By Adam Blampied
Filming stuff in advance is pretty good. That way you can film it, make sure it’s ok, then put it out later. Professional Wrestling looks at that idea and says ‘nah, we’re alright’, and throws itself on the mercy of live production, which is plagued by issues like power failures, or you know… plagues.
We’ve all gotten used to bad things happening here on the darkest timeline but god help it, the wrestling industry finds a way to carry on, it endures, and that’s mostly a good thing. Sometimes disaster is avoided by the skin of its teeth, like when Raven almost knocked out the power to Wrestlemania X-7 by nearly crashing a golf cart into the main production power cable, or an outbreak of mumps nearly derailing TLC 2017 because WWE wrestlers are just all up in each other’s fluids. At Over the Edge 99 Owen actually died mid-PPV and the show still went on, that’s the mindset we’re dealing with here. Right now the world is pretty much in lockdown, but WrestleMania survived, because of course it did. It’s a wrestling show, that’s what they do.
Here are 10 others that pushed through circumstances that would probably have shut down a show not run by insane wrestling promoters.
10. The Post-Saudi Arabia Smackdown
It’s fair to say that WWE’s continued relationship with Saudi Arabia is a controversial one. It’s like watching a drug addict keep going back to their dealer, but the addiction is money and the side effects include almost killing The Undertaker and no accountability for state-sanctioned murder.
After the Crown Jewel 2019 event, top tier stars like Vince, Brock & Hogan left in their private jets, while 200 odd wrestlers and crew boarded a charter flight back to the states. That flight didn’t leave for 24 hours, being grounded owing to air quotes ‘mechanical difficulties’. There’s all sorts of juicy theories why. Some sources alleged that it was retaliation by the saudi government for Vince delaying the local Crown Jewel stream because of the government’s delay in paying WWE for previous shows. Or it could have been mechanical difficulties, who can say, our lawyers are very clear that we won’t.
With almost their entire roster unable to make it back to the States for an episode of SmackDown the next day, WWE went into crisis mode and Amazon Primed all of NXT to do an invasion of the remaining roster that hadn’t gone to Crown Jewek. It was actually one of the best SmackDowns of the year and if it leads to more matches like Daniel Bryan vs Adam Cole for twenty minutes, could WWE experience more mechanical differences?
9. The Raw Dark Match
Electricity is a saucy little sod, promising you the world, then skipping out of town with your savings. Cut to the September 25th 2006 episode of Raw, which began like any other until, literally seconds into JR and King’s opening spiel, the arena was plunged into darkness. The power to the building had blown, which meant no Titantron, no house lights, no sound for the audience there live.
Thankfully, WWE have a separate power supply for their video production team, so we at home could still hear JR and King, but it left the first 10 minutes of Raw in a weird confusing midnight stupor. Lilian Garcia spoke into a mic that didn’t work and the ring was lit by two small spotlights that cast everyone in half shadow. Even more bizarre, the entrance themes and microphones worked for the audience at home, but the crowd live couldn’t hear them and WWE still opened the show with an in-ring promo between Candice and Lita.
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