So Long, Mutant Reliquary

The End of Philly's Legendary ECW Arena
TAGS: Arenas, ECW, RIP, Wrestling
Share |

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Professional wrestling doesn’t have many actual physical landmarks. For a few years, the WWE has made noises about building a Hall of Fame museum, which would be awesome, but doesn’t seem likely to happen anytime soon. Michigan’s Pontiac Silverdome played host to Wrestlemania III, the single biggest event in the fake sport’s history, and plenty of important moments have gone down at Madison Square Garden or the Greensboro Coliseum. But those buildings have their own long, proud histories, and most of their big moments have nothing whatsoever to do with pro wrestling. As for wrestling-specific locations, we’ve got the WWE office building in Stamford, Connecticut, with the big logo-flag that you can't help but notice when you drive from New York to Boston, and we’ve got the ECW Arena. Or, at least, we had the ECW Arena.

In 1993, the Philadelphia-based independent company Extreme Championship Wrestling began running shows at the Arena, a dingy building in what’s reputed to be an awful South Philly neighborhood. Originally a warehouse, the building had more recently hosted the South Philly Vikings Club. At least according to Wikipedia, the local mummers club would practice for its annual parade there, and it also hosted bingo nights. When WWF announcer Jerry Lawler feuded with ECW during a fun interpromotional storyline, he’d derisively call the company's headquarters “the Bingo Hall,” and ECW fans picked up that name and started using it as a badge of pride.

Teenagers like me, kids who discovered or rediscovered pro wrestling in the ‘90s, looked at ECW with something like awe. This was the company that changed things. In ECW, wrestlers would cuss and bleed and dive off balconies onto each other and throw each other into the audience and stab each other with forks. In ECW, guys who’d disappeared from the bigger companies—Cactus Jack, Steve Austin, Bam Bam Bigelow—would reemerge as snarling badasses who would invariably get snapped back up by those big companies once they’d gained their own ECW cults. The company would bring in Japanese or Mexican wrestlers, or North American wrestlers who’d mostly been working in Japan or Mexico, and give them chances to have crazy acrobatic matches in front of appreciative audiences. And the company had its own perennial goon gallery—steely-eyed submission monster Taz, high-flying stoner Rob Van Dam, scarred-up lunatic Sabu—who seemed like visitors from another, more violent dimension.

As the company’s legend grew, so did the legend of the building itself. If you were lucky enough to locate Hardcore TV, ECW’s weekly show, in some late-night corner of your cable package, you’d see the building itself, with its rickety seating, and its bootleg-ass set, and its bloodthirsty fans. ECW fans were notorious for doing dickish but funny stuff, like taunting even the wrestlers they liked, chanting “You fucked up!” at guys who had just fallen on their heads after botching top-turnbuckle moves. You’d see certain fans over and over, like the one guy with the Hawaiian shirt who was always in the front row. It didn’t seem possible that the ECW Arena was an actual physical place that I could visit, that it would be perfectly reasonable to road-trip from Baltimore to Philly to see some of these shows. The Arena seemed more like a violent concept than an accessible location.

After too many bounced wrestler paychecks and bad business decisions, ECW finally flamed out of existence, in 2001, but the venue remained. It went through a bunch of different names over the next 10 years, but it stayed open. Most recently known as the Asylum Arena, the building hosted all sorts of off-brand boxing and MMA fights. It also stood as maybe the most important venue on the emerging American indie wrestling scene, a scene that really kicked into high gear around the time ECW died.

Virtually every important indie company has run shows out of the ECW Arena, many of them quite recently. The venue was the home to Combat Zone Wrestling, a company that came along in the wake of ECW and ramped the bloodshed up even further, with wrestlers mutilating each other with light tubes and weed-whackers. If you saw The Wrestler, you’ve seen a piece of a CZW show at the Arena; that’s where Mickey Rourke and real-life CZW mainstay Necro Butcher brutalized each other with staple guns and broken glass. On the paradoxical flipside, the Arena has also been the home to Chikara, a fun and cartoonish company that prides itself on being goofily family-friendly entertainment. Ring of Honor, Dragon Gate USA, Jersey All-Pro Wrestling, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and plenty of other important companies have also run big shows out of the Arena. In this insular little world, a show at this building is a big deal.

