Tea Time with Liam: Crowd Magic
This is my first official column on PWMania. I’d like to say a big thank you to the team for allowing me to write for this site. I do hope you enjoy my ramblings.
Today. I want to talk about the audience. I don’t mean the viewers at home. I’m talking about the people live in the arena watching Raw, Smackdown and pay per views. I want to discuss the role fans play in the arena play during a show. It’s no argument that when you get a pumped up crowd, who are loud and up for it, the whole show does have some kind of better feel to it. As a fan watching at home. When I witness a really hot crowd, it does come through the television and I find that I to enjoy the show a whole lot more. On the flip side of things. When we have dead crowds, which does indeed happen, they just seem generally disinterested in what is happening which leaves the show feeling slightly flat. As a viewer, when I see a dead crowd. I don’t get into to the show as much as I could. It could actually be a decent show but it’s almost as if the crowd has sucked out the life of the show.
What I’m going to try and do today is use some examples of how a live crowd can influence a show. How a hot crowd can make a standard decent wrestling match seem better than it actually was or a dead crowd making a match seem somewhat forgettable. It’s actually quite a unique power that the crowd has. I’m not a pro wrestler so I can’t say this for fact but if you were a pro wrestler and you were walking down the ramp or actually competing and the crowd was dead. Wouldn’t that be a little of putting? Would they not wonder what was happening. On the other hand, imagine walking down that ramp and the crowd going completely crazy. Chanting you or booing you, that isn’t important. The main thing is that the crowd is hot for you. It must be so much better for a wrestler to perform in that environment. They can feed of the crowd. You hear stories from many wrestlers who say that they feed if the energy from the crowd. If I remember correctly I remember Edge stating in an interview that stepping out of the curtain in front of thousands of people is the greatest adrenaline rush ever.
I actually want to mention WrestleMania for a moment. I wont dwell on it for too long as your all probably sick of hearing about it by now. But The Rock and John Cena was a match which has divided the opinion of many fans. The crowd were insane during the match. Not even just for that match. The Miami crowd was great through both WrestleMania and Raw. In my honest opinion. The fans made The Rock versus John Cena that extra bit special to me. The crowd added to the match, it contributed to the story that was being presented. What made it so good was how simple it was. We had the home town favourite back on the big stage against the man who took his spot and the face of the WWE. We had pockets of Cena fans around the arena which just added to the atmosphere. It brought out the duelling chants which we’re now used to hearing in just about every Cena match. It just gave that match that little something extra which makes it different from other matches on the card. When I watch at home. I want to see the intensity from the crowd. I want to feel like I’m in the arena. Hot crowds help a lot.
We all know, especially in the present days. The wresting is a whole lot more open. Fans are able to gain a far more better insight into things. With the advancement of the internet. Fans now are a lot more knowledgeable and are able to check out news sites to check out breaking news. There’s no argument that internet fans know much more about what’s going to happen compared to the average fan watching.. A few weeks ago, when Brock Lesnar returned. The whole arena pretty much knew that he was about to appear. You could argue that it was a bad thing that the fans were doing this. I disagree with that. Like I said earlier, the Miami crowd was awesome, and yes they were chanting “we want Lesnar.” but when he appeared, that was still one of the loudest crowd reactions I can remember. Now you could argue, that had the crowd not known about Lesnar’s return, Would the pop of been bigger. It probably would but that is just one of those things that you expect being a wrestling fan. Not many things are kept one hundred percent secret.
I want to go back to one of the things that I mentioned in the very first column that I ever wrote. The basis of wrestling is to get the fans to emotionally invest in whatever goes on in the ring and what is said during promos. If the fans aren’t able to invest, then the chances are that they wont enjoy the show. It would be a very quiet crowd with very little interaction. With matches like Rock/Cena and HHH/Undertaker, the WWE got things right They had the factor of emotional investment which just added to the drama of those matches/ Although the matches are always the focal point of the show. It’s almost like the audience is a co star of the match. This strange atmosphere and tension is created which just adds to the drama of the match. It just gives me a “I wish I was there live” feeling.
The audience is such a vital part of any wrestling show. Can you imagine watching a show where the crowd was silent from beginning to end. Would that be a successful show? Would it be a terrible show? To me, it would so freaky. How eerie would Raw be tomorrow night if the crowd did nothing? When match is taking place, the crowd would just sit on their arse. During a promo, they would do nothing. It seems to me that certain crowds are hotter than others. Places like Chicago, New York and Philadelphia to name a few. My memories of these crowds are amazing. Areas which are so passionate about their wrestling. I’ve mentioned Miami already who were hot for almost everything.
Shoot back to Raw two weeks ago. Aired live from Washington DC when “the three stooges” hosted Raw. That crowd was terrible. Was it the crowds faults there were bad. Maybe not. Was it the fact that WWE had three idiots who it was obvious knew nothing at all about WWE. (I hope that movie tanks by the way) Can you blame the fans for being so quiet due to the things that they had to endure on that show? Is it a question of the fans not been interested or is it a question regarding the material they have to watch? That’s a question you have to answer. We get hot crowds and they get a lot of praise for making the sure memorable by being loud and awesome. The reason the crowd wad good was because they had a good show to watch. Can you blame the crowd for being quiet if the show was bad? It is WWE’s fault for not making the show better? The fans pay their hard earned money to see a good show. They didn’t pay to see crappy sketches staring idiots that nobody would miss if they weren’t on the show. It’s strange that one week WWE can be in a state where the crowd is just so intense and passionate , then the week after, in a new state we have something different.
I wish every crowd was hot. I’ve never experienced a WWE house show or a Raw or Smackdown taping. I’ve never been able to sample what it’s like inside and arena. When I witness a dead crowd, I’m almost willing them to get up and start doing things. I want them to be able to have a good time. Is there a reason why some states are hotter than others. This past week, the WWE has been in the UK. We only get WWE in the UK twice a year so we savour it when we get it. Okay the crowds this week probably weren’t the best ever but they were still damn good. Is that the point? Do we, the UK fans make our voices heard because we only get to see it twice a year. The European tour only happens twice a year so I’m sure countries like France and Spain witness this also. They must savour it because they know they have to wait another six or seven months to see it again.
In America, with so many house shows, Raw tapings, Smackdown tapings and pay per views, there is a potential to have four of five shows in one state over the course of a year. I wish every crowd could be switched on. I want every person to think “okay I’ve got a two hour show here. I’m going to be heard.” I want to see every arena rock. I want John Cena to go backstage and talk to whoever he talks to, thinking to himself that the crowd was amazing and that he couldn’t wait to perform there again. Wrestlers say it over and over again. They thrive of a crowd, booing or cheering it doesn’t matter. Just give the wrestlers everything you have, just like they give us the fans everything they have.
Time for the plugs.
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Until next time. Thanks for reading.