Welcome to Slammer Jabber, a column that is normally a look at all the big news and events in the world of professional wrestling. Yet this week, there's a whole lot of nothing to discuss.
This week has been...weird. I don’t need to tell you that things have been strange with Coronavirus dominating everything. Sports, concerts, gatherings and pretty much everything else has been decimated by the safety measures being put in place and rightly so. Wrestling has been no exception and as a result, we have a situation where, in many ways, there isn’t much to discuss.
Perhaps the biggest thing is Wrestlemania being “cancelled” as far as the stadium-spectacular we have come to expect, and being moved to the WWE Performance centre in front of zero fans. Now, it seems odd that WWE didn’t just postpone the show, and of course this will not feel like a huge Mania-level event. That said, while WWE arguably should have just taken the hit and pushed the show back if they were going to still put on the show and keep things business as usual this seems like the way to go. The announcement that the show will take place over two nights should avid it being an unwatchable seven-hour marathon, and hopefully lends itself better to the venue. There have also been rumours that it will be a multi-site event with matches broadcast from various closed sets, but whether there is any truth to that remains to be seen. It is even possible that the event will be taped in advance with WWE rumoured to be taping a variety of shows in one go in order to minimise group interactions. It’s a weird time.
In terms of TV, Smackdown and Raw have been broadcasting from the Performance Centre with no fans, to mixed reactions. There have been minimal happenings of note, with repeats of matches from the recent past and in-ring non-wrestling segments dominating proceedings. The empty arena feels odd, and although you adjust to it and I understand that WWE is limited to what they can do, it’s really quite jarring. NXT was even odder, with video packages and no actual wrestling, but again it makes sense in the circumstances.
For AEW, they went in a different direction using an arena that was operated by their owner, Tony Khan and having a much livelier empty arena event. The show was perhaps a little match heavy for an event with no audience, but I believe they did everything in their power to make the best of a bad situation. I feel for Matt Hardy and Brodie Lee, who debuted on this show and could and should have garnered huge reactions from the audience, especially for Lee (AKA Luke Harper) as the spearhead for The Dark Order. With the other members of the roster in the audience, this had a less polished, more organic feel. At points, it felt like the wrestlers were just having fun, which certainly made the whole thing less tense although I would argue that having so many wrestlers in one place was a bit of a risky endeavour.
Of course, it’s not just the big companies that have been affected by the outbreak of Covid-19. Ring of Honor and NWA have shut down all of their live events going forward. Countless indie companies have been forced to take major losses on their huge Mania weekend plans and it has wreaked havoc on plans for fans, promoters, wrestlers and pretty much everyone involved. To put it mildly, Coronavirus has been pretty shit as far as wrestling goes, and who knows how long this is likely to on for.
That is it from me for this week. I will be back at the same time next week with a look at whatever is happening in professional wrestling if there's anything to report. If not we'll certainly bring you something to keep you entertained during your likely self-isolation. Until then, keep it locked here at Screenjabber for all the best movie, Blu-ray, DVD and video game reviews, as well as all the latest news, podcasts and more. Until next time, so long folks.
Images courtesy of WWE/AEW