THE WORLD of professional wrestling was thrown into controversy this week – for shining a stage light directly at fans during a major bout.
The ‘WrestleMania' match between top fighters AJ Styles and Randy ‘The Viper’ Orton at the 82,000 capacity MetLife Stadium in New Jersey was marred after a powerful projector shone at attendees for an hour, prompting chants of ‘we can’t see’.
Wrestling enthusiast Markie Parker described the lights at the event – organised by World Wrestling Entertainment – as ‘blinding’.
Another, Christopher Sweet, said that pictures of the luminaire don't do it justice. ‘It was like staring into the sun’, he lamented.
It may not have been the first time that a badly-mounted light has caused problems. Styles supporter Zach Rev said of the incident: ‘I missed about 45 minutes of ‘Mania two years ago to bright lights shining directly in our eyes. WWE doesn’t care about its customers.’
Orton – who lost the bout – took to social media to apologise: ‘For the live crowd that saw this [light] tonight during my match at WrestleMania at the Met Life Stadium tonight, I would like to apologise on behalf of WWE for screwing up and shining a bright light in your eyes for 95 per cent of our match.
‘You missed a really great [expletive deleted] match’. His apology received over a quarter of million likes.
Experts say that at sporting events the audience itself is often illuminated for television purposes, but the mounting position of the luminaires is crucial to avoid glare and ensure attendees get a clear view of the action.
TV entertainment specialist David Onda said it was an ‘ongoing problem’ in the sport. ‘This unnecessary lighting of the crowd is ruining the in-arena experience’.
WWE has not commented on the incident.
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