Eric Young: Empty Arena Wrestling Is A Singular Experience, It Will Change Television For The Better
Photo Credit: IMPACT Wrestling
Eric Young says wrestling in an empty arena is not a lot of fun but he feels that it will bring positive changes to wrestling and television viewing habits.
Recently Eric Young joined The Shining Wizards Wrestling Podcast to talk about his return to IMPACT Wrestling this year, which has filmed been on a closed set during the current pandemic. Young says he’s used to small crowds from the indies but this presents another issue since there’s no one there at all. Young said it works for IMPACT right now but they aren’t alone in finding new ways to create content, and he sees the experience as a way to make technological improvements to their business.
“What I can say is, as a guy that did 6-7 years of independent wrestling, I’ve wrestled in front of very few people before, so that’s not a problem. Wrestling in front of nobody… it stinks. There’s no other way for me to say it. It’s just not good. For IMPACT, we’re wrestling in a small studio. It’s affordable. It’s convenient. It looks decent on television. You know, it’s easy to shoot, easy to work, and easy to do all those things. But wrestling in front of nobody is not a lot of fun. What I can say about it is, is I’m a very experiential person. I want to experience everything… good, bad, or indifferent. So, I’m in a very unique place professionally right now where all of us that are working on tv, whether it’s WWE, or its ROH, it’s AEW, or it’s IMPACT… this is singular.
“I’m hoping it’s singular. Like I can say at a point I wrestled on a major pay-per-view in front of zero fans. And that’s not like a boasting thing. It’s not a feather in my cap or ‘look what I’ve accomplished.’ But it is an experience I think is singular. No other wrestling generation, you know, people that worked on tv full time, have experienced anything like this. You’re seeing it with the (WWE) Thunderdome and all that stuff. It’s pushing technological advances. It’s changing television. It’s changing how we consume television. And it’s going to change the product in a lot of ways, and in my opinion, a lot of ways for the better. There’s been years where you could just rely on the crowd to make noise and make it seem like things are good when they’re not, so this is bare bones. Your product better be noteworthy or something to talk about, or it’s going to suffer.”
Many have said Young’s return to IMPACT Wrestling was like a “homecoming” of sorts, and he agrees with that sentiment partially. Young noted that so much has changed since his first run with the company (when it was TNA Wrestling) and said it might not seem like it, but IMPACT is actually growing during the pandemic and it’s a good feeling to be back and part of that change.
“It’s a homecoming in a way, but like… everyone was like “you’re going back to TNA.” Well, TNA doesn’t exist. It’s gone. I understand that IMPACT is using the lineage and the history of TNA, but TNA wrestling, that chapter of the company is closed. The truth is, other than me and maybe two or three other people, it’s all different people. It’s owned by a different company. It’s real by a different group of people. It’s written by a different group of people. It’s airing on a different channel. There’s nothing about it that’s the same, so “home” in a way that I have a huge history with the company, but all new in a way, and for the better. I mean, this AXS TV is in a ton of homes, and it’s a very accessible channel. This is their second-biggest television deal that IMPACT wrestling or TNA Wrestling has ever had. And it’s growing during a global pandemic, which is insane.
“I know wrestling fans don’t understand that IMPACT is the small wrestling promotion and it definitely has the lowest viewership, this, that, and the other, but business-wise, it’s growing, and it’s growing when nothing is growing. WWE can do Thunderdome and all that other stuff. He (Vince McMahon) didn’t fire 300 people because they’re growing. He made money, and the company made money, but the business as a whole for them is shrinking. AEW is losing money like crazy, but hopefully holding pat. IMPACT Wrestling, even though it is on a small scale, it is moving forward during this time. Scott D’Amore & Ed Nordholm and all the guys there. They need to be praised for what they got going on right now because it’s very singular. It feels very good for the soul to be back there and to be involved.”
Check out the full episode at this link.