August 21 is here which means WWE fans can see the new Thunderdome arena (aka the elaborate set at Orlando’s Amway Center) and I for one can’t wait. Is it because of the fantastic action the WWE delivers or its world-class drama? Of course not, the WWE has been a train wreck for the last few years and I can’t help but wonder what three-ring circus Vince McMahon will air to save the WWE’s wretched ratings.
The August 21 SmackDown will likely be one hot-shotting segment after another whether it’s run-in’s, surprise appearances, wrestler returns, or repeated shots of the undoubtedly awesome Thunderdome. However, the shitshow spectacle will be seriously lacking in substance and I’m eager to see just how empty the show is. Don’t get me wrong, SmackDown will pop a good rating, but unless there are some serious changes to the product itself, the ratings rise won’t last long.
As the WWE Universe knows, the promotion has relocated to a full-size arena after months of holding its shows at the WWE Performance Center, a move of course, necessitated by the Coronapocalypse. While the WWE and its fans have a valid point that the WWE programming has suffered due to the lack of fans, the real problem (as ever) has been the same thing that’s ruined the WWE product-Vince McMahon.
Vince McMahon is as out of touch as ever and for whatever reason, feels he has his finger on the pulse of the fans, despite record low ratings for RAW and disappointing ratings for SmackDown. McMahon has taken the art of making cosmetic changes to his product to new heights, whether it’s bringing in Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff as creative executive directors for RAW and SmackDown last year, creating the Wild Card Rule, or his latest creation, the Thunderdome arena.
To be honest, the concept of the Thunderdome arena is intriguing. Creating a venue complete with superior production values, an elaborate set, and virtual fans is going to get the fans’ interest, especially ones turned off by the WWE’s dull Performance Center. The problem is that eventually the fans will either stay or leave because of the wrestling product. Regrettably, for Vince McMahon, he’s got a horrendous history over the last five years of failing to produce a consistently entertaining product. Given the WWE’s level of talent, there will always be some great matches, but in terms of storylines, things are all over the place. Until that changes, the Thunderdome won’t do anything in the long term to improve the WWE product. Instead, it will be Vinnie Mac’s latest attempt to polish a turd.
Make no mistake about it, the Thunderdome is going to be what Shakespeare called, “a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.” Yes, the Bard was talking about life in his masterpiece, Macbeth, but it’s equally apropos here.