News on WWE moving the ThunderDome setup, possible new location
It looks like the WWE ThunderDome setup may be staying in the Tampa, Florida market.
The WWE ticketing department is still arranging flights to Tampa for the post-WrestleMania 37 RAW and the post-WrestleMania SmackDown, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. This indicates that the next ThunderDome location will likely be somewhere else in the Tampa market, where they are running from now for Tropicana Field.
WWE began their residency at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida on Friday, December 11, which is in the Tampa area. There is still no official word on how long the Tropicana Field residency lasts for, but it could be ending in early April.
MLB’s Tampa Bay Devil Rays are scheduled to play their home opener for the season against the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field on Friday, April 9, which is during WrestleMania 37 Weekend when WWE will be nearby at Raymond James Stadium. The Rays will then run home games all through the next week after WrestleMania. This means the final RAW at Tropicana Field could be the WrestleMania 37 go-home show on April 5. WWE would need to find a new ThunderDome location soon, and have it set up before WrestleMania, which takes place on Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April 11.
In an update, F4Wonline.com reports that WWE officials have been having talks with the Yuengling Center at the University of South Florida in Tampa. There is no confirmation that the two sides are discussing a potential residency for The ThunderDome, but the timing is interesting.
The Yuengling Center was once known as the University of South Florida Sun Dome. The venue has a capacity of 10,411 when there are no COVID-19 protocols in place. The University of South Florida currently has three teams that call the Yuengling Center home – the South Florida Bulls men’s basketball team, the South Florida Bulls women’s basketball team, and the South Florida Bulls women’s volleyball team. The teams are not currently playing due to the pandemic, so games would not be a problem for WWE.
WWE ran the Yuengling Center many years ago before there were bigger options in the area. The 1995 Royal Rumble pay-per-view was held in the arena, along with Saturday Night’s Main Event in December 1985 and SNME in December 1988.
WWE would have a short move from Tropicana Field to the Yuengling Center as the drive is around 30 minutes.
Stay tuned for more on WWE moving The ThunderDome to its new temporary home.