But recently, the owners of storied Philly music venue the Trocadero bought the Arena, and they’re planning on shuttering it for repairs and reopening as another music spot. Nobody’s made any official announcements yet, but the ECW Arena probably won’t host any more pro wrestling. So what could be the last wrestling show in the building’s history went down on Saturday night: An internet pay-per-view from the relatively new indie company Evolve Wrestling. Evolve, which recently merged with the Japanese/American co-venture Dragon Gate USA, has a rep for being one of the more dependable places to see a hard-hitting/high-flying style that has more to do with big-ticket Japanese wrestling than with anything you might see in the WWE, or on old ECW tapes. I can’t speak to whether this show lived up to the company’s rep, since I haven’t been able to watch it yet because of problems with Evolve’s internet streaming.

But by all accounts, Saturday was a fitting sendoff for the Arena. Evolve did their thing, and a quick tribute to the building’s ECW history was stapled on at the very end. The final match in the building wasn’t the advertised main event between technical specialist Johnny Gargano and fauxhawked high-flyer Ricochet. Instead, it was an impromptu contest between two aging, scarred ECW veterans, Sabu and Justin Credible. So the building went out the only way it really could: With two mutant relics slicing each other’s foreheads open with screwdrivers.


Share |
TAGS: Arenas, ECW, RIP, Wrestling

Comments

chances to have crazy acrobatic matches in front of appreciative audiences. And the company had its own perennial goon gallery—steely-eyed submission monster Taz, high-flying stoner Rob Van Dam, scarred-up lunatic Sabu—who seemed like visitors from another, more violent dimension.hack dragon city 2016 |
clash of clans mod

likely from the conviviality of a previous BEEB. One of Brewskee-Ball’s maxims suggests that participants “Skee excellent to each other. delhi to ajmer taxi

I love seeing websites that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. jaipur to delhi cab

The internet is bogged down with bogus blogs with no real message but the post was fantastic and well worth the read. packers and movers hadapsar pune

I was wondering how to cure acne naturally. and found your site by google, learned a lot, now i’m a bit clear. I’ve bookmark your site and also add rss. keep us updated... buy Pinterest followers

Just saying thanks wouldn’t just be enough, for the fantastic fluency in your writing.... backlink service review

post is! It Is Useful and helpful for me That I like it very much, and I am looking forward to Hearing from your next
SEO link building

You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up. Great work.
source

I just read the regularly one particular subject material. Beautiful articles or reviews, thank you to suit downloading and sharing an article content with all of us...Online Certificate

Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts http://proteccozumel.com/

Jackson would have been “proven” right. Instead, Belichick had redeemed himself, and was worthy of America’s godly televised game.
how to improve amazon seo

This is really inspiring. I really like to follow your tips. Some very good tips that I think everyone would do well to keep in mind.I look forward to reading more posts from you Los Angeles Lawyer Michael Kraut

We are really grateful for your blog post. You have done a great job. I will definitely dig it and personally recommend to my friends... cccam server

It is one of the best posts that I ve read in a long time. Thanks a lot for this really good post. I really appreciate it! dentist

I want you to thank for your time of this wonderful read!!! I definitely enjoy every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff of your blog. treatment for tmj pain

I like viewing web sites which comprehend the price of delivering the excellent useful resource free of charge. I truly adored reading your posting. vehicle accident lawyers

web sites which comprehend the price of delivering the excellent useful resource free of charge. I truly adored reading your posting. garcinia cambogia reviews

There is obviously a lot to know about this.stop ringing ears
I think you made some good points in Features also. Keep working, great job

I am always searching online for articles that can help me. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also. Keep working, great job ! http://www.beartarot.com/psychic/free-tarot-tops-sites-get-tarot-online-free/

I will be interested in more similar topics. i see you got really very useful topics , i will be always checking your blog thanks.cccam server

need to much obliged. Great employment! You all do an incredible blog, and have some extraordinary substance. Keep doing awesome..
related site

it is time to be happy. I've read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you some interesting things or suggestions. . earphones

the throbbing menace of a couple of mazhars But the heart and soul of this thoughtful work of art belongs to a British living national treasure.Xarelto Brain Hemorrhage Lawsuit

I just want to let you know that I just check out your site and I find it very interesting and informative. I can't wait to read lots of your posts. baby bed bugs

I really impressed after read this because of some quality work and informative thoughts . I just wanna say thanks for the writer and wish you all the best for coming! ivc filter fracture attorney

go here
Thanks meant for sharing this type of satisfying opinion, written piece is fastidious, that’s why I’ve read it completely.

