Help them out if you can by donating to their Kickstarter campaign.
Finally, I wanted to highly recommend the season two premiere of Dark Side of the Ring, which delves into the Benoit family tragedy. This might be hard to watch for some, but I do find it an important watch, even for those familiar with the career of Chris Benoit and the double-murder suicide that also led to the killing of his wife Nancy and son Daniel. One of the big takeaways is how much this horrific situation continues to affect other family members like his son Chris' son Daniel, who lives every day haunted by everything that went on. It took so much courage for him and Nancy's sister Sandra to open up old wounds. Hopefully, by coming together they find comfort in each other and enough closure to find a little more happiness in their lives. From speaking with director Evan Husney, the crew put a lot of thought and care into this series. Looking forward to seeing the rest of the new episodes on VICE TV.
We are all going through a hard time one way or another right now. Let's be mindful of other people, lend support to those most vulnerable and try not to be so damn negative on social media. Appreciate the little things, use this time to reflect how you treat another person, and don't take your loved ones for granted. Each one of us is in this together.
Thanks for reading this first column. Let me know what you think of it by tweeting me @smFISHMAN or in the comments below.