Apropos to the incredible quote above from the movie ‘Gladiator’, wrestling fans are an important part of the product.
Take away the horrendous tribalism that has butchered the IWC, and the bad faith takes taken by people who just want to stir the pot. In truth, and as shown during the pandemic era, a wrestling promotion suffers greatly without a live crowd, especially one that isn't eating up what they are seeing before them.
It's also how wrestlers get over.
Sure, great matches can bring the star ratings and a place higher up the card, but when a wrestler forges a genuine connection with the fan base, they become bullet proof. Take Kevin Owens as a case in point.
No titles in five years, sloppy booking for many of those, and yet, the moment he called himself 'The Prizefighter' last week, the fans went wild. A great way to forge these connections is with a 'call and response', which encourages the audience to participate.
This doesn't mean they join in with a catch phrase like Triple H's 'That Damn Good' or The Undertaker’s ‘Rest In Peace’, but more that without them, it doesn't work. Some of the biggest names in wrestling history make the list, and I dare you not to say these out loud, such is their brilliance.
10. Drew McIntyre - 3... 2...1
Let’s start with a very recent one, and one so basic it’s brilliant. There is an argument to say that this simple call to the crowd changed Drew McIntyre’s career.
By late 2019, the ‘Scottish Warrior’ was floundering as a mic-card heel. After a great run with Dolph Ziggler over the summer of 2018, McIntyre found himself slipping into the type cast role of tough guy enforcer. From Dolph, to Strowman, to Shane McMahon, McIntyre didn’t really have an identity.
Then, out of nowhere, it felt like he was given free reign to talk on the mic and the fans started to warm to his affable charm. The introduction of the Claymore Countdown was genius.
Going from mid-card heel sludge to one of the most over babyfaces on the roster in a matter of weeks, McIntyre quickly instilled himself as a potential favourite for the 2020 Royal Rumble. Vince McMahon and Co. decided to ride that wave to the former ‘Chosen One’s’ victory and he his elimination of Brock Lesnar.
A few months later, McIntyre defeated ‘The Beast’ at WrestleMania for the belt and solidified himself as a main event star. As recently as this past Smackdown!, McIntyre called for a countdown on Roman Reigns, solidifying that bond with the audience.
Without it, it’s unlikely McIntyre’s second run with the company would have been as successful as it has been.