Due to the apparently negative reception a pair of segments received on this week’s pre-taped episode of Monday Night Raw, WWE allegedly replaced the boos with cheers in an effort to make the reactions sound more positive when the episode aired on television.
As noted by Wrestling Inc., this week’s Raw was pre-taped on Friday from the Manchester Arena in England, thus allowing the outlet to publish spoilers two days before the show’s official TV broadcast. Quoting its correspondent in Manchester at the time of the taping, the publication wrote that former Universal Champion Seth Rollins — despite his status as a top babyface — initially came out for his promo to a “mixed” reaction, only for the boos to take over and make it hard to hear the wrestler as he spoke.
Likewise, Wrestling Inc. also quoted talkSPORT’s Alex McCarthy, who tweeted that Rollins’ line about being the “best wrestler on the planet” was especially unpopular, getting “roundly booed” by the Manchester audience. He added, however, that when he watched Raw on TV two days after watching it live, he noticed how the boos were replaced by a “majority cheer.”
“[T]his isn’t about Seth (I’ve been roundly abused before for arguing he is, in actual fact, very good and in the convo of best in the world), I’m just not big on crowd noises being adjusted to fit a narrative,” McCarthy continued.
In a separate report, WrestlingNews.co observed that there also seemed to be some edits during the segment involving Rusev, Lana, and Bobby Lashley. Despite multiple reports claiming that Lana’s in-ring promo was extremely unpopular with the crowd at the Manchester Arena, the outlet noted that the boos “did not come through as strong” on television.
“You could hear the boos on Raw but fans in Manchester said Lana had ‘go away’ heat instead of heel heat because the segment did not come across well,” WrestlingNews.co added.
— WWE (@WWE) November 13, 2019
Regarding the specific nature of how WWE allegedly edited the boos and replaced them with cheers, a Wrestling Inc. reader reportedly told the outlet that this week’s pre-taped episode of Raw featured footage from the October 28 edition in St. Louis, including a screenshot of himself and his friend attending the show live. Likewise, WrestlingNews.co cited Bryan Alvarez, who made similar observations this week on Wrestling Observer Live and also pointed out that some of the crowd reactions came from the October 28 episode.
“You can go back and watch it. [Rollins] makes some comment and they cut to a shot of the crowd which looks totally different from the crowd when he’s doing the rest of his speech,” Alvarez was quoted as saying.
In previous decades, WWE was known for piping in crowd noises on its various television programs, including many past episodes of Raw and SmackDown. This practice, per WrestlingNews.co, is no longer commonplace due to the fact that most main shows are now aired live. But with the apparent unpopularity of the aforementioned Rollins promo and Rusev/Lana/Lashley segment in mind, the website concluded by saying WWE owner Vince McMahon may have taken advantage of the fact that this week’s Raw was pre-taped, in order to “control the crowd noise” for the TV viewers watching at home.