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The Thunderdome
"Two men enter, one man leaves."

Any place that is dedicated to competition of some sort, usually involving fighting. Often the setting of the Inevitable Tournament. Sometimes, the structure itself becomes the focus of a town or location. Heck, it can even be the main focus of the culture and economy of said town.

See also Blood Sport, Gladiator Games, Tournament Arc.


  • There's one of these in an ad for Kaplan Learning Centers (paraphrased):
    Female announcer (in a swing for some reason): Behold...Algebra! And Science and Geography! (we see Anthropomorphic Personifications of them, built like brick shithouses) Who will take up their challenge?!
    (enter three unassuming junior high school kids)
    First: I will.
    Second: Me too.
    Third: So will I.

Anime and Manga
  • There's at least one fighting arena in shows like Dragon Ball Z.
  • At the beginning of Saint Seiya the heroes are drawn together to the "Galactic Tournament".
  • The junk planet in Astro Boy had one with a special energy ceiling to keep robots from escaping.
  • Tower of God: Many of the testing areas in the various different floors, including the Wineglass, the Crown Game Room, the Hide And Seek arena and the 20th floor … dormitory?

  • The Thunderdome in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, obviously.
    Dr. Dealgood: Listen all! This is the truth of it. Fighting leads to killing, and killing gets to warring. And that was damn near the death of us all. Look at us now! Busted up, and everyone talking about hard rain! But we've learned, by the dust of them all... Bartertown's learned. Now, when men get to fighting, it happens here! And it finishes here! Two men enter; one man leaves. (crowd chants "Two men enter, one man leaves" until Dealgood motions for silence) Right now, I've got two men, two men with a gut full of fear. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls... dyin' time's here.
  • Escape from New York: The Duke has an enclosed boxing ring where he forces prisoners to fight to the death with baseball bats.
  • Gladiator: Maximus becomes a gladiator and fights in the actual original Colosseum.
  • Terminal Island in the latest remake of Death Race is a massive version of this.
  • The Geonosis arena in the Star Wars prequels.
  • The Running Man is also a large-scale example.

  • The titular event in The Hunger Games has arenas that are designed and built years in advance to be used one time and one time only. Afterwards they become tourist destinations.
  • In the Deltora Quest series (and its subsequent Animated Adaptation) there is the town of Rithmere known for its annual gladiator tournaments called the Rithmere Games and Championships.

Live-Action TV

Tabletop RPG
  • In the Basic Dungeons & Dragons Known World setting, the Empire of Thyatis (which was based on the Byzantine Empire) had coliseums with gladiatorial combat.

  • LEGO:
    • BIONICLE: The Coliseum in Metru Nui, various arenas in Bara Magna, most notably the Arena Magna in the city of Atero.
    • Slizers: the arena situated at the north pole where the 7 sections of the planet meet. Judging by the promo mini-comics, the Slizers compete to throw disks into a floating ring in the middle that also houses some sort of Energy Being.

Video Games
  • The Crucible in Fable.
  • Pokémon Stadium
  • Several of Marathon's multiplayer maps are arenas, and one of them, in fact, the most popular, is actually called "Thunderdome."
  • Oddly, in Persona 3 FES, there was an area like this. You used it to battle it out among your party members to decide whether to go back to the past or go to the present.
  • Wild ARMs 4 had a town where the main attraction was the Arena.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion had an arena as well, in which the player could either participate or simply watch and bet. Many of the achievements in the Xbox 360 version were focuses around climbing the Arena quest tree.
  • The Glitz Pit in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door.
  • In World of Warcraft, there's a big arena that looks very much like the Thunderdome in the center of the Goblin town of Gadgetzan. Unlike many other arenas, this one is not used in arena PvP, or any other event, so it's just there for show.
    • Having received an update in the Cataclysm expansion, it is now the focal point of a small quest chain where the character must fight a series of challengers, including one that is not unlike Master Blaster. It is presided over by an NPC who has a strong resemblance to Tina Turner.
  • The Colosseum also appears in Kingdom Hearts I.
  • The Spargus Arena in Jak 3: Wastelander.
  • The Hole in Fallout 3: The Pitt, a probable reference to Mad Max's Thunderdome.
  • MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries features the Solaris Arenas, which are a variety of different enclosed environments on Solaris VII dedicated for battlemech gladiatorial combat - each arena is as large as a small city, and are totally enclosed by walls a quarter mile tall. Mechwarrior Living Legends also features Solaris-sponsored arenas on other worlds, such as a combat arena on a large comet; additionally, all the arenas are lit up by spectacular fireworks displays.

Western Animation
  • Futurama had a stadium where Fry and Zoidberg duked it out.

Real Life
  • Cage fighting
  • The Thunderdome, St. Petersburg, Florida, from 1993-1996. Originally built as the Florida Suncoast Dome for the purpose of luring a Major League Baseball team, it was renamed when it hosted the Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL) and Storm (Arena Football). When those teams left for the brand-new Ice Palace, the Thunderdome was renovated to prepare for the MLB expansion Devil Rays, and renamed Tropicana Field.

There Is No Kill Like OverkillCombat TropesThe Tourney

alternative title(s): The Battledome
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