If you happen to spot a WWE superstar like Asuka, Drew McIntyre or even the Tribal Chief Roman Reigns hanging around the USF campus for the next few months, well there’s a reason why.
News officially broke on Wednesday that beginning on April 12, the WWE will be taking residency at the Yuengling Center on USF’s campus, broadcasting their Monday Night Raw, Friday Night Smackdown and ppv events from the arena for the foreseeable future.
Unable to do shows in front of live crowds last year due to the global pandemic, the WWE unveiled the “Thunderdome” concept last summer, an interactive experience where the stage and ring is surrounded by LED boards that virtually bring fans into the arena. They originally set up shop at the Amway Center in Orlando before moving out in December due to the start of the NBA season. Since, they’ve been at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg where they will leave once the MLB season begins.
Rumblings began last month that the sports entertainment organization was in talks with the Yuengling Center to take up residency come April and now it’s set in stone that they’ll make the switch after the two-night Wrestlemania at Raymond James Stadium.
As of now, WWE will still limit these shows to staff and essential personnel but one could imagine them gradually letting in small crowds over the summer as they inch towards performing in front of fans again.
As for the Yuengling Center and USF, details about financial compensation haven’t been released just yet but certainly having your facilities and campus featured in front of a national audience each week is a hell of way for free advertisement.
“WWE has always been a highlight of our event mix and bringing this world-class residency to Yuengling Center only strengthens our relationship,” said Kevin Preast, executive vice president of event management at Vinik Sports Group. “Hosting WWE ThunderDome is another step towards a full return of hosting more events in the area.”
The Yuengling Center, previously known as the Sun Dome, hosted several wrestling tapings and events in the early to mid-90’s, most notably the 1995 Royal Rumble where Shawn Michaels became the first person to win the Rumble from No. 1 and Lawrence Taylor officially began his WrestleMania 11 feud with Bam Bam Bigelow.
Now that the Thunderdome is officially coming, you can bet that we’ll have some ideas for what they can do while on the USF campus. The Temple Terrace Federation is here y’all...