WWE is set to debut "WWE Thunderdome" this Friday on SmackDown and use it for all future events including Raw and pay-per-views. It will add back the spectacle of WWE events complete with nearly 1,000 LED boards featuring virtual fans, pyrotechnics and drone cameras to add to the production quality.
Events will look and sound much differently than they did airing from the Performance Center over the last five months. Booker T discussed this new experience on "The Hall of Fame with Booker T and Brad Gilmore."
"The rumor's been flying around for the last couple of weeks because they did not want to have the PPV [SummerSlam] inside the PC. And I totally understand that and being able to use a lot of the props that WWE has – the PC is just not big enough to pull something off like that. But doing this at an arena at Amway is gonna be something different," Booker said before noting another addition that moving to an arena enables.
"One thing we haven't had in quite some time is pyro. The entrances of the guys is definitely something that's been lacking. Having that pyrotechnics effect is gonna give the show a different feel as well."
Booker T said while watching NBA games, which also use fans on LED screens, he feels that he's watching a pickup game at a high school gym and is missing the fan interaction. The WWE is going a step further than the NBA by implementing audio into their broadcasts that is mixed with the virtual fans.
Thus, fan chants that you would normally hear in a packed arena will also be heard by the viewers watching on TV. This and the other effects being added in should create a much different atmosphere for SummerSlam than what fans saw for WrestleMania in the PC.
"No doubt it has to, just being in that atmosphere and arena. It's definitely gonna feel different. With myself being there live for a panel and being able to put on a nice suit – I'm looking forward to doing that part there," revealed Booker. "I must say it is something you're still a little leery about. I'm definitely gonna be taking precautions as far as what I'm gonna be doing while I'm there. I'm gonna make sure I'm still social distancing and doing everything properly. I've got to take a COVID test and then quarantine for a day. So, it's a lot involved with going along with this thing for me to actually make it there. So, I've gotta do my part."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Hall of Fame with Booker T and Brad Gilmore with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.