In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Cena spoke about the Firefly Fun House match at WrestleMania as well as no-crowd shows in general.
On which stars he thinks have adapted well to life at the Performance Center, he said:
“Bray is obviously doing a great job. And Seth Rollins has done an unbelievable job of adapting to a crowdless environment.”
Perhaps the most interesting part of that is Cena’s praise for Seth Rollins, who hasn’t exactly been on the good side of a lot of fans for a lot of comments he’s made recently. Rollins’ ‘Monday Night Messiah’ persona has definitely been one of the most prevalent over the last few months.
John Cena also gave his advice to performers in the current situation, saying:
“The key is knowing your audience. I worked a lot with the live audience, many times against the wishes of what a lot of people told me. I believe if the live audience is having a good time at a live event, then you as a viewer at home are having a good time. There were numerous times when, against many people’s wishes, I would involve a live audience and make sure they knew, 1.) I was listening, even if it wasn’t flattering to me, 2.) I understood, and 3.) I tried to incorporate. Now with an element that does not have a live audience, as a performer, you have to focus on what’s in front of you.
“It’s almost like movie-making. The biggest difficulty for me is not playing to the people in section 312. There are no people anymore. If there is ever a time to commit to story, this is it. A lot of times when there’s an audience, you really can lean on your ability to produce action. You cannot do that now. The viewer at home no longer gets caught up in the energy of the live crowd.
“It’s literally asking someone to unlearn what they’ve learned, and that’s a bold risk. And a lot of people are not comfortable taking those risks. But I think the more people embrace story, even when there is none—and that doesn’t mean, ‘Well, the creative team didn’t provide a story, that means there is no story.’ No, I’m living proof that is not the case. You just have to use your imagination. In this realm, imagination is king. Action will not drive the product forward. It has to be imaginative, and it has to be well-presented.”