Chris Jericho says All Elite Wrestling wants to safely invite fans back to their shows and they’ve done a great job of staying ahead of a curve as they flatten the curve while they wait for that to happen.
Jericho recently spoke with WrestleZone Managing Editor Bill Pritchard and talked about the precautionary measures All Elite Wrestling has been taking while hosting television tapings during the COVID-19 pandemic. AEW has been testing talent each week and instituting other social distancing policies to ensure a safe environment for talent and their new “home” for the foreseeable future is at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville.
“Le Champion” was asked about the country opening back up and the effect it might have on where AEW hosts future TV tapings. He says Daily’s Place makes sense as a venue because it’s an open-air amphitheater and they’ve done a great job with creating a fun atmosphere at tapings without fans already, so once people are able to attend they’ll just add to the show while maintaining social distancing guidelines.
“The idea is to get people back in the crowd. We’ve always had a crowd but it’s very orchestrated, our people. The idea behind all of this was to keep our shows as exciting and as relevant as possible and for us to have a crowd ready to come back when we’re ready to have them. I’d love to see that soon,” Jericho said. “I have some friends that are stand-up comedians in LA and they’re getting ready to do shows in Arizona, Oklahoma, Utah, Texas, and it’s a one-third capacity to start out, see how it goes.
“For us in Jacksonville at Daily’s Place, it’s a 6,000 seat amphitheater. You could put 1,000 people in there and space them out six feet accordingly and have a 1,000 people. I think we’re just waiting on the okay from the governor on that. I say, hell, start with 100 people, start with 200 people, whatever the rule is. I think we’re almost there,” Jericho said, “because if stand-up comedy has it there’s no reason why wrestling can’t have it either. It’s not like we’re running through the crowd or not like they’d be super-stacked together. We have the right venue for that so hopefully, it’s just a matter of time.
Jericho says he’d like to see something happen within the month but understands the steps they need to take before that happens. With that, AEW has done a great job of adapting as much as they possibly can, and one major reason is because they haven’t ignored the fact that there’s a pandemic keeping people at home
“We’re doing everything we can adapt and to stay ahead of a curve as we flatten the curve—there you go, there’s your headline. I think one of the reasons why it’s working is because we’re not ignoring the fact that there’s a pandemic,” Jericho said, “and instead of walking out to an empty crowd and going like ‘ahhhh’ and there’s no one there—which other shows do which I don’t understand—we said from the start, ‘there’s nobody here. There’s no one cheering. It’s just us so let’s make it work.’”
Jericho was in an interesting position because his match against Colt Cabana on Dynamite was his first singles match of the year on TV. He noted that the Stadium Stampede match was an example of adapting, but it was a completely different feeling going to the ring and having a small group of people at ringside. He says that’s the situation they are in but feels like AEW is doing a great job of “grabbing that bull by the horns” and entertaining in the best possible way, adding that the company knows they have to make changes and they’ve been able to do that successfully.
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