The Royal Rumble is always one of the most special events of the professional wrestling year for a number of reasons. As the first WWE pay-per-view of each calendar year, the event sets the stage for what will become in the world inside of the squared circle. Second and most importantly, the event usually provides a number of returns and one-off appearances that create moments that will be forever remembered in the hearts of wrestling fans around the world.
The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the world, forcing people to be socially distanced and not be together, in order to attempt to stop the spread of the virus. Coinciding with that is the fact that live attendance has been drastically reduced at live events, with many sporting venues showcasing their product with no fans in attendance at all. WWE even held Wrestlemania 36 at their Performance Center, in front of no one, on only 2-3 weeks notice.
This causes a huge problem for WWE as the Royal Rumble really does not work without live attendance. The reaction of the fans after seeing their favorite performers return is one of the entire reasons for having the event. So, what can be done about this?
In my opinion, there is a way to have fans at the 2021 Royal Rumble and if it is safe to do so, must be something that WWE does everything in their power to make happen.
Before continuing, I want to be very, very clear: Everything that I am about to suggest must ONLY be done if it is deemed safe and appropriate to do so by medical professionals. I would never suggest that any entity puts the health and wellness of the people in attendance, as well as in the community, at risk for further spread of COVID-19.
Throughout the Fall of 2020, we have seen many venues hold football games with a limited number of spectators in place. The attendees sit in limited groups, tend to wear masks, and are maintaining proper social distancing while still enjoying the event live and in person.
Therefore, I would suggest that WWE finds a way to have the 2021 Royal Rumble at a football stadium, set up the ring on the field, and fill the stands with 20-25% capacity of fans.
I give AEW a hard time on a weekly basis, in my live-tweeting as well as on The Hoots Podcast every week, and I believe that I am rightly justified in my criticism of their product. That being said, they have a weekly show at Daily’s Place with limited fans in attendance and it completely enhances their production every week. They also held a pay-per-view match on the Jacksonville Jaguars’ football field, so it can be done.
Professional wrestling is meant to be done in front of live spectators as the performers feed off of the energy of the live crowd. It inspires them to continue to push through the matches and give live crowds a show that they will never forget. And perhaps no event encompasses this concept more than the Royal Rumble.
I heard an idea on ESPN’s First Take this morning that I thought was fantastic. If there are concerns about the health of the common spectator in attendance, why not fill the football stadium with health professionals and first responders who have already been vaccinated? Not only will it ensure that there is a very small chance of the spread of the virus, but it will also give WWE and other sports organizations the opportunity to say “Thank You” to the men and women who are risking their lives every day to help stop the spread of this extremely contagious and dangerous disease. That in itself would be a moment that would be remembered for a long time.
Moments like this need a live crowd:
We have seen that, if done correctly, fans are able to be in attendance for live events, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. With an event that pretty much requires a crowd, such as the Royal Rumble, WWE needs to do everything in their power to be able to make it happen.
Do you think it is possible to have live fans for the 2021 Royal Rumble? Leave us a comment below, or post a comment on our Facebook page! Also, be sure to sign up for our newsletter!