WWE: What Happened to the Pyrotechnics?

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USA Network/WWE Pyrotechnics are used during AJ Styles' entrance on 'SmackDown Live.'

WWE shows used to be chock full of pyrotechnics, with a number of wrestlers having entrances that were built around these dazzling explosions. But you may have noticed that recently, the pyrotechnics have been absent from WWE programming. So what happened? Why isn’t the WWE using these effects anymore?

In a recent edition of Wrestling Observer Radio, wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer noted that the WWE has indeed stopped using pyrotechnics, and it’s for two reasons. First, it’s a cost cutting measure, and second, the company just felt that pyrotechnics are not really needed during wrestler entrances.

“They’re making cutbacks so their profit margin gets a little bit higher,” Meltzer recently said. “They’re doing a lot of cutbacks right now. That’s one of the reasons you don’t see the pyro.”

During the most recent quarter, the WWE was disappointed in the number of WWE Network subscribers, not seeing much of a growth despite the occurrence of WrestleMania, according to the Wrestling Observer. This is part of the reasons for all of the cutbacks; the WWE also recently canceled Talking Smack. 

There are, of course, a number of wrestler entrances where special effects have always played a major role, and so the lack of pyrotechnics has been fairly noticeable. For example, Brock Lesnar always used to come out and throw his hands down in sync with pyrotechnics going off, as you can see in this clip:

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Now, he still does that move, but the pyrotechnics aren’t used, and so this creates a weird moment where Lesnar dramatically throws his arms down but nothing happens as we expect it to. That ocurred at Great Balls of Fire, and it was this moment when it became especially obvious that the WWE was making some changes to its show.

AJ Styles is another wrestler who always made great use of pyrotechnics. During his introduction, he would always lean down and hold there for a moment, only for the pyrotechnics to go off in conjunction with his theme song kicking in, at which point he throws his hood down and reveals himself, as you can see here. Now, he still does the same dramatic pause and reveal, but there’s no special effect anymore.

There are even some wrestlers whose entire entrance is based on the used of pyrotechnics and which probably wouldn’t work otherwise, including Kane. Luckily, Kane does not appear in WWE programming on a regular basis anymore, so the company doesn’t have to deal with trying to figure out how to make this work.

Presumably, the WWE will break out the pyrotechnics for the big pay-per-views like WrestleMania and possibly SummerSlam, which airs on August 20th. However, for the weekly shows and for the smaller pay-per-views like Great Balls of Fire and Battleground, this theatricality is gone, at least for now.