Mike Bennett Comments on Not Being a Fan of Empty Arena Shows, and More

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During the first edition of his and Maria Kanellis’ “Non-Essential Wrestlers” podcast, Mike Bennett commented on not being a fan of empty arena shows, and more. You can check out some highlights from the podcast below:

On the empty arena shows: “I am not a fan of empty arena wrestling. They did the best they could with what they have, but — there were good matches. Like Charlotte and Ripley was really good. You know, it was a good match, but I couldn’t get into it because they’re no crowd … I’m sure some people can get into it. I don’t think — I mean, I’m sure I’m not the only one who can’t get into it, but I’m sure I’m not, I don’t think that’s the general consensus that no one likes [it].”

On WrestleMania’s cinematic matches: “They did the best with what they had, and the Taker and AJ match was awesome … and Cena and Bray was the coolest thing I’ve seen in wrestling in a long time. It reminded me of like, how everyone felt when they saw Matt Hardy doing his thing at the compound.”

On the changes that empty arena shows bring to matches: “It’s interesting, it’s actually kind of fun to find out, you know. You see a different side of people. I think it’s interesting to me because it can either show how talented you are, or it can completely expose you. And I think that’s something that the talent probably talk about. Like I said, I only did that one show, but I remember some of the conversations we were having and it’s like, ‘It’s going to be quiet. You’re going to have to put matches together differently. You’re going to have to react differently. You’re only performing for the people at home, where I feel like it’s different in front of a live crowd. Because you almost get the feeling that when you’re — yes, we’re taught to play to cameras so that the people at home can see or whatever. But I always get the feel of wrestling in front of the live crowd as the person that’s tuning in at home is tuning in to like, they’re watching wrestlers perform to the live crowd…so it’s like now, the wrestlers are literally performing to the people at home and that’s it … Now, you’re watching the wrestlers play to you. So it’s a very weird dynamic.”


On wrestlers having to change how they put matches together: “As a wrestler, you’re trained to play toward the crowd. That’s how you’re taught. So it’s like, you almost have to throw the playbook completely out the window. And this is where my brain’s starting to go. Do you have to throw what we refer to as ring psychology out the window? Because ring psychology is about playing toward the crowd, and dictating toward the crowd how you want them to react. Sorry, I’m breaking kayfabe here or whatever, but that’s what ring psychology is, is you’re putting a match together to tell a story to get the crowd to react a certain way that you want them to react…these are the conversations that they need to be having in wrestling.”


(h/t – 411 Wrestling)

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