Thanks, AEW: You made me forget about the coronavirus

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I have to admit, I had a huge markout moment at the end of tonight’s AEW “Dynamite,” and yes, it was for Matt Hardy.

But really, come on, AEW did a great job with its first coronavirus episode all around.

Seems so long ago, a week ago, as it turns out, since AEW’s last show, which was so quaint, held in an arena, in front of adoring fans, and all.

We’ll get back there. Eventually.

WWE has since had two shows at its Performance Center, its “Smackdown” show this past Friday, and “Raw” on Monday.

The thought had to be going in that WWE would have the advantage, since the PC is a home turf for WWE, and a fully equipped one at that, in terms of technology, cameras, et cetera.

My thought after watching both: man, they’ve got some work to do to be able to present anything resembling a WrestleMania from the PC.

Just because WWE seems to be still figuring things out, in terms of having the performers do their thing in front of nobody, trying to generate getting over without having people let you know that you’re getting over, which is hard.

I am giving them the benefit of the doubt in that respect, too. I mean, this isn’t easy, at all.

Wrestlers practice in these kinds of conditions, but it’s one thing to rehearse, and another thing entirely to try to get over live, and as we saw from “Stone Cold” Steve Austin Monday night, it’s not even easy for the most over guy in professional wrestling ever to get over in front of nobody.

Because, he didn’t, emphatically.

Yeah, that was awkward.

And then, we get the AEW show.

I think a big factor with “Dynamite” was that the show was produced from an arena, not a studio.

To me, the size of the venue was a big plus.

The WWE PC feels small, for all its advantages from a production standpoint.

AEW did a good job situating a handful of performers around ringside, and had them make more than their fair share of noise, which has also been devoid in the two to date WWE live shows.

The effect was, this feels … as normal as is possible.

The matches in the WWE shows felt like rehearsals, to the point that a video went viral from “Smackdown” of what was going on during a commercial break last week, which was, nothing, in terms of in-ring activity.

“Dynamite,” for its past, featured picture-in-picture action during commercial breaks, so, doesn’t feel staged, which is important.

And then, we get Matt Hardy.

Full “Broken” Matt Hardy, drone and all.

For the first time in a week, I forgot about coronavirus, the stock market tanking, the world coming to its knees, and I was just a fanboy.

Thank you, AEW.

Please, more of that.

Please. I beg you.

Story by Chris Graham

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