Paul “Triple H” Levesque says WWE did indeed look into having this year’s SummerSlam on a boat, as had been reported, and that the crazy/awesome idea actually “had about as much chance as all the other options.”
But: “As you can imagine, things on a boat aren’t quite so easy,” Levesque told TheWrap on a Wednesday conference call ahead of the latest “NXT” weekly episode. “Even just the motion of the water.”
Here’s the former WWE Superstar’s full answer to our SummerSlam-on-a-boat question: “So every option was looked into… I think that option had about as much chance as all the other options. Everything was looked into across the board, of any way that we can come back to doing what we do safely and in the best way possible. As you can imagine, things on a boat aren’t quite so easy, I would imagine. You know, even just the motion of the water and anything else. So there’s issues with everything across the board.”
Instead, WWE went with the “ThunderDome” residence at Orlando’s Amway Center, where “SmackDown,” “Raw” and main-roster pay-per-views will take place “for the foreseeable future,” one company insider told TheWrap.
Fans will be able to “attend” the arena, virtually, via video boards. Levesque, a many-time champion, founding member of DX (D-Generation X) and current executive vice president of WWE’s global talent strategy & development, promised the setup will knock our wrestling boots off.
“I think that when you see the ThunderDome concept, when you see ‘SmackDown,’ when you see ‘SumerSlam’ in that environment, I think you’re going to understand why we went in the direction that we did,” he said. “It’s spectacular. I think it’s different from anything anybody else is doing out there, the level of it.”
“I think you have read or heard stuff that Kevin Dunn has said about it. You know, one thing about Kevin’s team, they never cease to amaze me,” Levesque, who founded and runs WWE’s NXT wrestling brand, added. “So usually when they tell me something is going to be ‘spectacular’ and then I see it in person, I’m like, ‘Wow, you completely undersold it.’ So I think when you get there and you see it, you will understand why we went in the direction we did. Because even if you did it on a boat, there’s no fans, there’s nobody there. So I think that that weighs in as a factor as well.”
TheWrap has actually seen a bit of Dunn’s concept, and now our readers can too. A worker inside of the Amway Center sent us the above video of the setup, which is getting ready ahead of Friday’s “SmackDown” on Fox.
Yes, it’s vertical — not everyone is a professional cameraman.
“NXT” airs Wednesdays from 8 to 10 p.m. on USA Network. “SmackDown” occupies the same hours Fridays on Fox’s broadcast network, and “Raw” runs from 8-11 Mondays on USA.
In addition to his weekly “NXT” show, the former Hunter Hearst Helmsley held the conference call to promote the 30th “NXT Takeover,” Saturday’s “NXT Takeover XXX,” which begins at 7/6c on streaming service WWE Network.
“SummerSlam” starts the next night at 7/6c on WWE Network. Both pay-per-view events technically have a one-hour preview show beginning at 6 p.m. ET.