Former multiple time WWE and World Heavyweight Champion John Cena praises the WWE and their current roster for their handling the transition to performing in empty arenas.
Cena told Sports Illustrated this week that likes of Seth Rollins and Bray Watt have adjusted well to the new working conditions, and states that the most important superstars are the audience, and that there is no better indication of this then right now.
For the first time since its inception WWE’s flagship event Wrestlemania was held with no live audience. The event was scheduled to take place on April 5th at the James Raymond Stadium in Tampa, but was switched to a pre-recorded two-night event at WWE’s Performance Center in nearby Orlando.
Two of the regular one-on-one matches between Cena and “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt, and AJ Styles against The Undertaker were heavily promoted on WWE TV prior to the pandemic. However, as creative alternatives to traditional wrestling matches, The Boneyard and Firefly Fun House matches were presented in cinematic form for the event, and received a largely positive response from fans and critics.
Cena who has been away from WWE programming since Wrestlemania has been paying close attention to WWE’s current weekly TV offerings.
“I firmly believe that not only will it survive, it will thrive, but it has to, as an entirety, embrace this process,” said Cena. “I believe they’re beginning to do that. The longer they go without an audience, they need to transform as an entirety what sports entertainment is. I think they’re in this weird sort of middle ground, where they don’t know when crowds will be let back in. If you truly commit to a paradigm shift, that may scare away the normalcy the viewers are used to seeing. So you kind of have to operate like there is an audience, but there isn’t an audience.
“It’s a very weird time. I don’t think they’ve committed to transition yet, and that’s absolutely justifiable because, eventually, people will be let back into turnstiles. It’s very complicated. There isn’t a clear-cut answer to be like, ‘Just do this and it will be better.’”