The WWE ThunderDome residency at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida is coming to an end after next week as the company prepares for WrestleMania 37 Week.
WWE has a final set of tapings scheduled for Friday, April 2, which will require several pre-tapes, according to POST Wrestling and Jon Alba of Spectrum Sports. WWE’s final date at Tropicana Field will be Friday, April 2.
Alba notes that some areas of Tropicana Field is already being converted back to the baseball setup as the MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays will have their first home game on Friday, April 9.
Due to the timing of the Tropicana Field departure, WWE will be taping the go-home edition of RAW for Monday, April 5, and the go-home edition of SmackDown for Friday, April 9.
It was reported by Ringside News that WWE plans to tape the April 2 SmackDown show on Thursday, April 1, and then tape the WrestleMania 37 go-home edition of SmackDown, airing on April 9, on Friday, April 2, the week before it airs.
It was noted that WWE is taping SmackDown this way for “lots of reasons” including costs and the fact that it’s WrestleMania Week. The episodes are not being taped out of order, but they are airing the April 2 episode on the same day they are taping the April 9 episode.
The WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremonies for the 2020 and 2021 Classes will also be taped over two days at Tropicana Field before WWE wraps up the residency. It was recently reported by Fightful Select that the Hall of Fame ceremonies would be taped the Tuesday (March 30) and Thursday (April 1) before they air on Tuesday, April 6 via Peacock and the WWE Network.
It’s been reported that WWE will be taking the ThunderDome set up to the Yuengling Center on the University of South Florida campus in Tampa, Florida. There’s no word yet on details of the Yuengling Center residency, or how long WWE will be there.
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. It’s been reported that WWE wanted to keep the ThunderDome in or near the Tampa area.
WWE’s first ThunderDome residency was at the Amway Center in Orlando, which began last August. They then moved to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg on December 11. The Yuengling Center would be the third ThunderDome residency of the COVID-19 era.
The following tapings schedule has been confirmed for the final week at Tropicana Field:
* Monday, March 29 – live RAW episode
* Tuesday, March 30 – RAW taping for April 5, WWE Hall of Fame ceremony
* Thursday, April 1 – SmackDown for April 2, WWE Hall of Fame ceremony
* Friday, April 2 – SmackDown taping for April 9
The current WrestleMania 37 Week TV schedule looks like this:
* Monday, April 5 – go-home RAW (USA Network)
* Tuesday, April 6 – WWE Hall of Fame 2020 and 2021 induction ceremonies (WWE Network/Peacock)
* Wednesday, April 7 – Takeover: Stand & Deliver Night 1 (USA Network)
* Thursday, April 8 – Takeover: Stand & Deliver Night 2 (WWE Network/Peacock)
* Thursday, April 8 – NXT UK Prelude (WWE Network/Peacock)
* Friday, April 9 – go-home SmackDown (FOX)
* Saturday, April 10 – WrestleMania 37 Night 1 (WWE Network/Peacock)
* Sunday, April 11 – WrestleMania 37 Night 2 (WWE Network/Peacock)
Stay tuned for updates.