Fast forward to the week of July and we could all see the effects of what professional wrestling has been missing; the heart beat of every company. On July 7th AEW became the first major promotion to return to touring where the impact of fans who haven’t seen the likes of Cody Rhodes, Chris Jericho and MJF in almost two years. The crowd was hot and their impact was felt immediately when AEW shockingly debuted Malakai Black (FKA Aleister Black) to a huge reception from the Miami crowd. The show, dubbed “Road Rager,” did a phenomenal job setting up Fyter Fest Night 1 which featured Darby Allin vs. Ethan Page in a Coffin Match and Jon Moxley vs “Machine Gun” Karl Anderson in a battle for the IWGP US Championship.
The following week the most mainstream promotion, WWE, joined the hot upstart AEW with their own touring schedule that began with a go home show before their annual Money In The Bank Pay Per View. The effects of a crowd was felt right off the bat as Edge received a pop that we have not heard in a very long time. In my own opinion, the WWE Main Roster will benefit greatly from the return of fans as it often felt robotic watching show in the infamous ThunderDome. The return of Finn Balor proved that, as he returned to the main roster for the first time since returning to NXT, to also receive a huge pop.
The historic week in professional wrestling concluded with a very well done Pay Per View in “Money In the Bank.” The show pre-show tag match was one of my favorites as The Usos won Tag team Gold, this match should have been on the main card over The Raw Tag Team match which was mediocre at best where AJ and Omos retained. The best match of this show by far was Charlotte vs Rhea where you really saw the impact of fans right from the bell as chants of “We Want Becky” rained down to a disgruntled Charlotte. The pure talent of both of these women forced the hot crowd right into the match, this was certainly a match to remember. Later in the show’s main event the influence the fans have on the quality of show was prevalent once again as one of the greatest of all time John Cena returned to the company he was the face of for 15 years in one of the most memorable returns of the current decade so far.
The Impact of fans returning post pandemic cannot be underestimated, they have always been the heart beat of this great sport. The following weeks will certainly continue to showcase the importance of fans as AEW continues the tremendous Kenny Omega/Hangman story line and WWE starts the road to Summer Slam.