The phrase ‘going cold turkey’ usually involves dropping a habit or lifestyle choice completely, with no easing-off or crutches. ‘Going cold turkey’ from wrestling during a pandemic, however, was nothing like those unwanted habits that, after a few harsh withdrawals, you ultimately find yourself better off without.
Whether you were involved in the industry, attended shows or watched from home, you were affected. Whilst there were much more important things to be concerned about, many struggled to keep their interest in wrestling in such a strange environment.
Through all this I’ve been extremely fortunate to still have some involvement – not least helping with this website which has meant me keeping abreast of what’s going on in the wrestling industry throughout the time, and also notably what hasn’t been happening.
For companies to keep producing content has given a lot of people something to latch on to, but it has been the lack of a live crowd that has often been the most notable part. That’s not to discredit the likes of the ThunderDome from WWE and AEW having wrestlers at ringside for many months – great for innovation, but of course it just wasn’t the same.
Many were able to film shows but with no crowd in attendance. At times this could certainly feel eerie both from a fans perspective and from inside the squared circle. There’s just certain moments of expectation where you can guess what’s coming, and for there to be zero reaction means it takes far more personal motivation to perform at the highest level.
With the light at the end of the tunnel, everyone is soon going to get their first ‘moment’. They may have already had it with being at or watching WrestleMania or Dynamite. They may be preparing for it with SummerSlam, and being part of a group at one of our parties. But for me, that moment was only going to come at a live event.
This past weekend, Revolution Pro Wrestling presented their first show back in front of a crowd, and I was extremely fortunate to be part of it. Yes, social distancing was still in place and there has to be an emphasis on the rules for a little while longer, but you could tell before the show that something was bubbling and the feeling was going to be special.
My wrestling-is-back moment came when the referee (should I be talking first or third person here? Who cares!) called for the bell. There was the familiar triple ding, and the crowd cheered. That simple moment, that realisation that the ‘proper’ wrestling experience was back, live and in person just couldn’t be matched.
I hadn’t thought about that moment until it happened, but it’s one where you take a deep breath and know how special it was.
This isn’t a rallying cry to attend your local events once it’s safe to do it – although it’s something I’d certainly encourage. It’s a piece for those that still haven’t had that moment yet.
Wait. Just wait. The feeling you will get when that moment happens whether you’re prepared for it not will stay with you. It could come in any form, but it will happen and when it does you’ll know. Wrestling is back, getting stronger by the day, and will create a special moment you will relive for a very long time.