SummerSlam, WWE’s marquee pay-per-view event, will be shown in theatres for the first time this year on August 21.

SummerSlam, WWE’s marquee pay-per-view event, will be screened in movie theatres for the first time this year. SummerSlam, billed as the “largest party of the summer,” debuted in 1988 and has since been a staple of WWE’s calendar as one of the “big four” events, along with the Royal Rumble, Survivor Series, and WrestleMania, with SummerSlam being the second most popular after ‘Mania. While no matches have been scheduled for the event, it is widely assumed that John Cena would return to the arena to fight reigning Universal Champion Roman Reigns. At the conclusion of last Sunday’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view event, Cena confronted Reigns, clearly mocking him.

Despite the COVID-19 epidemic, WWE continued to broadcast its Raw, Smackdown, and NXT shows on a weekly basis. The firm began filming in an empty stadium at their Orlando, Florida, performance centre before relocating to the specially built ThunderDome arena, which allowed fans to virtually attend via live video on LCD displays. Wrestlemania 37 in Tampa drew a small crowd, but WWE only recently begun staging live events with people in attendance on July 16th for a 25-city tour.

When WWE’s SummerSlam takes place at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, it will be the organization’s largest event since the outbreak began, since it will be the first time the company has conducted a SummerSlam event at an NFL stadium. In addition to being available on pay-per-view, WWE has collaborated with Iconic Events Releasing to screen SummerSlam in theatres across the United States, according to Variety. SummerSlam is a flagship event that deserves to be seen on the huge screen, with big sound, in an auditorium full of passionate spectators, according to Iconic CEO Steve Bunnell.

While the decision to screen SummerSlam in cinemas was unexpected, it was not entirely unexpected. Not just in professional wrestling, but in a variety of sports, the rate of pay-per-view purchases has been progressively falling over the last decade. WWE Network, the company’s own streaming network, was recently shut down after seven years, with membership rates much below projections. Instead, WWE has been experimenting with different distribution options, most recently partnering with NBC’s Peacock streaming service in the United States – but many fans have complained about technical challenges when watching WWE’s major events on the service. As a result, it makes sense.In order to maximise audience and revenue, WWE would like to work with a firm like Iconic to deliver their biggest events to theatres.

The recent epidemic has taken a toll on movie theatres, and studios like Disney aren’t helping matters by simultaneously releasing films on streaming platforms like Disney+ and in cinemas. However, if sporting events like SummerSlam can help theatres counteract this decline, then that’s a good thing. Furthermore, as Bunnell points out, sporting events, particularly wrestling bouts, are best enjoyed in a large crowd, so the chance to do so in an auditorium packed with fellow fans will be tempting. This could be a test run, but if it goes well, it could become a regular feature for both WWE and movie theatres around the country.

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