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WWE’s ThunderDome set will move to USF’s Yuengling Center

WWE’s Raw, Smackdown and PPV events will have a new home starting April 12.
The first WWE broadcast from Tropicana Field was the Friday Night SmackDown show on Dec. 11, shown here. The ThunderDome set will relocate from the Trop to the Yuengling Center on USF's campus starting April 12.
The first WWE broadcast from Tropicana Field was the Friday Night SmackDown show on Dec. 11, shown here. The ThunderDome set will relocate from the Trop to the Yuengling Center on USF's campus starting April 12. [ WWE ]
Published Mar. 24
Updated Mar. 24

WWE will relocate its ThunderDome set next month, but it won’t be going far, moving from one side of Tampa Bay to the other.

The set where WWE’s Monday Night Raw, Friday Night SmackDown and pay-per-view events are produced is moving from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg to USF’s Yuengling Center in Tampa.

The ThunderDome’s residency at the Yuengling Center will begin April 12 for the Monday Night Raw show, which is right after Raymond James Stadium hosts WrestleMania 37 on April 10-11.

The move will end a four-month stay at the Trop, which began Dec. 12. The Rays will need the venue now that their regular season is approaching. It is unclear how long the ThunderDome set will reside at the Yuengling Center, but the first pay-per-view event produced there will be the Money In The Bank show scheduled for mid-May.

Related: Inside the ThunderDome: WWE's temporary Tampa Bay home

The Tampa Bay area has been an ideal temporary base during the pandemic, since many WWE wrestlers live here. The ThunderDome set initially was housed at Amway Arena in Orlando but had to leave in December because the NBA’s Magic and ECHL’s Solar Bears were beginning their seasons.

The set, which will remain closed to the public, features rows of LED boards where roughly 1,000 fans can virtually enter the arena. There also are lasers, spotlights, pyrotechnics and drones to create a more elaborate viewing spectacle on television.

“WWE takes great pride in providing our fans and network partners with cutting-edge production and one of the most interactive atmospheres in all of television every single week,” said Kevin Dunn, WWE’s executive producer & chief, global television production. “We look forward to the next iteration of the WWE ThunderDome at Yuengling Center as we continue to take the fan experience to a whole new level.”

More than 650,000 fans internationally have registered to be part of ThunderDome, signing up for their virtual seats online at WWEThunderDome.com or through WWE’s social media pages on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Kevin Preast, executive vice president of event management for Vinik Sports Group, which owns the Lightning and manages Amalie Arena and the Yuengling Center, said that “hosting WWE ThunderDome is another step towards a full return of hosting more events in the area.”

Related: WrestleMania to be held at 36 percent capacity at Raymond James Stadium

“WWE has always been a highlight of our event mix, and bringing this world-class residency to Yuengling Center only strengthens our relationship,” Preast said in a statement.

Contact Eduardo A. Encina at eencina@tampabay.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard.