WWE held the first-ever WrestleMania with no crowd this past weekend over two nights.
Before the event, former WWE Champion CM Punk spoke to The No-Sports Report about WWE still going ahead with the show. Punk discussed how odd it is that pro wrestling is still running, noting that wrestling is so hard to watch without a crowd.
“I would be able to watch hockey or UFC or Bellator, any kind of mixed martial arts fight when there’s no people in the crowd because it’s a sport,” Punk said. “With pro wrestling, I find it completely impossible to watch with no crowd. The audience is the 100% – and this is more evident than ever now – driving force behind what wrestlers do in the ring. When I wrestled, that was my boss.”
Punk discussed the ability that fans have to dictate a match. He noted how watered down the product is without the fans in attendance.
“A lot of people have their favorite wrestlers and debate who’s on the Mount Rushmore or greatest of all time but the thing that separates the greatest wrestlers from the okay guys is that when there in the ring, they’re the bosses, they’re in charge, but the truth to that is, the audience is in charge,” Punk said. “The audience boos and cheers who they want, they tell you if they like the moves, if they are emotionally invested in the match that tells you where to take it. You can manipulate them but they can also manipulate the match.
“Without all of that, I don’t know what we’re doing. It lends credence, in my opinion, to everyone who argues that wrestling is just a stage fight, it’s a stimulation, its predetermined acrobatics. Without the audience, without the emotion and the adrenaline, that’s what I feel like I’m watching, I feel like I’m watching a video game.”
WWE will air the post-WrestleMania episode of RAW tonight from the Performance Center with no fans in attendance.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The No-Sports Report with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.