Rey Mysterio recently opened up about wrestling in front of no crowd, detailing the difficulties faced in adapting to the new format in place – saying “now it’s our turn” to get fans back in the building.
Mysterio, a seasoned veteran with over 30 years’ experience in professional wrestling, spoke of the struggles he has faced without a crowd. In a recent interview with Complex, the WWE legend described what it has been like performing behind closed doors, admitting that the change has been a challenge to adapt to.
“It’s been really crazy and very hard at the beginning, trying to adapt, trying to step into a ring when there’s no fans around. Now we have the bubble or [Thunder] dome, which at least we can see the fans and they can see us and you kind of play off of [the] monitors.
I want to say I might have been the first match on Raw during the pandemic that was the first match televised. I believe we kind of kicked off the show for Raw that day and the first match on the card was me and Andrade, so it just felt very weird. Very awkward. It felt like you were auditioning for a part in a wrestling movie, you know”
WWE made the decision to close their doors to the public back in March 2020, as the Coronavirus pandemic swept the world. Initially filming weekly shows and pay-per-views at the Performance Centre in Orlando, the company eventually moved to the self-proclaimed Thunder Dome. The latter allows fans to appear virtually through LED screens in place of a live audience.
Mysterio, who recently re-signed with WWE, has appeared in front of audiences all over the world. From his beginnings in Mexico, to appearing in ECW, WCW and beyond, the masked Superstar has cemented his legacy as a must-see performer for any fan.
As the NFL and Major League Baseball begin to welcome audiences back into arenas and stadiums, Rey believes WWE should follow suit, sooner rather than later:
“Overall, we’ve managed to get through it. As time has gone by, nine months later, we create this connection between us the Superstars and the fans. I think if this is the future for the next, I don’t know, year, year and a half because we have to say “No, this is gonna get better, things are gonna get better.” Now we have a vaccine. When are we going to start having fans inside the arenas? NFL is doing it, Major League Baseball was doing it, so I think now, it’s our turn, because me, personally, I feed off the energy from the fans.”
WWE are planning to host a limited number of spectators at WrestleMania, in April. There are currently no other shows confirmed to take place in front of a live audience.