WWE ratings have been in the crapper lately, part of a trend of declining interest in the company's product that's been consistently happening for about twenty years. But finally, WWE has found the solution turn things around: virtual fans. We've previously reported on the company's plans to set up a residency at the Amway Center, a basketball arena in Orlando, Florida, to film Raw, SmackDown, and PPVs from now on without any fans in attendance. You might be wondering why they would pay money to film in an empty building when they have a perfectly empty building of their own, the Performance Center, to film at for free.
Well, the WWE Performance Center, you see, is the reason for the low ratings, according to WWE. For one thing, Vince McMahon believes people just don't like "the darkness." For another, the Performance Center does not have giant LED walls filled with virtual fans cheering and booing for the show over video conference. But the Amway Center will have these things as WWE builds a set it's calling "The ThunderDome."
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 starting this Friday, Aug. 21 on FOX, kicking off SummerSlam Weekend.
With the debut of WWE ThunderDome, WWE will take residency at Amway Center in Orlando and virtually bring fans into the arena via live video on massive LED boards, in conjunction 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 can register for their virtual seat to be part of upcoming shows via www.WWEThunderDome.com or at WWE's Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages.
"WWE has (camera cut) a long history of (camera cut) producing (camera cut) the (camera cut) greatest (camera cut) live spectacles in sports (camera cut) and entertainment (camera cut), yet nothing (camera cut) compares (camera cut) to what we are creating (camera cut) with WWE (camera cut) ThunderDome (camera cut)," said executive vice president of television production Kevin Dunn in a press release. "This structure (camera cut) will enable (camera cut) us to deliver (camera cut) an immersive (camera cut) atmosphere (camera cut) and generate more excitement (camera cut) amongst the millions (camera cut) of fans (camera cut) watching (camera cut) our (camera cut) programming (camera cut) around the world (violently shake camera)."
In addition to the ThunderDome, a wall of giant LED screens showing live fans on which it will be utterly shocking if we don't see at least one exposed dick (and we're not talking about Seth Rollins), WWE will also be able to do pyro in the Amway Center. All of this should turn around that ratings slump that Raw and SmackDown have been suffering from lickety-split.
What's that you ask? How will this turn around the ratings when they were falling even before the pandemic when WWE had plenty of pyro and arenas (half) full of fans in attendance? Shhhhhhhhhhh.