WWE's decision to proceed with empty arena shows has created a surreal experience for both the performers and fans watching at home. Former WWE referee Jimmy Korderas spoke about what he's liked and disliked about these shows when he joined The Wrestling Inc Daily podcast.
"I like the fact that when guys come out like Edge this past week and talks directly to the camera. It sounds really personal and you can actually hear him. I hate to rail on the audience, but sometimes the audience tries to take over during a promo and you can see the guy adjust. This way, it allows the talent to focus on telling the story they want to tell. Edge told a hell of a story in his promo," Korderas said before adding that he'd like to see a couple more live matches.
"You know what maybe I would like to see? Since there is no real Hall of Fame ceremony going to happen maybe every week, since this week it was announced that Jushin Thunder Liger will be going into the HOF, why not have a match or two from his career? One of his best highlight matches to show the audience as opposed to something we just saw."
On the first SmackDown aired without an audience, Michael Cole was joined on commentary by Triple H. The Game's commentary was universally loved and many called it refreshing as he often ribbed Cole just as he did over 20 years ago as a part of DX.
Korderas discussed Triple H's commentary alongside Cole.
"That I loved because it was just Triple H being Triple H. He was just having fun and ribbing Michael Cole a little bit. It felt like a loose atmosphere and you want an escape from reality," said Korderas. "Hunter is genuinely a funny guy and we got to see a little bit of that. To the audience, everyone complains about the scripted nature of the WWE and it felt a little off the cuff and natural and organic. I enjoyed it and I thought it was fun."
Korderas was then asked if he expects this to lead to a more relaxed product overall with perhaps more appearances of Triple H on commentary.
"Because Hunter's so involved with so many things, I don't see him going back behind the commentary table. I wish it would lead to that because he can be very entertaining and he might have a little more liberty to do what he did on SmackDown," stated Korderas.
"This is an experimental stage and you never know what could come out of this. Obviously, it's hard to fill three hours on Monday, two hours on Wednesday and two hours on Friday so maybe this is the time to try some different stuff. It's harder to gauge because there is no audience to feel off of, but at the same time maybe it is an opportunity to put stuff out there that you normally wouldn't think of putting out there."
Instead of shutting down like nearly every other sport, WWE has proceeded with these no-audience shows for the time being. Korderas was asked if Triple H or Vince McMahon getting the coronavirus would change WWE's plans.
"Well, Vince being older I hope it's not him But it's weird because I'm not saying I know Vince well but I could see him being the type of guy who if he contracted this would isolate himself," said Korderas. "But at the same time, he'd say, 'Don't let this situation stop you from what you're doing.' He's that kinda guy.
"It's a hard one and we're in unchartered territory. We went through the SARS thing but I don't ever remember it being like this."
No one has ever seen anything like what we're currently experiencing but Chavo Guerrero said the closest thing to this coronavirus pandemic is the aftermath of September 11. Korderas was with WWE for that and he compared 9/11 to now.
"The day it happened I was in Florida with my wife and we got up and said, 'What the heck?' Obviously all air travel was shut down so I ended up driving to Nashville for SmackDown," recalled Korderas. "Chavo was right as it was an eerie situation. This is a rapidly-moving, flowing situation and different because this can spread very quickly. We're dealing with something completely different so maybe after WrestleMania get it done, get it out of away and then everybody can take a breath."
You can following Jimmy Korderas on Twitter @jimmykorderas. Jimmy's full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it's released Monday - Friday afternoon: by clicking here.