It is no secret that 2021 has been one of the most challenging years in sports history. We are not only referring to the restrictions put into place in order to curb the effects of the recent global health crisis. We also need to remember that many industries such as wrestling have been hit hard due to the simple fact that paid admissions to events are nearly non-existent. This has caused million of pounds to be sacrificed and as a result, many amateur wrestling leagues may be facing an uncertain future.
However, the fact of the matter is that even the professionals will need to adopt to a changing landscape if they hope to appeal to fans in a post-COVID world. What changes could we witness in the coming months and how could these impact the entire sport for years into the future?Is it Possible to socially Distance When Wrestling?Wrestling is a sport associated with a high degree of physical contact. We are not only referring to touch in this case. Other elements such as sweat, saliva and (occasionally) blood are all present within the ring.
This brings up an important question. How can wrestling adapt to the new rules regarding social distancing?There is no easy answer here. Some suggestions have included prohibiting tag team matches and even using sanitiser between rounds to decrease the risk of viral transmission. However, physical contact is obviously the hallmark of any wrestling venue.
The chances are therefore high that competitions will still occur. However, we are left wondering what safety measures may be put into place as well as how effective these will be.Larger Venues with Smaller CrowdsWhile certain entertaining activities such as playing online blackjack or slots pose no health risks in terms of public safety is concerned, we need to keep in mind that wrestling fans are often packed tight within enclosed spaces. This is another element likely to change. Simile to cinemas and football pitches, the number of attendees to any specific wrestling event will likely be capped (depending upon the capacity of the venue itself).
While this is not the best news for those who are looking forward to see a live match, it is important to mention that many websites are now offering live digital streams of these very same competitions.Teaching Awareness and ResponsibilityOn a final note, wrestlers are often role models to younger generations. This is why it is their duty to set a good example. Adhering to safety regulations, wearing masks and encouraging social distancing are all key practices to condone in order to bring this current health crisis to an end.Whether we want to admit it or not, there is no doubt that the world of wrestling is likely to face ongoing restrictions in the coming months. Those franchises which are able to successfully adapt to this sense of "new normal" should nonetheless enjoy a bright future when things begin to improve.