WWE: ThunderDome residency extended ‘at least four weeks’

WWE (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
WWE (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

The WWE will remain at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida for at least four more weeks according to news breaking on Monday about the ThunderDome residency.

News broke on Monday that the WWE is extending it is deal with the Amway Center in Orlando to continue hosting the ThunderDome where Monday Night Raw and SmackDown are taped. This comes after rumblings that the company was pushing toward launching a travel schedule as the United States and the rest of the world is still gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic.

PWInsider reported the news first that the plan is to extend the residency at the Amway Center for at least another four weeks. The original deal was set to end on October 31.

This comes at a time when Florida is still being hit by rising numbers in both new COVID-19 cases and deaths. Governor Ron DeSantis announced that sports leagues are open to host events at full capacity, but none has started to make that move yet.

The WWE itself continues to have issues with COVID-19 outbreaks, such as the recent issue that hampered tapings that were scheduled for September 9. That alone is enough reason to outright question the validity of trying to travel at a time where much of the country is still struggling to deal with the illness. A comparable organization, the UFC, has yet to take their promotion back on the road either. Instead, the UFC is hosting events in two locations – either their UFC APEX, which is akin to the WWE Performance Center, or traveling to Abu Dhabi for “Fight Island” where the recent slate of events are being held.

Led by Vince McMahon, the WWE has continued to try to find ways to host events with fans in attendance. The recent NXT TakeOver 31 had fans ringside in a pod-like format. As SummerSlam approached back in August, there were rumors about hosting the event outside, which were eventually nixed as well.

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The WWE should put a pause on getting back on the road and having fans back in the arena until safety measures have improved. The National Basketball Association just held 172 games in three months in the NBA Bubble without a single positive coronavirus test. There are steps that the WWE can take to help build trust in safety protocols, but leadership seems to be unable to implement the needed changes. With that in mind, going back on the road during a global pandemic needs to be off the table.