I registered for SmackDown on Wednesday, within the first few minutes I was able to do so. Therefore, I got a “call time” of 7 p.m. for Friday night. People get different call times, depending on when they register, and registration for Raw or SmackDown usually sells out within an hour or less.
The day of the event I received two emails. One was a checklist of how to have the best WWE ThunderDome experience. This included information about what device to use, how to make sure your internet speed is optimal, how to position yourself in front of your device. Obvious stuff, but it might be useful for some. The other email was my link to the show at 7 p.m., along with some additional information.
I got booted out before SmackDown, which is to be expected. They told me in numerous emails that sometimes fans are rotated in and out to accommodate others. So, I clicked my link again and refreshed the page until I got back in. I never got kicked out again. I made it through the entire episode of SmackDown without any issues.
The show itself was great! It was really cool being part of the virtual WWE audience. I never thought I’d be attending a live wrestling event from my couch, but 2020 is full of surprises!
WWE ThunderDome Press Release
WWE® DEBUTS THUNDERDOME™ AND ANNOUNCES RESIDENCY AT ORLANDO’S AMWAY CENTER
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 beginning this Friday, August 21 on FOX, kicking off SummerSlam® Weekend. This spectacular production at Amway Center marks the start of WWE’s residency where live events, all without fans physically present, will take place weekly for the foreseeable future.
With the debut of WWE ThunderDome at Amway Center, WWE will virtually bring fans into the arena via live video on massive LED boards, and it will be complemented 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 may register for their virtual seat to be part of upcoming shows by visiting www.WWEThunderDome.com or at WWE’s Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages.
“Our longstanding partnership with WWE continues to yield exciting events and indelible memories,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “While the global pandemic continues to create challenges for everyone, it has also led to new opportunities. We’re grateful to be a part of this history-making endeavor.”
“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 Executive Vice President, Television Production. “This structure enables us to deliver an immersive atmosphere and generate more excitement amongst the millions of fans watching our programming around the world.”
“This extended residency is a first for both WWE and Amway Center and it couldn’t come at a better time,” said Orlando Venues Chief Venues Officer Allen Johnson. “With numerous live events happening under our roof, this opportunity allows us to welcome WWE’s passionate fans into the arena remotely for truly one-of-a-kind entertainment.”
“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 Chief Marketing & 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.”
WWE Event Schedule for August:
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
WWE’s residency at Amway Center will be an ongoing partnership for the foreseeable future and Raw, SmackDown and pay-per-view programming will be produced on closed sets with only essential personnel in attendance. Additionally, WWE administers health and safety protocols for talent, crew and employees concurrently with each production, including PCR testing for COVID-19, physical distancing and wearing face coverings.