WWE is setting up shop at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida for the foreseeable future.
The sports entertainment brand is establishing a residency at the arena with a new set that they have dubbed ThunderDome. It will feature large LED screens that will virtually bring fans into the arena via live video, in conjunction with the Famous Group and its proprietary technology. The strategy is similar to that currently being used by the NBA to give people the feeling of being at a live event while maintaining social distancing.
Per WWE, ThunderDome will also feature pyrotechnics, lasers, graphics, and drone cameras. The first show to be filmed at the new location will be “SmackDown Live” on Fox this Friday, Aug. 21. The upcoming “Summerslam” pay-per-view, airing Aug. 23, will also originate from the Amway Center. Fans can register to be part of the events on WWE’s website and social channels.
The news comes after months of staging shows with no fans in attendance at the WWE Performance Center, also in Orlando, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As with shows at the Performance Center, the tapings at ThunderDome will be closed sets with only essential personnel in attendance. Health and safety protocols, including COVID-19 testing, social distancing, and wearing masks will remain in effect.
“WWE has a long history of producing the greatest live spectacles in sports and entertainment, yet nothing compares to what we are creating with WWE ThunderDome,” said Kevin Dunn, WWE’s executive vice president of television production. “This structure will enable us to deliver an immersive atmosphere and generate more excitement amongst the millions of fans watching our programming around the world.”
The Amway Center will serve as WWE’s filming location for all episodes of “Monday Night Raw,” “SmackDown,” and other pay-per-views for the time being. Weekly “NXT” shows and the “NXT TakeOver” pay-per-view on Aug. 22 will be filmed at Full Sail Live, also in Orlando.
“As WWE takes residency at the world-class Amway Center, we have reimagined our live event experience for today’s environment,” said Brian Flinn, WWE’s chief marketing and communications officer. “In partnership with the Famous Group, we will virtually bring our fans back into the show and recreate the interactive in-arena atmosphere that has been a staple of WWE events for decades.”
Read a full list of WWE’s planned events for the remainder of August below.
Friday, August 21 – Friday Night SmackDown, Amway Center, 8 pm ET on FOX
Saturday, August 22 – NXT TakeOver XXX, Full Sail Live, 7 pm ET on WWE Network
Sunday, August 23 – SummerSlam, Amway Center, 7 pm ET on WWE Network
Monday, August 24 – Monday Night Raw, Amway Center, 8 pm ET on USA Network
Wednesday, August 26 – NXT, Full Sail Live, 8 pm ET on USA Network
Friday, August 28 – Friday Night SmackDown, Amway Center, 8 pm ET on FOX
Sunday, August 30 – Payback, Amway Center, 7 pm ET on WWE Network
Monday, August 31 – Monday Night Raw, Amway Center, 8 pm ET on USA Network