WWE Smackdown is even weirder to watch with no audience
Pro wrestling is always a little surreal.
But to see howling powerbombs and raging leg drops performed to a sea of empty blue seats is another level.
Friday Night SmackDown aired live as scheduled over the weekend, but was moved from Detroit to the WWE’s training facility in Orlando — and without any fans in the seats due to the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“We are monitoring the situation closely and as always we will take the necessary precautions to protect the health and wellness of our fans, performers and employees," the organization previously said in a statement.
Major sports leagues like the NBA have called off their seasons altogether, but WWE opted for no-audience instead. UFC president Dana White has likewise pledged to continue staging mixed martial arts fights (and drawn criticism), albeit without an audience.
Given the lag time between production and air, the shutdown of scripted programming could start impacting broadcast network schedules in about six weeks. Unscripted shows, such as late-night talk shows, have gone on hiatus. Also, several tentpole films originally planned for spring (No Time to Die, Mulan, A Quiet Place Part II, F9) have had their release dates pushed back.
Here's a full list of entertainment productions shut down due to the coronavirus. You can watch highlights from Friday's audience-less SmackDown above.