Chris Jericho Discusses AEW's Shows Without Fans amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2020

FILE - In this June 24, 2015, file photo, Chris Jericho arrives at the NBCUniversal New York Summer Press Day event at The Four Seasons Hotel in New York. Backed by billionaire Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan and his son Tony, new promotion All Elite Wrestling is set to make its debut on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019, on TNT. The company wants to give WWE a run for its money and has already signed big stars Chris Jericho and Cody Rhodes to make an instant splash. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)
Charles Sykes/Associated Press

Chris Jericho says putting on a wrestling show without fans is "strange" but credits AEW's creativity for Dynamite thriving despite the pandemic. 

"We're providing entertainment throughout this lockdown, and it's different because we're in the middle of an empty arena," Jericho said Tuesday on the Rich Eisen Show. "It's very strange because much like a standup comedian or a rock-and-roll show, if you don't have a crowd that's responding to what you do, it's very, very strange.

"... If you're treating it more like a Hollywood stunt fight, like a Hollywood brawl that you'd see in a movie, it's much more entertaining than if you're treating it just as a wrestling match because there's nobody there. And we can see there's nobody there, so why bother pretending?"

Rich Eisen Show @RichEisenShow

The great @IAmJericho told us how @AEWrestling is operating and putting on a high-quality show during this quarantine: https://t.co/00NgDFHQHC

Jericho added it helps that AEW is able to put members of its staff around the ring to add some level of ambiance and reaction for the show. The company typically puts wrestlers and other staff members ringside, with Jericho noting that the 30 or so spectators are more than he wrestled in front of at the beginning of his career. 

Jericho himself has been pulling double duty on most weeks, sitting in on commentary while also competing in the ring. He's also helped produce the "Bubbly Bunch" skit series that has aired to praise.

AEW has not missed a week of programming despite the pandemic, filming several episodes in advance in March before returning to Daily's Place in Jacksonville, Florida last week. The May 6 episode was AEW's first live event in more than a month.