Eric Bischoff has opened up about crowds returning to wrestling following the pandemic era that saw most televised shows air without fans in attendance.
March 2020 was the last time WWE had fans in attendance for a live show as the world shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then they have made the WWE ThunderDome their home, with fans appearing on TV screens throughout the arena in lieu of a live audience.
AEW also ran many shows for months without fans in attendance and only fellow wrestlers around to give any sort of reaction. They have allowed fans back into their home at Daily’s Place in limited numbers. That is about to change come Double Or Nothing at the end of May when they will look to pack out their outdoor arena.
Former WCW President Eric Bischoff was speaking on Foundation Radio with Adam Barnard when the subject of crowds came up. For Bischoff, they can’t come back quick enough.
Eric Bischoff explained:
“I miss it so much. Whether it’s the Kentucky Derby, it’s on, this is something that’s like maybe I’ll watch it, I’m not a big horseracing fan. I’m going to watch about anything that has a crowd. I almost don’t care what it is. I just need that fix. Like all of us, you watch basketball, you’re watching the game, but it’s not the same. You watch professional wrestling, it’s good, but it’s not the same. you’re missing it, I’m missing it a lot.”
“It’s interesting, it’s an interesting period of time to be going through that I think is illustrated in its own way, something that I’ve been saying for years and years, especially on my podcast and interviews. I was told that Elvis Presley once said that the most important part of any of his shows is the audience. Without the audience… ehh.”
Bischoff then elaborated on his point by using the example of a dream match being held in front of no fans:
“I’ve used this analogy long before coronavirus…I’ve always talked about how important the crowd is. I used this analogy once, what’s your favorite fantasy match of all time? Whatever that may be, doesn’t matter. Let’s say Sting and Undertaker when they were both in their prime, right? What if that match happened but it happened in front of no crowd? It would suck. People wouldn’t care, and no matter how great the match was, no matter how hard everybody worked, no matter how creative it was, you wouldn’t remember it, because it didn’t create any emotion, and that’s the thing about wrestling in particular. Without that crowd, to help convey that energy and emotion so that the viewer at home can actually feel it or live it vicariously through that little box that they’re watching – without that element of the product, it’s amazingly difficult.”
“For me to be able to walk out there, and I was only out there for a minute, a minute and a half, waving to the crowd, you know, trying to be cute, trying to be funny, but really being very humbled, but just to be able to be out there for a minute, minute and a half was like ‘WHOA, I remember that feeling.’ It was really cool.”
Eric Bischoff has also recently discussed his favourite pay-per-view moment from his time in charge of WCW. Suffice to say there was certainly a raucous crowd in attendance to see Bischoff’s can’t miss moment.