(Updated at 3:18 p.m. ET with comment from WWE.)
Vince McMahon wants you to take your (beach) ball and go home: the pro-wrestling promotion banned the WWE Universe from bringing “beach balls, pool noodles or any other inflatable items that could be bounced around” for Tuesday’s “SmackDown Live” show, according to wrestling blog PWInsider.
This week’s banishment stems from an incident during Sunday’s “SummerSlam” pay-per-view, in which WWE Superstar Cesaro left the ring apron, jumped the crowd barricade, and tore up a beach ball that was being bounced throughout the Barclays Center during his and Sheamus’ tag-team championship match against Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins.
The Brooklyn audience (minus the beach ball’s original owner, probably) loved the spot, and many of the so-called Swiss Cyborg’s colleagues have since commended the heel on trashing the distraction. The beach-ball destroyers eventually lost the match and their titles, and it now appears WWE brass has lost any appreciation they had left for the inflatable toy — but not until after its return the next night on “Raw,” that is.
On Monday, another crowd-surfed beach ball interrupted a big match — this one while WWE poster-boy John Cena and his (eventual) planned replacement Roman Reigns battled Samoa Joe and The Miz in another tag match.
Cena actually seemed cool with the interaction inside the home of the Nets and Islanders, giving the crowd game his full attention (which would come back to bite him — such is life when facing the devious Joe) and even addressing the fun and games on the mic after the live-TV taping. By the next night, however, WWE wasn’t playing games of its own.
“We are told an edict from WWE was issued to all security staff at the Barclays Center informing them that beach balls, pool noodles or any other inflatable items that could be bounced around were banned from the event,” PWInsider wrote on Wednesday. “There were several moments where fans sent beach balls out to be bounced around during ‘SmackDown’s’ broadcast, but the balls were quickly confiscated by Barclays Center staff and removed from the arena.”
A person with knowledge of WWE’s and general venue rules told TheWrap that beach balls have always been on the list of items generally prohibited by both parties.
A few hours after we published this post, a WWE spokesperson returned our requests for comment with this statement: “Just like any live TV show, items that may interfere with our production are prohibited.”
When reached, the Barclays Center specifically did not provide us with comment on the apparent enforcement of those instructions for Tuesdays’s show.
Watch the super-strong Cesaro tear that sucker up at “SummerSlam” above.
Readers can catch Cena reacting to his beach ball here:
And here is the Fox “American Grit” host directly addressing the crowd from mid-ring after USA Network went to black that night: