WWE executive Kevin Dunn shares more details on WWE ThunderDome and how the company will use virtual fans

By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE executive vice president of television production Kevin Dunn spoke with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated and shared more details regarding the production plans for the WWE ThunderDome that will debut on Friday’s Smackdown. “We can now do things production-wise that we could never otherwise do,” Dunn said. “We’re flying drones in the arena, we are putting a roof inside the Amway Center, and we’ll be able to project content onto the roof. So when a big star like Drew McIntyre comes down to the ring, the whole arena will turn into his content with lasers, pyro, smoke, projections on the top of the building and on the floor. It will be a big, beautiful entrance, better than WrestleMania.”

Dunn also spoke about how WWE will use virtual fans. “Like the NBA, we’re doing virtual fans, but we’re also creating an arena-type atmosphere,” he said. “We won’t have a flat board, we’ll have rows and rows and rows of fans. We’ll have almost 1,000 LED boards, and it will recreate the arena experience you’re used to seeing with WWE. The atmosphere will be night and day from the Performance Center. This is going to let us have a WrestleMania-level production value, and that’s what our audience expects from us. We are also going to put arena audio into the broadcast, similar to baseball, but our audio will be mixed with the virtual fans. So when fans start chants, we’ll hear them.” Read more at SI.com.

Powell’s POV: Dunn was also very honest about the state of the shows during the pandemic, stating that they “haven’t been what we’d like them to be” and thanking fans for sticking with them. Dunn seems very excited about what they have planned and I’m genuinely looking forward to seeing the debut on Friday’s Smackdown television show. This approach to virtual fans seems much better than the oddball fake fans that Fox used during their MLB coverage.

Readers Comments (2)

  1. When they say “virtual fans” I’m assuming that it’s something similar to what the AFL in Australia was doing before teams needed to move states to keep going at neutral venues. They had “fan walls” after goals via Zoom. If they use the audio from that it could be interesting.

    • The NHL and NBA are doing something similar for the time being. Way better than the creepy cardboard cutout fans that MLB went with.

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