After running shows in an empty arena, the WWE will hold SummerSlam in the ‘Thunderdome,’ and Alexa Bliss tells us EXCLUSIVELY why those virtual fans should be prepared for anything.
“I am so excited,” Alexa Bliss says EXCLUSIVELY to HollywoodLife ahead of WWE’s SummerSlam. The Aug. 23 event, taking place at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, will be the first major event held in the “ThunderDome,” a self-described “state-of-the-art-set” boasting an array of LED screens that will broadcast the live reaction of fans watching at home. For WWE Superstars like Alexa, this will mark the first major chance for them to wrestle with a fan presence. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the WWE has filmed Raw, SmackDown and NXT in its Performance Center in Orlando.
“We have been lucky to have The Performance Center,” Alexa tells HollywoodLife, “and still be able to film content [there]. But, the ThunderDome will be awesome because it is going to bring the whole spectacle of Monday Night Raw and Friday Night Smackdown and any pay-per-views. We have drones now that will be filming, bigger pyro, we have our trons back, and I am really excited as we will have a virtual crowd. I am really excited for that. We have missed the fans so much. We haven’t had any kind of fan interaction in months, so I am really excited.”
No. We're not creeped out at all.
— WWE on FOX (@WWEonFOX) August 15, 2020
“I personally miss the crowds,” she adds. “For me, a lot of my character and what I have developed over the past seven years has been based purely on crowd reaction — whether it was the ‘What’ chant during my promos or reacting to people booing me. So, for me, it is great to have a crowd back in one way shape or form.” Alexa also noted that having NXT Superstars attend Raw and SmackDown in a socially-distant crowd – standing six feet apart and behind protective barriers – has also “helped a lot, as well.”
Speaking of NXT, the WWE’s developmental system has prepped Superstars like Alexa for a moment like this. “One way we practiced our matches while I was in NXT and before in FCW, I remember we would have less than four people at a show,” continued Alexa. “One time, we had two [people attending], and one of them was my Mom, so it was kind of the same thing.”
The 3x-Raw WWE Women’s Champion does see a silver lining to this no-fan situation. “I feel like it helps my in-ring cardio,” she tells HollywoodLife, “because when you have a fanbase there and fan interaction, your adrenaline is going so high and you don’t realize what is going on. But, when there is no adrenaline and no crowd reaction, you are running straight on cardio, and how you prepared for the match, so I feel like it has helped me in that sense.”
Alexa doesn’t have an official match on the SummerSlam card, but she’s been involved in a bit of a twisted love triangle involving WWE Universal Champion Braun Strowman and the former champion Bray Wyatt (aka The Fiend.) The two had a Wyatt Swamp Fight at The Horror Show at Extreme Rules in July, during which an illusion of Alexa appeared. She and Braun had teamed up for the first season of WWE’s Mixed Match Challenge, and this illusion implied they were more than tag-team partners. Yet, when The Fiend attacked her during the Aug. 7 episode of SmackDown, she showed affection towards him. The following week, a changed Braun attacked Alexa in an attempt to lure out Wyatt.
Does this mean Alexa is going to be a part of the Universal Championship match at SummerSlam? “You know, that is the thing,” she tells HollywoodLife. “Honestly, anything can happen. The Bray and Braun stuff — I didn’t know it was going to happen until I was told that I was going to film stuff for the Swamp Match, the Sister Abigail stuff. That is the best thing about the WWE: you never know what is going to happen or who could show up. So, it is one of those things that, honestly, I will find out when I get there! So, everyone will have to tune in and see.”
WWE’s SummerSlam, featuring the WWE ThunderDome, will take place at the Amway Center in Orlando on Aug. 23 at 7 pm ET on the WWE Network.
And to hear more from Alexa Bliss, make sure to catch her on Uncool with Alexa Bliss, a new podcast series debuting on Tuesday, September 22. Hosted by WWE Superstar Alexa Bliss, the podcast will transport listeners back in time when Bliss and her guests discuss their most nostalgic, cringeworthy and laugh out loud moments from before their fame and success. Listen to the trailer here.