WWE Raw: Crowd Involvement Highlights Draw of Wrestling
Very few sports make fans feel like they are truly part of the action.
Pro wrestling is unique in this respect.
The crowd involvement we saw on WWE Raw on Monday night was a great example of what pro wrestling does right. When Dolph Ziggler cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase, fans went wild.
They continued to be rambunctious when none other than Fandango riled them up...with the help of music composer Jim Johnston. Fandango's theme song resonated with the crowd throughout the night, as singing and humming filled the arena.
John Cena—in true Superstar fashion—actually did a little dance number to the song while wrestling Mark Henry.
A music technician decided to play the song again after the show.
According to Pat Laprade, via Arda Ocal of the Baltimore Sun, fans were honking their horns in the rhythm of Fandango's song outside the arena well after the show had ended.
In what other major sport do you see Superstars like Cena actually change their routine to accommodate the fans?
In baseball, an outfielder may wave his mitt at the bleachers. In basketball, you might get on the "fan cam" for two seconds with your favorite player's jersey on. In football, you might be able to high-five a player when he's headed into the tunnel after the game. Big whoop.
But it's not just the level of fan involvement that makes pro wrestling special. It's the amount of exposure fans get. How often do you see a group of fans spotlighted on the side of the ring, or wrestlers engage with fans during a routine?
Fans dress up in wild costumes (is "costumes" the right word?), get more than a couple of seconds of air time on TV and chant in accord of what they like and don't like about the show with complete freedom (like on Monday night).
Even during the negative moments, when a wrestler and a fan get into verbal battles (whether intentional or not), hey, guess whose face is on the TV? Not just the wrestler's but the fan's, too.
This is part of what makes pro wrestling so popular. The WWE engages fans like practically no other sport in the world. It makes it enjoyable to be a part of. In some sense, fans feel they are more important than in any other sport on the globe.
Beneath all the macho talk in the WWE, there's a side that truly cares about what its fans think. Instead of being in the stereotypical star athlete's proverbial bubble—focusing on what he is doing and blocking out everything else—the true stars of the WWE play to the audience. That can be a powerful thing, as exemplified on Raw last night.
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