If there is one thing that we have learned as a society in 2020 it’s that things are always changing. Due to the ongoing health crisis over the last five months, WWE has taped or gone live with Raw and Smackdown at the WWE owned Performance Center in Orlando. For a few months, they had no fans, then they added developmental wrestlers in the crowd and they have also done full Coronavirus testing. The interest in the product has gone down, though. There are less people watching the shows, so obviously they felt the need to change some things.
We know that fans aren’t allowed at most events right now, but WWE is going to try something different – virtual fans. They’re also doing an arena upgrade because instead of the WWE PC in Orlando, they are going to make the Amway Center in Orlando (home of the NBA’s Orlando Magic) the WWE home base for now. Here’s what @Wrestlevotes reported about it this morning.
As part of WWE’s new long term residency at the Amway Center, a new interactive experience will be introduced with over 2500 sq ft of LED boards, where fans will appear LIVE on the show, hosted by Superstars & Legends. Applications to appear on screen will open next week.
— WrestleVotes (@WrestleVotes) August 14, 2020
The Wrestlevotes account does post accurate information a lot of the time. There may be an official announcement from WWE about this too.
This will take effect most likely starting with the August 21 edition of Smackdown next Friday, likely for NXT Takeover on August 22, definitely for SummerSlam on August 23 and then Raw the next night on August 24.
Tonight’s episode of Smackdown and Monday’s episode of Raw (Aug. 17) were taped last night at the WWE Performance Center.
The new interactive experience could be similar to what the NBA has done over the last few weeks in their “bubble” games in Orlando where they have fans appearing on giant screens in the “crowd” while the game is going on. It’s not known if WWE will be able to let fans into the arena to make noise as well and have them social distance, but or now it appears to just be virtual fans.
TJR Thoughts: I think it’s a great idea to be in a bigger arena that is more spacious. Not only will it looks more visually appealing on television, but WWE’s going to have a lot more room in the backstage areas to spread out compared to being at the WWE PC where there’s not as much room. For now, WWE’s home is going to be Amway Center.