Talk about pro-wrestling in public and you will have a more heated debate than with most sports, politics or philosophy. People cannot seem to agree if it is a show or a sport. Is it fake? And who are the best pro wrestlers of all time? Whatever answer you give, most people will agree that pro wrestling is fun.
It has been through lots of changes and 2020 brought in lots of unexpected events. Many of the safest betting sites have adapted to accommodate these changes. Here are a few ways that 2020 changed the world of pro wrestling.
Reduced Star Influence
One of the negative things witnessed in 2020 is that there was less star power. In WWE, for example, the era of generational icons like The Rock and The Undertaker came to an end. John Cena had been the face of WWE since 2010. However, the company lost him to his acting career. With his move, the influence of stars in pro wrestling seemed to be coming to an end. WWW appeared hesitant to make someone else a top star. While there are big names like Becky Lynch and Roman Reigns, none of them may come close to the influence John Cena once enjoyed.
Wrestling in empty arenas was one of the weirdest things witnessed in 2020. For the first time, games were broadcast with no audience. Monday Night Raw and Smackdown were the first ones to prove that all you need for wrestling are a microphone, wrestlers, and a ring. The experience wasn’t similar to having an audience and it showcased performers at their most theatrical state.
With pro wrestling, many fans enjoy ‘collective effervescence.’ The fun is mostly about the build-up of a game and being in social settings. Being away from the crowd can take away from the experience.
On an episode of Smackdown, Triple H got goofy, joking about the weird setup. When Asuka got in to distract her rivals, he made a joke about it in regard to the empty arena.
Even though 2020 took away the thrill of having crowds at pro wrestling games, it may have set a precedent for the future.
In 2020, there were no crowds and fans had no choice but to pay attention to whatever was going on in the ring. As a result, WWE and AEW had no choice but to improve the quality of their story telling.
2019 wasn’t the best year for WWE especially in the area of storytelling. This translated to low viewership and revenue. Some of the worst storylines for 2019 included Bray Wyatt vs. Seth Rollins and Bobby Lashley vs. Rusev. Storytelling is the heart of pro wrestling and the industry seemed to understand this in 2020.
Entertainment companies like WWE are beginning to realize the importance of creative storytelling and making the relevant changes. The storylines in 2020 were consistent and most characters have experienced much-needed development. Even though many pro wrestling stars are still being forgotten and overlooked, the changes in 2020 have been impressive.
AEW seems to have learned the benefits of having long-term high-quality stories as well. With their large roster, and just two hours of televised programing, telling a story becomes a bit complicated.
Players Switching Sides
2020 saw WWE almost lose stars to AEW. Many stars tried leaving the site to head to AEW. An influx of stars including Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley had already left for AEW. Many of the stars had expired contracts and others were trying to seek releases.
2020 showed the potential of stars to switch sides and remain relevant in the industry. The success of AEW will determine the future of these stars and may encourage even more of them to shift from WWE.
The pro wrestling world is always changing and it may be difficult to predict how fruitful these moves may be. However, WWE stars who feel disgruntled or overlooked are likely to switch sides. Even though AEW may not sign all of them, it is still something to look forward to.
The Willingness of WWE to Let Stars Go
In 2020, it became apparent that WWE can let some of its biggest stars go without much qualms. In December 2020, the company ended its long-standings strategy of holding on to stars for a long time, at all costs. This is a strategy that they may continue holding for a long time.
They are now willing to let go of superstars who appear unlikely to thrive. This strategy is easier for them and it helps them cut costs.
In the past, the general expectation was that they would not release their biggest superstars even if they wanted out. The events of 2020 changed this, and they may influence the world of pro wrestling. The change in strategy has helped the free agent talent pool grow. Impact Wrestling, NJPW, and ROH are expected to welcome many ex-WWE stars in the near future. Stars like Cody Rhodes are like to have massive success wherever they go.
Decline of the Industry
2020 saw a decline of the industry following the COVID-19 shutdowns. Impact Wrestling, for example, had to cancel many of their events. Lockdown and Breakdown were the first ones of their events to be cancelled.
These events, originally scheduled for March, were cancelled as the company continued assessing the situation and preparing for future events. Their Tampa show was canceled as well. On 17, March 2020, they announced that they would be issuing refunds for WrestleCon which had been canceled. They announced the cancelation of other events as the year progressed.
WWE had to cancel or reschedule many of their events as well. Some were relocated to the performance center in Orlando. They were performed with no audience. The 2020 Hall of Fame edition was postponed following the pandemic. It was supposed to happen at the Amalie Arena in Florida.
The postponements and cancelations took a toll on the industry especially since fans did not get to enjoy their favorite events.