WWE hasn’t stopped their broadcast of RAW, SmackDown, or NXT, neither have they given up on their PPVs, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The company moved their shows to the Performance Center and started producing empty-arena shows in the wake of the pandemic.
WWE was deemed “essential business” in the state of Florida last month, along with other sporting events, which gave them the liberty to return live shows. However, the ratings have tanked consistently since the empty-arena shows started, and it seems like no one in WWE is a big fan of this format.
Recently released star Heath Slater was interviewed by Wrestling Inc, and he revealed that the empty-arena shows are hated by everyone, as the crowd helped the stars to perform much better.
“I hate it. Everyone hates it because the people is what makes it. My goodness! When I was a heel, the best thing was when I would have a dude in a hold and I would hear something. Someone would say, ‘Oh, you suck’ and I’d be like, ‘Oh, you shut your mouth!’ I’d just go off on them and that’s the best feeling in the world.”
“But if there’s no one there and I’m going, ‘Shut your mouth’ then they’re gonna be like what’s he talking about? Is he okay?”
The empty-arena situation has given rise to cinematic matches in WWE, which has won the fans over. However, the rest of the programming continues to feel extremely bland and this will most likely continue for a few more months.
WWE’s rival promotion, AEW, also turned to the same format, but they have used members of the roster in the crowd, which has been slightly better than having no fans at all.
Another recently released star, Taynara Conti, revealed that WWE has banned the usage of the word ‘crazy’ on broadcast. WWE is notorious for banning several normal words on television, and this one doesn’t come as a major surprise.
WWE has also banned words like ‘belts’, ‘title shot’, ‘hospital’, etc. from their programming.