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"Two men enter, one man leaves"
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

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.

Examples of The Thunderdome include:


  • There's one of these in an ad for Kaplan Learning Centers, or Sylvan Learning Centers, or something like that. (All 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 Dragonball 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, obviously.
  • Escape from New York: The Duke has an enclosed boxing ring where he forces prisoners to fight to the death with baseball bats. Watch it here.
  • 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 it's subsequent Animated Adaptation) there is the town of Rithmere known for it's annual gladiator tournaments called the Rithmere Games and Championships.

Live Action TV

Tabletop RPG

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


  • Bionicle: The Coliseum in Metru Nui, various arenas in Bara Magna.

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 (can not remember the name for the life of me) 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 acheivements in the Xbox 360 version were focues 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 the first Kingdom Hearts.
  • The Spargus Arena in Jak III.

Western Animation

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

Real Life

  • Cage fighting
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