You undoubtedly cause it to be are similar to a fantastic right move! I’m posting mine dissertations with at this point regarding. Los Angeles Lawyer Michael Kraut

feuded with ECW during a fun interpromotional storyline, he’d derisively call the company's headquarters “the Bingo Hall,” and ECW fans picked up that name and started using it as a badge of pride.
subway surfers mod |
clash of clans juwelen hack download

followers app It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I've read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you some interesting things or suggestions. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article. I want to read more things about it! youtubeviews

to have crazy acrobatic matches in front of appreciative audiences. And the company had its own perennial goon gallery—steely-eyed submission monster Taz, high-flying stoner Rob Van Dam, scarred-up lunatic Sabu—who seemed like visitors from another, more violent dimension.
escort lebanon

motivate just about every person to save this web page for any favorite assistance to assist posted the appearance.. taxi from jaipur to ajmer

parade there, and it also hosted bingo nights. When WWF announcer Jerry Lawler feuded with ECW during a fun interpromotional storyline, he’d derisively call the company's headquarters “the Bingo Hall,” and ECW fans picked up that name and started using it as a badge of pride.
budget hotels in kodaikanal

Your post was good and the information that you giving your post that was really cool. I like it very much. Thanks for posting this. Please share more information and I will bookmark to my blog. continuedinnovation.com

I have a hard time describing my thoughts on content, but I really felt I should here. Your article is really great. I like the way you wrote this information.. Personal Trainer North London

I am unable to read articles online very often, but I’m glad I did today. This is very well written and your points are well-expressed. Please, don’t ever stop writing. xarelto lawsuit help

this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.
privacy

In 1993, the Philadelphia-based independent company Extreme Championship Wrestling began running shows at the Arena... cccam server

I have a hard time describing my thoughts on content, but I really felt I should here. Your article is really great. I like the way you wrote this information.. pure garcinia cambogia

World Cup playoff against France in 2009 that this team was capable of elevating themselves above their basic standard. But it was only Estonia. It's not quite the same as beating Holland or Spain, or even drawing in Belfast.
hampton bay ceiling fans

I enjoyed reading your articles. This is truly a great read for me. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work! http://ivcfilter-lawsuit.com/ivc-filter-lawsuit/

the ECW Arena was an actual physical place that I could visit, that it would be perfectly reasonable to road-trip from Baltimore to Philly to see some of these shows. The Arena seemed more like a violent concept than an accessible location.
tallwellnutrition.com

niche profit full control videos
I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. I wanted to thank you for this websites! Thanks for sharing.

I have a hard time describing my thoughts on content, but I really felt I should here. Your article is really great. I like the way you wrote this information.. home improvement

I have a hard time describing my thoughts on content, but I really felt I should here. Your article is really great. I like the way you wrote this information.. Injustice Cheats

bounced wrestler paychecks and bad business decisions, ECW finally flamed out of existence, in 2001, but the venue remained. high PR backlinks

reasonable to road-trip from Baltimore to Philly to see some of these shows. The Arena seemed more like a violent concept than an accessible location.cccam server

I have a hard time describing my thoughts on content, but I really felt I should here. Your article is really great. I like the way you wrote this information... web semantic seo

bogus blogs with no real message but the post was fantastic and well worth the read.Thank you for sharing this with me..
SEO optimization company

I have a hard time describing my thoughts on content, but I really felt I should here. Your article is really great. I like the way you wrote this information.... www.completelifewellness.com

And the company had its own perennial goon gallery—steely-eyed submission monster Taz, high-flying stoner Rob Van Dam, scarred-up lunatic Sabu—who seemed like visitors from another, more violent dimension.cccam server