That’s Not Wrestling #11: No More WWE Thunderdome!

That’s Not Wrestling #11: No More WWE Thunderdome!

The WWE’s (World Wrestling Entertainment) wrestling division is currently in the hands of Vince McMahon, who has been running the company since 1993. His son-in-law, Paul Levesque, is the Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative. Talent, in this case, doesn’t mean wrestlers, but rather the promotion’s onscreen talent, who are represented by the performers’ union, WWE Talent. Levesque has been known as Triple H, and he’s helped make the WWE a success.

We’re back with our latest That’s Not Wrestling! A couple weeks back, we covered a match where the guy was oblivious to the fact that the two women he was facing were buck naked, and fought in front of Blue Meanie.

That’s Not Wrestling #11 : No more WWE Thunderdome!


Welcome and thank you for coming! A few years ago, it seemed the planets were aligned for a fantastic change in professional wrestling. Everyone was talking about a brilliant new promotion with a TV contract and serious, sports wrestling. Finally, the life of the modern wrestling fan, who had to eat shit and learn to love the taste, was over. Or is it? We meet here every Thursday to dissect the actions of stupid, dangerous and desperate people in the pro….. struggle. Well, at least in AEW WWE (this week).

It’s true. I’ll take a week to stop kicking the nearly dead horse that is AEW. I’m a little angry and want to give him a chance to at least get back on his feet before I start messing with him again. AEW has gone through ten issues and there are still problems – one of which is that people are still shouting that AEW is not the aforementioned nearly dead horse, but in fact a valuable pony. The other problem is that no matter how talented the people AEW signs are, AEW always fills its roster with former WWE talent. Not a good idea if you don’t want to be labeled as WWE-Lite, TNA Impact 2.0 or an ode to the end of WCW.

As already stated, I am not a fan of WWE Thunderdome. In fact, I videotaped it once or twice. But today is not a day to be sad, it is a day to celebrate! The day has finally come that WWE Thunderdome will no longer exist!

I know it sounds redundant to say this, but I know what Vince McMahon is and what he and the WWE are capable of. Just because the Thunderdome is supposedly tucked away in a corner of the warehouse somewhere, doesn’t mean it won’t be taken out and put back in to boost ratings. We need to be vigilant and make sure he never enters the world again, and I’m here to put a sign on the wall about the damage he has done and may do in the future ….. just to politely remind you.

AEW, for example, immediately becomes more attractive thanks to its live shows with a large audience. While they may be a little drunk and/or blinded by love, while some of them are over-the-top assholes, the sound of their real voices and reactions only confirms how malleable and abrasive the WWE product is right now, and it automatically makes AEW look better in comparison. Tony Khan even did the right thing by not mimicking WWE’s attempt to replace the live audience.

The last episode of Monday Night Raw was apparently the last time we were subjected to a sensory assault that got an A for effort but a D for execution. I was still watching all the wrestling I had time for when the era of empty arenas began, and I was willing to give the new system a chance. It was a good idea to fill the void of live fans by offering the look and sound of the real thing. However, it soon became clear that the tool could (and would) be used to capture WWE’s production, plastic environment and presentation.

The reaction of the fans (albeit with a slight delay) was much better than that of the wrestlers working in complete silence and alone; I couldn’t agree more. Many people commented that WrestleMania 37 felt like two nights of heavy breathing and grunting. I also had the impression of seeing an unfinished product. The pre-selection and use of supporters on the basis of a questionnaire they fill in to find out who they will be supporting and cheering for opens the door to all sorts of machinations.

WWE has been playing with fake fan noise during Smackdown pre-shots for years, so it was no surprise to me to see them. After a few visits, however, I realized that over time, new fans would no longer be needed for Thunderdome events. A database of the various fan reactions was created and made available on demand, and Vince was finally able to control and present the perfect product to this new legendary audience he had been pursuing for years.

Aside from the blatant duplication WWE likes to use at the same time, how on earth are you supposed to concentrate on the action when there is so much noise and distraction? My eyes!

I’m sure Vince will make a face when fans boo or support someone when they shouldn’t have. At the Thunderdome, he didn’t have to worry about fans inappropriately interacting with Roman Raines; Vince’s appropriate responses were simply activated by pressing a button on the sound bar. I’m also sure Vince doesn’t miss the CM Punk chant at all. And why would he do that? His supernatural sounding resonator of joy created this song Drew, Drew, Drew is so great!

The show at the Thunderdome looks more like a wrestling video game than a live wrestling show. The looping animation of the audience, the same sound clips in response to the same events – if it were up to Vince, he could micromanage and sterilize the fight even more than he already does.

Needless to say, this is not possible, and not for this unique event. As I’ve said before, the WWE already makes clever use of 3D graphics in their arenas; it’s only a matter of time before it gets even weirder. We started with the name of the event and the location, then we played cards, and if we let it go, it would be worse than Matt Riddle’s pigeons. Oh, wait…

I almost forgot that they teleported Paul Birer to join the Undertaker. It was a nice moment, but I feel like my emotions were played out to get someone’s foot in the door. The next step in this creation of a made-up universe would be for him (or any other WWE character) to mentor someone in the ring. Once that’s established, it’s only a matter of time before holograms become competitive and the WWE comes up with all sorts of nonsense to survive. Does anyone support a Royal Rumble with 100 people, including everyone and anyone from past and present? It would be like leaving one of the video games in demo mode.

I doubt this would be too difficult to implement. Given the body scan the WWE puts their talent through to create their characters and video games, I can well imagine Vince McMahon wanting to use someone else’s likeness after he leaves the company. Obviously this only applies to a few specific instances where he would be interested, but if he has the character and the scans, I can’t imagine Vince wouldn’t try to work it out.

We’re almost done. Are all those who weren’t convinced before now convinced that WWE Thunderdome has outlived its usefulness? Very good. If I can’t trust someone who has a definite no ready when asked if they want to give back that crappy house, then I guess there’s only one plan I can trust: Randy Orton fought him.

And if we need to soften it up first, we can always ask Tony Han to set up camp and use it as a cave for a while. It’s only a matter of time before it spreads everywhere and hits the office environment with a baseball bat.

Speaking of which, back to Tony and AEW next time!

That’s it for this week. Thank you for visiting. Don’t forget to check out Putting It Bluntly: Review of AEW Double or Nothing on my YouTube channel. See you Monday at #AnotherWeekOfWrestling and next Thursday at #ThatsNotWrestling!

The background was designed by Rachel Hope.

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