WCC 18 Arrives at Historic ECW Pro Wrestling 2300 Arena
World Cagefighting Championships will land in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the very first time, October 21, with WCC 18.
Not only will the event feature the return of local mixed martial arts legend Will Martinez, but WCC 18 will be held in the historic 2300 Arena.
The 2300 Arena also known as “ECW Arena” gained famed and notoriety in the 1990’s as being the primary home for the ever popular Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) shows that took place there.
WCC of course is owned and operated by former professional wrestlers Doug Yasinsky who went by the name ‘Doug Flex’ and Jeff Sibbach.
At one time Yasinsky wrestled for ECW inside the ECW Arena, thus this return to Philadelphia feels like a homecoming of sorts.
Below is a history of the 2300 Arena followed by some memorable pro wrestling events that were held there.
According to ProWrestling.Wikia.com:
Freight warehouse (1970s-1980s)
The facility was originally a warehouse in the 1970s. Rail tracks next to the building allowed trains to drop off freight for storage and then continue on to their destinations. The tracks were eventually paved over to become an extension of West Ritner Street, allowing West Ritner Street to intersect with South Swanson Street.
Viking Hall (1980s-1993)
The warehouse was given the name Viking Hall in the 1980s after it was bought by the South Philadelphia Viking Club, a local chapter of mummers. They used the building for storage and to rehearse for the annual Mummers Parade. Through the mid 1990s, the Viking Club would also stage midnight bingo games at the venue to raise funds for their organization.
ECW Arena (1993-2001)
The building gained worldwide recognition when it served as ECW Arena, home of wrestling promotion Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) from 1993 until the promotion’s demise in 2001.
South Philadelphia fans were prominent in the rise of ECW from a local promotion to a national promotion. A dollar store was located next to the venue on South Swanson Street, allowing ECW fans to buy cookware and bakeware that they would hand to wrestlers during shows to be used as weapons.
ECW broadcast Barely Legal, their first live pay-per-view event from the venue in 1997. Immediately following this broadcast, a blown transistor caused the building to lose power. To this day, Barely Legal remains the only wrestling event to be broadcast live on television from the venue.
XPW Arena (2002-2003)
Following the demise of Extreme Championship Wrestling in 2001, many wrestling promotions ran shows at the venue. Controversy arose when Xtreme Pro Wrestling (XPW) signed an exclusive lease with the venue in late 2002, renaming the building XPW Arena and preventing other promotions from utilizing it. XPW went out of business in 2003, and the lease was voided.
Alhambra Arena (2004-2009)
The building’s name was officially changed to New Alhambra Sports & Entertainment Center in 2004, and was later shortened to New Alhambra Arena in 2006 and Alhambra Arena in 2008. The name was suggested by J. Russell Peltz, who began co-promoting professional boxing cards at the venue with Joe Hand Promotions in 2004. It paid homage to the original Alhambra Movie Theater in South Philadelphia that hosted boxing in the 1950s and 1960s. In March 2005 the venue became home to Wrestle Factory, the wrestling school for Chikara.
In June 2005, an unofficial ECW reunion show called Hardcore Homecoming drew a sell-out crowd and set a record gate for the venue with $135,000 in ticket sales.
Footage shot at the venue in February 2006 was used in the film Rocky Balboa .
The ECW brand of World Wrestling Entertainment ran a house show at the venue in June 2006, with tickets for the event selling out in under four minutes.
New Jack was banned from the venue following an incident during a Pro Wrestling Xplosion show in September 2006 . He famously ordered Sprite at the venue’s concession stand and was instead given 7 Up, prompting him to verbally harass the stand attendant.
Footage shot at the venue in February 2008 during a Combat Zone Wrestling show was used in the film The Wrestler .
The band New York Dolls played a concert at the venue on Valentine’s Day in February 2008.
The Arena (2009-2010)
Joe Hand Promotions announced in January 2009 that after a five-year partnership, it would stop promoting boxing cards at the venue. The venue was then renamed to The Arena by general manager Roger Artigiani.
Dragon Gate USA filmed their first pay-per-view event, Enter The Dragon at the venue in July 2009. Enter The Dragon was later voted Best Major Show of 2009 by the readers of Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
In September 2009, independent wrestler Matthew Lowry died following a Combat Zone Wrestling training session at the venue where he collapsed from a brain haemorrhage.
Matrix Fights drew a sell-out crowd with the venue’s first major mixed martial arts card in February 2010, featuring Cole Konrad in the main event.
Asylum Arena (2010–2012)
Roger Artigiani announced in October 2010 that mixed martial arts group Asylum Fight League had purchased the naming rights to the venue and renamed it Asylum Arena.
In May 2011, New Japan Pro Wrestling concluded the NJPW Invasion Tour 2011, their first ever tour of the United States, with an event at the venue.
Chikara broadcast High Noon, their first live internet pay-per-view event from the venue in November 2011.
Arena Operating, LLC (2012–2013)
Arena Operating, LLC (headed by Joanna Pang of the Trocadero Theatre) signed an exclusive lease with the venue in February 2012 with plans to renovate and convert it to a concert hall.
Prior to the renovations beginning, Evolve presented what was billed as the venue’s final professional wrestling event, A Tribute to the Arena on January 14, 2012. The final event prior to the venue closing was a Peltz Boxing Promotions card on January 21, 2012.
The building’s ownership evicted Arena Operating, LLC in April 2013 after Joanna Pang failed to complete her proposed renovations.
2300 Arena (2013-present)
The venue hosted the première screening of the unofficial ECW documentary Barbed Wire City in April 2013.
Extreme Rising promoted the first wrestling card at the newly renamed 2300 Arena in December 2013. The venue’s name derives from its newly constructed entranceway at 2300 South Swanson Street, replacing the old entrance at 7 West Ritner Street.
MEMORABLE 2300 ARENA CLIPS:
Fans flood ring with chairs at the ECW arena – TNA Hardcore War 2006
Scaffold Match: Tommy Dreamer vs. Brian Lee [ECW High Incident 1996]