For over a year, WWE has been without fans as they've held shows at an empty Performance Center and then the ThunderDome.
While many wrestlers probably weren't thrilled to perform in front of no one and had to adapt to a lack of reaction, Daniel Bryan embraced the new challenge and was excited to wrestle in front of no one.
"I cannot tell you how excited I was when we were wrestling at the Performance Center in front of no people with no added sound effects," Bryan told CBS Sports. "I thought, 'This is so cool.' Nobody else thinks this and certainly as a viewer it's less interesting. But for me, and I don't know if I consider myself an artist, but what we do is art. This is a true exposé of how good you are at the art. I really enjoyed that challenge. There were a couple people who really enjoyed it. Me and Cesaro talk about it, and Drew Gulak. We talk about that, with no people, one of the positives is that you don't have to entertain people live and can do some of the wrestling stuff better. It's just the difference between theater and cinema, right? For someone who has been wrestling as long as I have, I love any sort of little change."
Bryan did go on to say that he was excited for fans to return and looked forward to getting that instant feedback once again.
Roman Reigns did not get a taste of the Performance Center past WrestleMania, but was present for the majority of the ThunderDome shows following his return at SummerSlam 2020. Reigns has received high praise from fans and peers for his work as the Tribal Chief. Bryan has taken notice as well.
"When I watch the show and I watch Roman from a character standpoint and the way he has transitioned into wrestling in the ThunderDome, I was like, 'That's genius. I don't know if this translates well to a casual audience, but he has taken it and accentuated the positives of no crowd. ... Roman, from a character perspective, is just a different level from everybody else in this era," said Byan.
He continued by saying, "I 100% agree [that the stories are boosted by the intimacy of the environment]. And he gets to talk quieter. That would be harder to do in front of a live audience. The ability to talk trash to your opponent in a match ... like, I thought the stuff with Jey Uso was fantastic. Not just the matches that they had, but that the story of the matches was told in an audio format, not just the visual format of wrestling. That's one of the things that, to me, I hate to use the word 'genius' too much, but the ability to look at something with fresh eyes and see the positives. It's something I completely missed. When I was thinking about wrestling in the Performance Center and ThunderDome, I thought that audio would be great with very physical wrestling where you can hear the kicks and the chops. You'll be able to feel the physicality more because there's no fans. It didn't cross my mind to talk the trash that Roman talked, but also tell the story he told audibly through the process. When he first did the Jey Uso match, I was like, 'Oh my god, why didn't I think of this?'"
Reigns, Bryan, and WWE will welcome back fans at WrestleMania 37 when 25,000 fans will be able to attend both nights on Saturday and Sunday.
Bryan will meet Reigns and Edge in a triple threat match for the WWE Universal Title at night two of WrestleMania 37. You can view the current lineup for the event by clicking here.