Since the beginning of what we know as pro-wrestling, the crowd has been a key element for wrestling shows. A good or bad crowd can make or pretty much kill a show, that has always been known in wrestling, and the importance of crowds remains the same to this day, even though wrestling has changed a lot since the inception of the sport.
One thing that makes crowd so awesome in wrestling is how unpredictable they can be at any situation, that natural and spontaneous nature of wrestling crowds can’t be replicated, even though WWE has tried for years, and even now with the technology being available to pipe crowd noises and have on TV the reaction you want. While this was finally developed by WWE during the pandemic, it has never been able to replicate the feel an actual crowd can give a show.
While crowds in places like Chicago are awesome, you can’t have a lot of shows there, or you’ll burn out the territory quickly, an easy mistake promotions that don’t travel often happens to them, and with the most recent example being NXT’s Full Sail crowd. Full Sail is burnt out of NXT, and maybe traveling would help wrestlers in NXT evolve and get ready for the main roster; the most recent example is Bron Breakker and while the crowd being burnt out is also a factor on why they turned on him, we can’t ignore the booking but that’s a subject for another time.
If we ever wondered if crowds can make a match feel as an historical moment, there isn’t no better example than The Rock vs. Hul Hogan on WrestleMania X8; while this match might not be the most spectacular in-ring match ever, the crowd gave this moment an energy we’ve seen very few times in American wrestling since. The opposite can happen too; WrestleMania XXV had one of the best WrestleMania matches in history between Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, the crowd was nuts, but once it was over the actual main event of WrestleMania XXV (Randy Orton vs. Triple H) had no energy to it because of the previous match and because the match they were seeing was boring.
The worst thing you can do in wrestling as a promoter or even as a promotion is fighting against the crowds’ reaction to this; the first run of Roman Reigns as a singles star and as the chosen one by WWE is to this the example of why fighting against the crowd is a bad idea; and in hindsight, the fans were right and WWE should’ve turned Roman heel sooner.
Rewatching pandemic wrestling from 2020 and parts of 2021 makes you realize that crowds for better are the heart and soul of wrestling shows. GCW might not be the most exciting wrestling to watch, but their crowds make it feel special. Pandemic wrestling gave us finally a perspective of why crowds are so important, and why they can’t be replace by pipped crowd effects or other gimmicks. Crowds are the soul of wrestling.