WWE made a change to its production on Monday's Raw when they had NXT superstars as part of the live audience for the show. The superstars were behind plexiglass and helped create a more natural environment than the empty arena shows WWE had been producing over the last two months.
Tommaso Ciampa wasn't part of the empty arena crowd on Monday, but he weighed in on the change in an interview with Chuck Carroll of CBS New York.
"I was visiting my brother in North Carolina and driving home, so I didn’t see it. The plexiglass sounds a lot like NHL to me. I don’t know. I just feel like there’s no rights and wrongs. It doesn’t feel like there’s any right or wrong to anything. Everybody’s just trying. We’re just trying to give the best product we can give while abiding by guidelines, and keeping people safe and healthy, and giving people the next thing in entertainment. So I don’t know what’s right or wrong."
He continued, "You know, cinematic sounds really cool. Too much cinematic seems bad. It’s crazy to me. It’s just like, they don’t have really long matches. It’s just, there’s so many directions, and there’s just, at the end of the day, it’s exactly what wrestling is. It’s flavors and ice cream and opinions. And I think some people are going to be like, ‘oh yeah, this is great.’ And other people that are going to be like, ‘oh no, I don’t like this because I saw Shotzi [Blackheart], and she shouldn’t be there.’"
AEW first had wrestlers as members of the crowd to help differentiate themselves from WWE. The idea, which Tony Khan admitted he took from Jimmy Fallon, worked. Ciampa believes it can work in WWE, but there needs to be a change as far as who is actually part of the crowd.
"Having people who are on NXT, if I’m being completely honest with you, I don’t think that sounds like a good idea. I wouldn’t expect to see people from Raw or SmackDown in the NXT crowd come Wednesday night. And I don’t think you should see any NXT talent in the crowd come Monday night or Friday night. It doesn’t seem right. [Performance Center] guys, people who are students trying to figure this out? Sure. That makes perfect sense to me. You want to put them through the COVID test and all that, and give them that experience? That’s great. But people who we’re trying to build as Superstars, maybe we just keep them in front of the camera," he said.
Fightful Select reported that NXT will have a live crowd on Wednesday with Performance Center talent being scattered as the audience.
Figthful will have live coverage of NXT beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday.