WWE color-commentator Corey Graves spoke about the positive and negative aspects of the WWE pre-taping shows without fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic on the most recent episode of his After The Bell podcast. The former NXT tag champion believes that promo work has greatly improved because wrestlers are able to delve deep into their character's psyche without the influence of the fans.
I will start with the positive that being promos have been incredible. Hearing the superstars able to get through these promos and tell their stories and really delve in their characters has been really refreshing, and It's nice. Having spoken in front of a live arena full of people, it can throw you off, and it's nice to really see these guys like a Seth Rollins, Randy Orton or Edge really just able to dive in and tell a story from their character's perspective without any sort of outside influence, without fans chanting 'what' or booing too long or cheering too long. And I just really like the dynamic it's provided for a particular aspect of the show.
Graves does acknowledge that wrestling shows as a whole are not the same without the WWE Universe, a piece that he admits is making the shows drag a bit.
That said, if nothing else has been proven during this whole wild time in our world, it is that, in fact, the WWE Universe, you fans, are the biggest part of our shows in my opinion. Obviously, all the superstars are all working out very very hard to give everybody the best possible RAW or Smackdown experience as a viewer from home, but man, you take away that element of having a live, rocking crowd, it just doesn't feel right. Obviously, in time, everything will be remedied and back to normal.
Later...Graves says that he was able to rewatch WrestleMania 30 when it aired on ESPN over the weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it. When it originally took place back in 2014, Graves had recently just suffered an injury that would end his in-ring career, and he was in a different head space at the time.
I got to sit down and watch WrestleMania 30 all over again. I was there as a fan in a different head-space. It was actually two nights after the injury that would end my in-ring career but just sitting in my home watching the energy when Daniel Bryan beat Triple H and watching the Superdome practically explode, everybody was just on their feet, man it brought a whole new dimension and reminded me what is so wonderful and so awesome about sports entertainment and WWE and WrestleMania.
Check out the full episode of After The Bell below. (H/T and transcribed by Wrestling Inc.)