We’ve known the end was coming for WWE’s ThunderDome concept. Obviously, they company wouldn’t continue to film in the moveable, virtual fans environment they innovated for the pandemic once they resume traveling next month for televised and house shows with live crowds.
And we knew the July 12 episode of Raw would be the last episode of TV we’d get from the Yuengling Center in Tampa. That’s because the return to the road starts on July 16 with SmackDown in Houston.
Now WrestleVotes and Wrestling Observer bring us the final piece of information about the end of ThunderDome era.
Looks like WWE’s final live show inside the ThunderDome will be the Friday July 9th edition of SmackDown. The July 12th episode of RAW will be the final ThunderDome show, however, will be taped the week prior.— WrestleVotes (@WrestleVotes) June 28, 2021
This doesn’t necessarily mean those last shows will be phoned in. Money in the Bank is the Sunday after SmackDown in Houston, so the live July 9 and pre-taped July 12 shows will have to build to the first PPV with fans since April’s WrestleMania 37. We’ve already seen them bring Edge back, so they’re not holding all the big guns for the return of crowds.
But it’s kind of fitting that our goodbye to the ThunderDome won’t even be live. As cool a workaround for holding shows during COVID lockdowns as it was, it was never the same as the real thing.