John Cena was a recent guest on WWE’s After The Bell podcast where he discussed the beach ball incident that he and Cesaro dealt with.
He was talking about the incident as an example of why it is crucial to listen to the fans and work with what the crowd is encouraging the talent to do on the show. He spoke about the fact that it might not always be best for the television product, but it involved the audience live in the building and keeps them engaged.
“Some performers work for the sound rather than being there, listening to the sound and adapting to the environment. When you empower the audience, our biggest star of the actual product, when you empower them, they’ll put you on the wave. Then you just have to reign them in, to the confines of the story. You can’t go out there and turn yourself heel or change a finish. I’ve had fights happen in the audience where we’ve stopped and looked at the fight and woven into the storyline. I had some dude marry a girl in the audience and we stopped. It was on TV, we stopped, I addressed the marriage, and I turned around and got clocked. The heel took the heat,” he recalled. “The beach ball deal. Love when stuff like that happens. I know it’s not good for television, but I think it is because you involve the audience. ‘Cesaro, go get the damn ball.’ ‘I can’t, it’s in the fifth row.’ ‘I don’t care, go get it.’ Moments like that where you stop, get out of your self-absorbed bubble and you look at the massive energy going around, ‘what are they really entertained by?’ They’re entertained by a ball and not by me. They’re all entertained by the ball, we have to do something with the ball. They’re all doing the wave. So, I’m gonna do the wave. I’m gonna orchestrate the wave. if they boo me, hit me. If they cheer me, hit me. Just acknowledging the fact that they’re giving you something. I think a lot of guys and gals get nervous, ‘What I’m doing isn’t good enough. I’m going to do something faster.’ What a way for (the crowd) to be like, ‘Forget it. I gave you my energy and you threw it away.'”
He finished by saying, “That’s why you can’t get anybody to try it because it’s stupidly simple. I’m not a good wrestler, everybody knows this, as far as technical ability. Unorthodox is the label I like to keep sacred because it still makes me sound like I know what I’m doing. I’m one of those guys that’s brave enough to be foolishly simple and start at the most simple story.”
H/T to Fightful.com for the transcriptions.