After one more week, WWE will finally leave behind the Thunderdome and venture out on tour, spreading joy (and hopefully nothing other than joy) to the WWE Universe live and in person. Naturally, that will warrant a new set, especially as the current set for Raw and Smackdown is built around the walls of LED video screens that makes up the Thunderdome. But while you can take WWE Raw and Smackdown out of the Thunderdome, as it turns out, maybe you can't take the Thunderdome out of Raw and Smackdown.
Stephanie McMahon was interviewed by spice-of-life-themed Hollywood trade rag Variety, and she made some bold promises about what fans can expect from WWE's new sets.
"In the ThunderDome, we were able to experiment with different types of technology," said the WWE exec. "And we needed to over-deliver for our partners and our fans watching at home. But now we have the ability to apply all of those learnings to the live event experience with our fans. So from a production and storytelling standpoint, it will look and feel different."
"We're going to have a new set design, a new presentation of our talents, different locations, and arena setups," she continued. "We're going to be utilizing augmented reality in a way that we never have before. We experimented with it a lot during Thunderdome, but it is now going to be incorporated into our talent entrances. There's also going to be animated graphics. It's going to be so exciting and so different than anything we've done before."
Well, different doesn't necessarily mean better… but in a company where predictability and boredom are the biggest weaknesses, it can't hurt to shake things up a little bit, can it? It will also be interesting to see how WWE will take what they learned from experimenting with technology during the Thunderdome Era and apply it to live shows. Maybe whenever the crowd starts to boo someone they're supposed to cheer, WWE can drop video screens from the ceiling and pipe in the fake crowd noise again? Now that would truly be exciting.