WWE was forced to get very creative during the COVID-19 lockdowns that kept fans out of arenas starting in early 2020. The promotion came up with the idea of the “ThunderDome,” a set that involved virtual fans who could react to the show live without being in the building. Many decried the entire pandemic era as not having the same energy as when fans were in the building.
Sami Zayn counts himself among those who enjoyed the ThunderDome. Zayn believes the company was forced to find new, creative ways of presenting professional wrestling on TV. Sami said he is proud that his match with Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania never felt like the arena was empty, despite the ThunderDome not even being set up yet.
Speaking with Ryan Satin on Out of Character, Sami Zayn shared his thoughts on the strange time in wrestling history. While he loves performing for the fans, Sami said he enjoyed the ThunderDome. He doesn’t think WWE took full advantage of the situation, though.
“I loved the ThunderDome era. It’s an unpopular opinion, I know, especially because I love the fans. And I’m not going to say that all the time but I do, I really have a deep love for all of you really. Very profound, really, really it means so much to me and I know how lucky we are to spend this time together, it’s a miracle that we’re all here, it really is so I don’t take that lightly.
However, not having [the fans] there throughout the ThunderDome opened the door for some new creative ways to do things, which I personally, in my opinion, don’t think we as a company took full advantage of. We still tried to present the show as if fans were there but they weren’t there, especially before the ThunderDome, when it was in the empty PC.
That’s why some of it felt so weird, and part of the reason why I’m such a fan of my match with Daniel Bryan. I know it’s not exactly what you’d expect when you see on paper: Sami Zayn vs. Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania for the Intercontinental Championship, you’re expecting one thing. I know it wasn’t that and I would’ve loved to have had that, but the thing I’m so proud of is if you watch that match back, it never feels weird like it’s in an empty arena.”
Now that fans are back, the ThunderDome hopefully will not have to be revisited. There is more energy in the building with a live crowd. Sami Zayn tried to make the best of a bad situation and ended up enjoying the process.
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H/T Wrestling Inc.