LIVE events have struggled mightily in this time of pandemic.
Beyond traditional sports, professional wrestling has also struggled under the restrictions of the pandemic, and had to make immense adjustments just to be able to replicate the fan experience — even if matches are being held behind closed doors.
There's probably nothing which suffered the most from this lack of fan interaction than that of WWE's Royal Rumble, which, for the first time in 34 years, was held without any single fan in attendance on Monday (Manila time).
That exhilarating feeling of counting down the clock may feel a bit manufactured, yet kudos are still in order as the wrestlers still gave it their all to put on a show.
WWE Hall of Famer Edge, a full decade removed from his abrupt retirement and returning to the ring after eight months due to a triceps injury, pulled off a shocker and won the Men's Royal Rumble match.
The first one to arrive in the ring, the Canadian superstar outlasted 29 other competitors and fended off a stunning RKO from rival Randy Orton to book his spot in the main event of WrestleMania.
Edge became only the third wrestler to win the famed battle royale after drawing the no. 1 spot, while also winning his second Rumble after ruling it back in 2010. After lasting for 58 minutes and 28 seconds, he is now on the road to reclaiming the world championship he had to regretfully vacate in 2011.
Nevertheless, Royal Rumble is also known for shocking returns, as that of Carlito, The Hurricane, and Christian in the men's match, and that of Victoria, Alicia Fox, and Jillian Hall in the women's side.
And more importantly, new stars are born, with Bianca Belair winning the Women's Royal Rumble match after coming in at no. 3 and earning herself a title shot in the Grandest Stage of Them All.
Belair poured in her emotions after the match, where she had to survive for nearly 57 minutes before finally disposing Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair to get to her moment.
Truthfully, it's still a weird sight to see any wrestling event, all the more as massive as the Royal Rumble, be held with zero fans.
But here's to hoping that this year's WrestleMania, which has been rescheduled this April at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, won't be like last year and instead, have at least a considerable amount of fans in attendance — in socially distanced seats, of course.