Former WWE superstar CM Punk was a guest on the No Sports Report show where the Chicago Savior revealed he finds it difficult to enjoy pro-wrestling in an empty arena setting, which has been the state of the business recently due to COVID-19. Punk states that he could easily watch a legitimate pro-sporting event like hockey or MMA without fans, but doesn’t think it translates well inside the squared circle.
I would be able to watch hockey or UFC or Bellator, any kind of mixed martial arts fight when there’s no people in the crowd because it’s a sport. With pro wrestling, I find it completely impossible to watch with no crowd. The audience is the 100% – and this is more evident than ever now – driving force behind what wrestlers do in the ring. When I wrestled, that was my boss.
He continues…explaining that the fans are what drives the emotions, storylines, and characters in wrestling, and without them it becomes obvious that it’s a “worked art.”
A lot of people have their favorite wrestlers and debate who’s on the Mount Rushmore or greatest of all time but the thing that separates the greatest wrestlers from the okay guys is that when there in the ring, they’re the bosses, they’re in charge, but the truth to that is, the audience is in charge,” Punk said. “The audience boos and cheers who they want, they tell you if they like the moves, if they are emotionally invested in the match that tells you where to take it. You can manipulate them but they can also manipulate the match. Without all of that, I don’t know what we’re doing. It lends credence, in my opinion, to everyone who argues that wrestling is just a stage fight, it’s a stimulation, its predetermined acrobatics. Without the audience, without the emotion and the adrenaline, that’s what I feel like I’m watching, I feel like I’m watching a video game.
Check out the full interview below. (H/T and transcribed by Wrestling Inc.)