With the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic affecting many industries and businesses, perhaps one of the most affected businesses is that of the professional wrestling world. We already saw what could happen with WWE forcing to move WrestleMania to the performance center, and both WWE and AEW holding empty arena shows, but the effect this has had on the indie wrestling scene could be fatal to those businesses.
Indie wrestling has taken a hit like never before. Promotions are having to cancel shows, which in turn is forcing wrestlers to miss bookings and not get paid. WrestleMania weekend is always a huge weekend for indie promotions who set up shows in the same city as Mania, such as Joey Janela’s Spring Break 4 (presented by Game Changer Wrestling), Joey Ryan’s Penis Party, WrestleCon and many more.
We had a chance to briefly speak with AEW referee Bryce Remsburg, who had appearances lined up at WrestleCon and GCW’s Spring Break. We asked him what impact the pandemic has had on him, AEW, and the effects it could have in the future.
-First off, how are you holding up with everything that’s been going on, and the effect it’s had on the wrestling business?
Bryce: “I consider myself lucky to still be getting paid, but that doesn’t keep me from being scared about the state of the industry, especially indie wrestling. I still fear the worst if yet to come.
-When was the moment that you knew “Ok, this is serious”? Be it something on TV, or a cancellation, etc.
“While we were backstage in Salt Lake City at Dynamite, they made the decision to suspend the rest of the NBA season, that’s when we knew this was legit.”
What do you think will be the biggest impact the Coronavirus will have on the indie wrestling scene?
Financially, some of the hits promotions are taking are catastrophic.
With AEW still a fairly new company that I’d assume relies heavily on ticket sales, how do you think this will effect AEW in the long run?
That’s unclear to me, and for now. I know we’ve been adding a renewed focus on merch sales. Again, I trust in more powerful people to steer that ship for us.
How upfront was AEW management about the entire situation before things got out of hand? Did they explain that there was a possibility this could affect business?
We were kept in the loop and given full permissions and power to opt-out or stay home if we wanted. Almost daily communication from the office, we’re very fortunate.
Are there any extra precautions AEW is taking in March to ensure the safety of wrestlers?
Yup! Temperature screenings, and access to all kinds of helpful materials.
With WrestleMania not taking place in Tampa Bay, shows such as WrestleCon and Game Changer Wrestling have had to cancel their shows. How big are WrestleMania weekend shows to smaller promotions, and how will this affect those businesses?
It’s huge – it’s basically their huge fundraiser for the whole year. In some ways, this work stoppage could close the doors of some indie promotions.
Do you expect to see smaller promotions be forced to close their doors for good?
Hopefully not, but sadly that’s a very real possibility.
What are some ways we as fans and media can help indie wrestlers and the promotions?
Buy shirts! Buy streams! Spread the word! Stay Positive!
We would like to thank Bryce for taking the time to speak with us during these troubling times! Also, head over to Bryce’s twitter (@dabryceisright) and buy some of his merchandise! Bryce will be donating the proceeds to the misplaced workers and promotions.
Also, go to your favorite wrestler’s Twitter page or website as well. Many are relying on their merchandise sales to help them during this time, so now is the perfect time to pick up some new shirts! They’ve given us entertainment for years, and now they require our help as fans. So buy a shirt, donate some money or spread the word!
Featured Photo: Matthew Boyce | GCSN
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