ENTERTAINMENT

WWE Wrestlers Performing Without An Audience Due To COVID-19 Is … Something Else

An awkward “Friday Night SmackDown” clip of John Cena and Bray Wyatt performing in dead silence comes off as oddly Shakespearean.

The show must go on, we guess.

World Wrestling Entertainment fans were treated to quite an awkward scene during “WWE Friday Night SmackDown,” when John Cena and Bray Wyatt did their absolute best to talk smack without an audience due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

In a clip of the truly weird moment — shared with non-wrestling fans on Twitter thanks to New York Times Styles reporter Taylor Lorenz — the two men engage in a verbal spat as a promo for WrestleMania 36, one of pro wrestling’s biggest nights.

Without an enthusiastic audience to feed off of, the confrontation comes off like a vaguely surreal Shakespearean play.

What makes the scene even more bizarre is the inclusion of Wyatt’s alter-ego “The Fiend” — a demonic masked figure who makes a brief cameo at the very end of the clip.

Wrestling fans and others, however, seemed to appreciate the performance ... while some weren’t feeling it.

The matches from Friday night’s broadcast, featured on WWE’s YouTube account, come off as amped-up dress rehearsals.

Cena, for his part, seemed pretty game about the whole ordeal.

WWE announced last Thursday that “Friday Night SmackDown” would be moved from Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit to the company’s training facility in Orlando, Florida — and be “broadcast live without fans” due to the coronavirus, according to Wrestling Inc.

The statement also said that “only essential personnel [were] in attendance.”

In regard to WrestleMania 36 — the event Cena and Wyatt were promoting on April 5 — WWE sent a statement to HuffPost on Monday evening saying it will no longer take place in Tampa, Florida.

Instead, the event will move to the same Orlando training facility that hosted “SmackDown” — and will only include “essential personnel” on “the closed set.”

“In coordination with local partners and government officials, WrestleMania and all related events in Tampa Bay will not take place. However, WrestleMania will still stream live on Sunday, April 5 at 7 pm ET on WWE Network and be available on pay-per-view,” the statement said.

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