The arena, which is located at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, will host the last event on this date, before WWE prepares for WrestleMania week elsewhere.
Tropicana Field is home to MLB team the Tampa Bay Rays, who have their first game of the season just one day before night one of 'Mania, April 9. As reported by Alba on Twitter, part of the venue is already being converted back in preparation for this fixture.
"Source: #WWE's ThunderDome residency at Tropicana Field is set to end after the Smackdown taping on April 2, as of now. Conversion of the stadium back to baseball setup has already begun in some areas where possible.
#Rays first home game is April 9. #MLB #RaysUp"
As a result of this, SmackDown's April 2 and April 9 episodes will be pre-recorded at the arena, with the company shooting back-to-back days on April 1 and April 2 for these shows - this according to RingsideNews.
The plan is to air the April 2 taping on Friday, the same day they'll tape the following week's episode. The reasoning behind this is due to costs and it's arguably the biggest week in the wrestling calendar for the company.
The new location for the WWE is being reported to be the Yuengling Center in Tampa, with Alba adding:
"As I reported last week, #WWE is expected to remain in the Tampa-area once its ThunderDome residency is up at Tropicana Field. The expectation, per multiple sources, is they will go to #USF's Yuengling Cente
The move comes right as #WrestleMania week kicks off."
It is expected that the April 5 RAW before 'Mania will be aired at another venue to the ThunderDome, with Alba stating:
"I did ask about the possibility of #WWE extending the stay to April 5 to tape that night's RAW, but was told the understanding is April 2 is a hard out.
So either the April 5 and April 9 pre #WrestleMania tapings would be pre-taped, or would be at a different venue. #Rays #MLB"
What do you think of WWE pre-taping two SmackDown episodes before WrestleMania?News Now - Sport News