It seems like a million years ago. It really doesn, a lot changes in one year. We were all still terrified of what the COVID-19 pandemic could bring. Sports leagues were shutting down left and right. NBA, MLB, NHL, all the major Soccer leagues, all shut down. Except WWE. Because of that old school, I’ll use the word, “carny” mentality, the show must go on. Even through a deadly pandemic that we knew much, much less about at that point. Everyone at Titan Towers and WWE decided the best course of action would be to move forward through it.
Whether that’s the right or wrong decision, is up to you. For me, I know it was some sort of solace through those early days of the pandemic. It was cold and rainy in Southern California (I know, right?), WWE and frankly AEW (that anniversary is coming up this next week), gave us all something to watch, that was live. It wasn’t reruns of NBA Hardwood Classics (although those got me through as well). Now it seems like both major companies have perfected the art of the “pandemic era” show.
For a time there, all we had was this. In a time of darkness, a time of uncertainty, no matter what you think of WWE, they tried to give us something to look forward to. This moment was so impactful, that it made the top spot of my Top 10 Wrestling Moments of 2020 list. Triple H puts it better than I do.
It Might Not Have The Impact For You, But It Meant The World To A Lot Of People
That first “pandemic” show was a weird one. What is wrestling without fans? It turns out, not a lot. It took a huge amount of change, and some piped in crowd noise to make up the difference. For some promotions, they have fans back in smaller numbers, but it’s still not the same.
But this is really about that first pandemic show.
Who else but Sasha Banks and Bayley to kick off the show? If there’s someone who can give a good match despite titanic circumstances, it’s Sasha Banks. WWE was running a skeleton crew, so Triple H was producing, announcing, and “operating the camera”.
John Cena was on the show. We had Roman Reigns vs. Goldberg being built up. (Which still hasn’t happened, and I pray it never does).
To be honest, the card doesn’t really matter. It was a good Smackdown card, building to a Wrestlemania that would run under the same circumstances. I still haven’t rewatched that Mania all the way through. It brings up too many of those uncertain and bewildering feelings that this show had attached to it.
WWE Set Out To Entertain, And You Can’t Fault Them For Trying
What this show ends up being about, is not the content. It was about the feeling of giving people something to look forward to. You might not agree with me, that it was reckless for WWE to continue operations through those early stages of the pandemic. But this show was integral and so was the upcoming anniversary for AEW’s first pandemic show. In a time when the light of entertainment shut off. Sports went dark. Wrestling stepped in for a small time, and gave everyone something to forget about the horrors outside.
Isn’t that what it’s really all about? Entertaining people?
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