WWE was one of the few companies to continue production throughout most of the pandemic in 2020, albeit with an absence of fans.

From a television perspective, that certainly changed the product; sports entertainment just felt a bit empty without the live audience, which for wrestling functions as a character in itself, and one that’s nearly as important as the actual wrestlers. AEW got around that with minimal fans thanks to an outdoor setup, and WWE turned to the Thunderdome, adding dozens and dozens of screens to allow for virtual fans and a backdrop more dynamic than tarped over seats.

That certainly helped; wrestling in an empty arena really exposed some of the cringier bits, at times feeling like a sparsely attended community theater production. Now, though, WWE plans a resumption of live touring for Raw, SmackDown, and some pay-per-views throughout the summer.

That’s via a WWE press release, which notes the company’s first stops will be in Texas:

WWE will return to live event touring with a 25-city schedule through Labor Day. The tour will debut this July in Texas with a trio of shows:

  • Friday, July 16: SmackDown – Toyota Center in Houston
  • Sunday, July 18: Money In The Bank – Dickies Arena in Fort Worth
  • Monday, July 19: Raw – American Airlines Center in Dallas

Tickets for the live events in Houston, Fort Worth and Dallas go on sale this Wednesday, May 26 at 11 am ET.

Additional tour stops and on-sale dates will be announced in the coming weeks.

Starting with a pay-per-view weekend makes sense, as it allows for three marquee nights in one general area. As Deadline noted, WWE has been hoping to get back to live events, for obvious reasons:

During an earnings call with Wall Street analysts to discuss the quarter, Chief Revenue Officer Nick Khan said returning to live events would be a milestone.

“The fans are our fourth wall, if you will. We know immediately from them what’s working and what’s not working,” he said. “To get live fans back and to get our performers in front of them, we yearn for that as much as our performers do, and we think it’s going to have a direct impact on all parts of our business in an overwhelmingly positive way.”

“From a fan engagement perspective, we’re really looking forward to getting out on the road again,” CFO Kristina Salen added on the earnings call.

But just from a presentation standpoint, irrespective of WWE’s revenue goals, having fans in attendance makes for a much more appealing, organic product. That can only help. Hopefully WWE can get back to business as usual as quickly and as safely as possible.


About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a columnist at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer. He is probably talking to a dog in a silly voice at this very moment.