WWE ThunderDome will soon have a new home starting on December 11 in Tropicana Field, the home of the MLB’s American League Champions, the Tampa Bay Rays.
“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,” said Matt Silverman, Tampa Bay Rays President. “The ballpark will be transformed to host the spectacle of WWE ThunderDome, allowing fans to enjoy this wildly popular experience virtually.”
WWE’s ThunderDome concept began in August in Orlando’s Amway Center, home of the NBA’s Orlando Magic. ThunderDome was originally pitched as “state-of-the-art fan experience,” eschewing traditional seats for a virtual fan webcam setup surrounding the ring.
Since then, every episode of Raw and SmackDown, as well as pay-per-view events, have been held in the arena. WWE’s contract with the Amway Center is just about up, however, and now WWE is moving to a bigger facility.
In non-Covid times, Tropicana Field can hold over 40,000 fans. There have been rumors of WWE looking to host some amount of in-person fans for Royal Rumble and possibly going forward, so the move to a much larger stadium may help make that happen.
Interestingly, Tropicana Field was briefly known as “ThunderDome” in the early 1990s when it hosted the Tampa Bay Lightning.
December 11th’s episode of SmackDown will be the first to be held in the new ThunderDome.
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