The debut of the WWE ThunderDome at the Amway Center in Orlando begins this Friday on Smackdown. For the next two months, WWE has leased out the Amway Center in Orlando for about $450,000 and part of the setup at Amway Center is the ThunderDome project that WWE has been talking about over the last week.
Here’s part of what WWE had to say about the ThunderDome earlier week in a story that we covered here:
WWE ThunderDome™, featuring a state-of-the-art set, video boards, pyrotechnics, lasers, cutting-edge graphics and drone cameras, will take WWE fans’ viewing experience to an unprecedented level starting this Friday, August 21 on FOX, kicking off SummerSlam® Weekend.
With the debut of WWE ThunderDome, WWE will take residency at Amway Center in Orlando and virtually bring fans into the arena via live video on massive LED boards, in conjunction with The Famous Group and its proprietary technology, for every Monday Night Raw®, Friday Night SmackDown® and WWE pay-per-view event. Starting tonight, fans can register for their virtual seat to be part of upcoming shows via www.WWEThunderDome.com or at WWE’s Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages.
Earlier on Thursday, WWE tested out ThunderDome and gave access to some reporters to share their experience as well as photos. The photo above is from Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet and so are the photos below.
The photos below are from NXT developmental wrestlers Jake Atlas and Tehuti Miles. There were also matches with Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden vs. Jessi Kamia & Indi Hartwell and also Ridge Holland vs. Mansoor.
Here are photos from the Mansoor vs. Holland match where you can see they tested out Big E’s entrance on Mansoor! On the photo below that, you can get a better view of the wall of fans.
— Ryan Satin (@ryansatin) August 20, 2020
In other WWE news, Wrestlevotes on Twitter noted that there is excitement in the air among WWE staff due to the change from the WWE Performance Center to the Amway Center in Orlando.
Source in Orlando says spirits are as high as they’ve been in some time. Many backstage road employees who have been off are returning & the intrigue of the ThunderDome has staff excited. The energy this weekend from the talent performing should be off the charts.
— WrestleVotes (@WrestleVotes) August 20, 2020
TJR Thoughts: I’m glad there is optimism. The effort of the superstars at the WWE Performance Center was good, but you could tell that it wasn’t a great environment to produce wrestling shows. Being in a full arena is going to bring some excitement back to WWE programming. I think the video boards of fans looks cool and as somebody that has watched a lot of NBA and NHL guys in the last few weeks with the video wall of fans, I think it enhances the production. These WWE screens look bigger than what the NBA or NHL has, so I wonder if it’s going to be so big that it hurts the product a bit. We’ll find out on Smackdown as well as at SummerSlam and Monday’s Raw as well.