Comparing WWE's U.S. Crowds to International Crowds

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
Comparing WWE's U.S. Crowds to International Crowds
Gallo Images/Getty Images

When WWE travels abroad it usually finds a raucous, fervent crowd which often outshines American crowds in enthusiasm.

This is not because Japanese or English fans are inherently bigger WWE fans, but perhaps a result of American fans taking the product for granted. In romance and in pro wrestling, distance appears to make the heart grow fonder.

It's hard to lump American crowds into one group because each city's fan base has its own personality.

Chicago, Philadelphia and New York are all well-known for their passion.

Chicago goes crazy for CM Punk.

It's not a blind love they have for WWE though. Those cities have their favorites who they will lose their voice over. They are also wrestlers who these tougher, knowledgeable crowds will boo mercilessly.

This is the kind of city where Ryback gets the loudest "Goldberg!" chants, where John Cena is treated like a Yankee in Fenway Park.

Fans in England latch onto English wrestlers.

They adored British Bulldog. They go crazy for Wade Barrett.

American fans don't have such a unified sense of their dislikes and likes. There isn't a single American WWE superstar to root for.

Fans in the U.S. seem harder to impress overall. If two wrestlers don't get things going fast enough, the "boring!" chants begin. Many midcard wrestlers get no reaction whatsoever.

Maybe this is because American fans have so many opportunities to see WWE live that they don't appreciate the experience as much. In most major cities, a fan can see a WWE live show two, three or more times a year.

Fans elsewhere are forced to cherish their chances to watch WWE in person.

 

United Kingdom Crowds

When Raw came to Birmingham, England in 2012, it felt like someone had set off a thousand sticks of dynamite. The crowd was loud and expressive, improving the show itself.

Arda Orcal of Baltimore Sun wrote, "Many segments and matches felt even more special just because the Birmingham crowd was so vocal."

The same was true when TNA took Impact to England. There was a special feel to the show that even a wrestling town like Boston couldn't match.

The English love their own, as evidenced by their vocal approval of Wade Barrett despite his status as a villain.

U.K. crowds bring the same unbridled energy that they bring to football matches. The audience sings in unison. They hum, they buzz, they blow air horns.

It was in 1992 that SummerSlam played host to one of the most famously passionate crowds in WWE history.

British Bulldog vs. Bret Hart in London

This is the same type of energy WWE sees today when they travel across the pond. Would the Brits be able to maintain that level of enthusiasm if more pay-per-views and episodes of Raw came their way?

Who knows, but for now WWE is considering returning SummerSlam to the UK, knowing just how emotive crowds there can be.

 

Mexican Crowds

The fans that fill arenas to watch Lucha Libre are of a far different demographic than WWE's crowds.

Mexican wrestling crowds seem to have a lot of older dudes, sipping on a beer, enjoying the weekend.

When Sin Cara wrestled in his home country as Mistico, he was a megastar. Still, watch the number of folks sitting down, unimpressed as he heads to the ring.

Mistico entrance

Perhaps this is something to do with age. Younger fans tend to be more demonstrative regardless of where you are. Watch the folks in the upper deck go nuts for Mistico.

Whatever generation, whatever demographic that is, those are the types of fans WWE wants to get in good with.

It's a much different scene when WWE comes to town.

The price difference in tickets between AAA or CMLL vs. WWE likely constructs a different audience altogether. When WWE brought SmackDown to Mexico City, the fans went ballistic for Alberto Del Rio.

Alberto Del Rio in Mexico City

That reaction is reminiscent of an Attitude Era-like pop. That's what WWE is hoping for when it builds it Mexican stars up.

 

Japanese Crowds

Japanese fans watch wrestling in a far different way than American fans.

They are often eerily quiet during matches. It's not a quiet born from boredom though but from respect.

Listen to the golf claps KENTA gets while in action.

The crowd doesn't react as loudly or expressively as other crowds, but they react to more of the nuances of the sport. It is an audience with an appreciation for armbars and escapes from leg scissors.

It seems they are watching for every subtle aspect of a match, soaking in things that some American crowds might be too impatient for.

Even as famously understated as Japanese crowds are, they still get psyched when WWE comes to town. It's not often that WWE heads to Japan because of the distance and the time difference so perhaps the fans' excitement is stored up in between tours.

When Raw came to Japan in 2005, Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels got the royal treatment they deserved. Fans bowed as low as they had space to do so.

Leaving up to their reputation the crowd reacted to just about everything Flair and Michaels did. Even a thumb to the eye by Flair got a round of applause.

Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair in Japan

 

Final Thoughts

WWE is increasingly becoming a truly global product.

Fans around the world are tapping into their inner mark and going nuts for what WWE has to offer. From London to Milan, audiences elsewhere are showing American fans how it's done.

English crowds continue to get noticed for their energy.

Even though they didn't know who he was, the fans in Italy roared for Santino when he debuted against Umaga.

Canadian crowds are also famously hot. Toronto has long been of one of the better WWE crowds. Ask Shawn Michaels how animated Montreal fans can be.

Photo Credit: WWE

American fans can certainly get geared up for WrestleMania or WWE's most special events. The difference is that for many countries, every WWE show is a special event.

Perhaps instead of whining about our favorite guy getting "buried" or lamenting the fact that the Attitude Era is no more, fans in the States could look to fans around the world for inspiration.

WWE is supposed to be fun. It's supposed to make fans lose it, to make them shudder and squeal. One just has to let that happen in spite of WWE's flaws.

Load More Stories

Out of Bounds

WWE

Subscribe Now

We will never share your email address

Thanks for signing up.