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Two of pro wrestling’s prime time TV shows will be taking up temporary residency in St Petersburg.
Since August, WWE had been broadcasting “Monday Night Raw” and “Smackdown” and most of its pay-per-view events from an interactive set at the Amway Center in Orlando.
Starting Dec. 11, it will move those broadcasts to Tropicana Field, the current home of the Tampa Bay Rays.
An end date has not been announced, but it’s expected to coincide with the upcoming Rays baseball season.
Fans will not be allowed inside the building. However, WWE is continuing its virtual “ThunderDome” concept, where fans are allowed in via live video. They can register to be part of the virtual seating at the WWE ThunderDome website, or on the WWE social media channels.
Coincidentally, the Trop was known as the “ThunderDome” when it hosted Tampa Bay Lightning hockey from 1993-96.
“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,” Rays President Matt Silverman said in a news release. “The ballpark will be transformed to host the spectacle of WWE ThunderDome, allowing fans to enjoy this wildly popular experience virtually.”
“We are proud to have reimagined the in-arena atmosphere and provide an interactive experience like nothing else in sports and entertainment with the launch of WWE ThunderDome,” WWE executive producer Kevin Dunn said. “Our fans’ response and industrywide recognition are both humbling and further validation of the innovative spirit and passion that exist across the entire WWE organization.”
The WWE had planned to hold its signature event, WrestleMania, at Raymond James Stadium in April of this year before the pandemic forced it to be taped in Orlando.