WWE fans are riling themselves up over the sports entertainment company’s newest heel: the humble beach ball.
The controversy started during last Sunday’s SummerSlam, when WWE Superstar Cesaro jumped the barricades in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center in order to grab a beach ball that was being passed around by the show’s audience. Cesaro was then shown ripping the beach ball in half, an act which many saw as a response to the apparent disrespect shown by attendees who were more focused upon the beach ball than the action taking place in-ring.
The moment was captured both by WWE’s cameras and those watching from the stands:
— Luge (@LugeMania) August 21, 2017
.@WWECesaro is the GOAT.
— Ryan Satin (@ryansatin) August 21, 2017
However, Cesaro’s actions have led to some WWE fans jumping on the beach ball bandwagon, much to the dismay of the company’s more hardcore fan base. When the company returned to the Barclay’s Center on Monday night for a new episode of RAW, those in attendance reported that many beach balls were being passed around the stadium, and that it was heavily distracting for both the audience and the performers.
Wrestling Observer Newsletter‘s Dave Meltzer, a highly respected pro wrestling journalist who has covered sports entertainment for a number of decades, called the beach balls a “freaking disaster.”
“I don’t know what the exact number was I’ve had people in the building tell me from 7 to 9 to 10 beach balls that were out at different points in the match. And then the worst thing that they did was in the match between Jason Jordan and Finn Balor — they were working through the beach ball thing and you could tell there were beach balls and the fans were chanting for beach balls while those guys were out there trying to do a good match and they were doing a good match to no audience response.”
Finn Balor responded to the controversy with the following tweet:
— Finn Bálor Forever (@FinnBalor) August 22, 2017
WWE fans have now grown concerned that those playing with the beach balls during WWE’s shows will encourage the company to overlook certain members of its roster. With the WWE being notoriously fickle in its support of fan favorites, many believe that the live audience being preoccupied with beach balls during Finn Balor’s match could actively harm his chances of being given a more prominent position on the company’s roster.
Beachball in a Balor match?!
— Rachereen Dream. (@Its0nlyRachel) August 22, 2017
If you bring Beach Balls to a WWE event, you deserve nothing but an immediate ejection. End of discussion.
— Mikey (@LesnarSupport) August 22, 2017
With episodes of RAW lasting for 3 hours and SummerSlam dragging on for a whole six hours, it’s no surprise that some fans in the live audience grow restless. However, it seems that beach balls being used as distractions will no longer fly with many WWE Superstars and their fans. Maybe it’s a better idea to start taking fidget spinners instead.