As previously noted, WWE Superstar Big Show was recently a guest on The New Day: Feel The Power. Among many other things, Big Show weighed in on how WWE performers are benefiting from the COVID-19 health and safety protocols currently being employed. In his opinion, working without crowds is helping young talent become better workers.
"The way the TV [tapings] are constructed now without an audience, you're going to find that a lot of guys come out of this a lot better workers because they don't have that audience crutch to play off of, to do a move, look at the crowd, do a move, look at the crowd. Like, now you have to stay involved, stay involved with your opponent, to tell stories. You have to tell the story up here that makes sense because you're the only one in it."
Big Show continued, "the good thing that'll come out of it for our business, I think you'll see a lot of younger talent, they're going to learn to be better workers because if you look at the guys that were great in the 80s, the Dusty [Rhodes]s, Arn, [Ric] Flair, each of those big names worked big events in big arenas, but what people are forgetting is they worked local TV shows where there might only be 14 people in the studio audience, so they had to do that storytelling in the ring because they were working for the thousands upon thousands at home watching, but it made there craft, I think, sharper because they didn't have that crutch of a crowd. Now when they got that crowd, they knew what to do with it because they felt it. So that's just my opinion on now because I'd see a lot of deer in headlight looks without having a crowd. Now you're seeing guys getting really comfortable with it, and the gals too are very comfortable with it. Their characters look sharper because their characters have to be sharper. Their execution has to be sharper. You can't get away with a lot because you are literally exposed. It's like a tryout without a crowd."
According to Big Show, young WWE Superstars need to stop worrying about choreographing every moment of their matches and concern themselves more with developing and understanding their characters.
"When I work with some of the younger guys, they try to plan every move - every A, B, C, D, E, F, G - in the back," Big Show said. "Like, have an idea of what you want to do, but be open to who you are and be open to who you're working. That's one of the things I'd like to see going a little bit forward with these guys and I think this no [fans] TV that we have now, this no audience thing, is going to help a lot of guys because they can't wait to have fun. They know the matches when we get the crowds back, I think, are going to be off the chain because guys will have [been] starved for that interaction. I think the fans are going to get a better performer because the guys will have put in their dues and gone through the work to get there. I think it's just going to be better all the way around."
"It was rough because our business was different then," Big Show admitted. "It wasn't hold your hand to get you through stuff. If you can't keep up, you get cut out, period. So it took a lot for me to, basically, in a sense, I had to go and pay my dues after I already got in, after I had already been a champion, go through the rigamarole of what the [pro wrestling] business is about and why we're really here. Because at first, it was a lot of fun. I was wrestling all these guys I grew up watching, I was making good money, I had a head full of hair. I mean, life's great!"
Although Big Show did not appreciate The Undertaker's advice early on in his WWE run, the two-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion has since found himself giving the same advice to young WWE talents.
"I've had a few discussions with this [wags finger]," Big Show stated. "If you've been around, you know who finger this is, The Undertaker's. It's funny. I sat through many an ass chewing from him that, at the time, I was like, 'God, why is this guy just picking on me? Jesus Christ, every time I do something, this guy's on my [expletive]!' But, do you know what? Now that I'm older, I get it.
"It's funny, some of the same talks I got I've given to other people almost verbatim for our business to help them. You take what you've learned, you take what you've experienced, and you try to pass it on to the new ones coming up. Try to keep some of the good parts of our business, the brotherhood, and the family, and the being on the road away from home. We are a family."
Check out the podcast here or via the embedded player below. If you use any of the quotations that appear in this article, please credit The New Day: Feel The Power with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.