WWE 2K22 is likely still two to three months away from a release date, but that isn't slowing anyone down from speculating on what's coming this year.
While many are focused on what kind of graphics we'll see in WWE 2K22 or what the ratings might turn out to be, they're forgetting that the ThunderDome must be there too.
'WWE 2K22 has more important things to fix,' you're thinking
With the abysmal release of WWE 2K20 still lingering in the minds of so many fans, it might seem like the ThunderDome isn't worth worrying about.
Just to try and break through the damage done by the series' last release, WWE 2K22 needs to significantly upgrade graphics, make gameplay as glitch-free as possible, and give fans something new like GM Mode or another top-notch game mode.
All of those tasks will be challenging for the team at Visual Concepts, even with the cancellation of WWE 2K21 allowing them extra time to work on the product before it's released.
Many of the issues faced by WWE 2K20 were down to timing and crunch, with developers scrambling after Yuke's departed and Visual Concepts had to take full charge on short notice.
The lack of time to polish things definitely showed, with WWE 2K20 trending at release because of hilariously horrendous glitches instead of exciting gameplay.
It was bad, and I'm sure someone thinks adding the WWE ThunderDome isn't worth their time, but keep in mind that a custom arena engine was already built into the game last year.
WWE 2K20 was bursting at the seams with hilariously absurd arenas, such as The New Day's colorful arena, the futuristic WrestleMania 2029 set, and absurdist non-traditional attempts like Hell's Colosseum, the Wyatt Swamp Compound, and Overlord's Coliseum.
There's no doubt the tech is already in WWE 2K22 for them to recreate the WWE ThunderDome, and it's something that is an absolute must.
'I don't want the ThunderDome,' you're shouting
I can already hear you screaming in the distance about how horrendous it was to watch WWE television each week with the ThunderDome rather than an actual live audience.
"We don't want to play the pandemic era," someone will surely reply, following up with complaints about how weird it was to see people on screens like that.
That's not something I'm arguing, as some episode of WWE Raw and even SmackDown become practically unwatchable in the last year, both due to the ThunderDome and poor writing.
However, the reality is that the WWE ThunderDome is now an integral part of WWE history, wrestling history, and the record of how we adapted to the global pandemic as a whole.
Just for sheer historic significance, the WWE ThunderDome belongs in WWE 2K22, but there's another aspect that could be easily overlooked.
If you did tune in to WWE at some point during the ThunderDome saga, you likely saw almost weekly moments of competitors flying through the barricade and spilling the action out into the ringside area by the screens.
WWE 2K22 has an opportunity to take this potentially sad reminder of that time and make it fun while also preserving the memory of the WWE ThunderDome.
Making it a proper custom arena could include the ability to throw your opponent over the barricade and brawl between the wall and the screens bearing barely recognizable faces of alleged humans actively enjoying what they're watching.
What better way to take out your frustration over the WWE ThunderDome and the global pandemic as a whole than smashing your opponent's face into those screens over and over again?
While progress has been made, the pandemic isn't gone, and leaving out the WWE ThunderDome makes it easier to pretend that era didn't happen and everything at WWE and worldwide is "back to normal."
WWE 2K22 can hit a lot of bases by adding the WWE ThunderDome as an arena this year, and you probably won't realize how fun it is to use in the game until you're bouncing Baron Corbin's skull off of it.