Without a live crowd of over 60,000 fans creating the kind of atmosphere we’re used to for WWE’s marquee show, WrestleMania 36 felt surreal, to say the least. Empty arena matches can be good, sure, but pro wrestling is meant to be done in front of an audience who can react to it in real time.
That doesn’t mean it can’t be done well in other ways, though.
We learned that this year with the Boneyard match that saw Undertaker and AJ Styles essentially make a short film that still felt like a wrestling match. During an interview with Nine Line Apparel, Undertaker talked about how it came together and his feelings on it once it was done:
“So, obviously, I always envisioned this match happening in a live arena and then somewhere in the last couple of weeks when we didn’t even know what was going to happen the next day, the idea was thrown at me about doing something off site. And I was like “that’s a much better option than trying to have the match that AJ and Undertaker would have inside an empty arena.’ I guess in our case we were very fortunate to be able to go off site and do what we did. The final product, I couldn’t be more proud of it. Under the circumstances, all the different things going on, for everybody to pull together and put something like that out there... it was different, it was intriguing. I can’t speak for AJ but I’m very proud of what we did.”
He also left the door open for future matches like this while stressing that it largely depends on the players involved. Matches like this tend to work with characters like The Undertaker, but that isn’t necessarily the case with much of the current WWE roster.
Let’s hope there are more to come, and that Undertaker gets the chance to be proud of another Boneyard match.