Cheesy branding aside, you won’t find many people who think the WWE ThunderDome has been anything other than a roaring success.
The purpose built arena/production stage has been in use since August and is hosted with the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. Prior to its construction, WWE had been filming their in-ring content from the Performance Center in the same city since the global pandemic hit in March.
With the feeling of an empty warehouse, it left the entire product feeling utterly devoid of joy and excitement. Look no further than WreslteMania for evidence.
The ThunderDome allowed WWE to inject their programming with personality and atmosphere, making their programming feel as close to normal as possible without their usual crowds in attendance.
However, with the Orlando Magic soon to be taking back residence in the Amway once the NBA season starts, WWE needed a new home for their programming and that home will be at Tropicana Field, the home of The Tampa Bay Rays Major League Baseball team in Tampa Bay.
The new set is under construction and the first programme to take place inside the stadium will be the episode of SmackDown on December 11th. Pictures have emerged of the construction taking place.
Matt Silverman, the president of the Rays had this to say on WWE’s impending arrival:
“The Tampa Bay Rays are excited to welcome WWE to Tropicana Field for this residency and shine a spotlight on the Tampa Bay area for WWE fans around the world. The ballpark will be transformed to host the spectacle of WWE ThunderDome, allowing fans to enjoy this wildly popular experience virtually.”
WWE will remain in situ at the stadium for ‘the foreseeable future’. It has not yet been announced whether any fans will be allowed entry into the new ThunderDome. Whilst Tropicana Field is a roofed structure, so not outdoors, it is several times larger than the Amway Center, raising the possibility of some fans being given access in a similar manner to AEW permitting small numbers of fans to their tapings at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida.