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The Arena is a former warehouse and current multi-purpose venue used primarily for professional wrestling and boxing events. It is located in South Philadelphia on the corner of South Swanson Street and West Ritner Street.

History

Freight warehouse (1970s-1986)

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 (1986-1993)

Elias Stein and Leon Silverman of the law firm Stein & Silverman purchased the warehouse in 1986. The facility was given the name Viking Hall when the South Philadelphia Viking Club, a local chapter of mummers, began utilizing it. 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 professional wrestling promotion Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) from 1993 until the promotion's demise in 2001.

The weekly ECW television series Hardcore TV prominently showcased both the venue and South Philadelphia fans during the promotion's early years. The venue and its patrons were crucial in elevating ECW from a local promotion to a national promotion.

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.

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.

Footage shot at the venue in February 2008 during a Combat Zone Wrestling show was used in the film The Wrestler.

The Arena (2009-present)

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.

In February 2009, the venue began hosting regular television tapings for the Ring of Honor series Ring of Honor Wrestling.

Dragon Gate USA filmed their first pay-per-view event, Enter The Dragon at the venue in July 2009.

Promotional history

Boxing

These boxing promotions have held shows at The Arena.

Promotion First show Last show Total shows Status
Dee Lee Promotions 1 Active
Don Chargin Productions 2 Active
Golden Boy Promotions 2 Active
Joe Hand Promotions 2 Active
Peltz Boxing Promotions 21 Active
Power Productions 3 Active
Prime Time Entertainment 1 Defunct
Shalyte Entertainment 1 Active
Top Rank 2 Active
Xtreme Productions Inc. 2 Active


Wrestling

These professional wrestling promotions have held shows at The Arena.

Promotion First show Last show Total shows Status
Breaking the Barrier 1 Defunct
Chikara 27 Active
Combat Zone Wrestling 94 Active
Dragon Gate USA 2 Active
Extreme Championship Wrestling 105 Defunct
Hardcore Homecoming 2 Defunct
Heritage Wrestling Alliance 1 Defunct
International Wrestling Syndicate 1 Active
IWA Mid-South 2 Defunct
Jersey All Pro Wrestling 12 Active
Legends of the Arena 1 Defunct
Main Event Championship Wrestling 1 Defunct
Major League Wrestling 1 Defunct
Pro Wrestling Unplugged 28 Defunct
Pro Wrestling Xplosion 1 Defunct
Pro-Pain Pro Wrestling 25 Defunct
Ring of Honor 11 Active
Soul City Wrestling 1 Defunct
UWF-TNA Live 3 Defunct
Velocity Pro Wrestling 5 Defunct
Wicked Hanuman 1 Defunct
Women's Extreme Wrestling 8 Defunct
World Wrestling Entertainment 1 Active
Xtreme Pro Wrestling 7 Defunct


Awards

These accolades have been bestowed upon The Arena.



Hardcore Hall of Fame



Banners commemorating the careers of professional wrestlers and wrestling personalities who made their names at The Arena are permanently on display at the venue.

Inductees

Year Ring name

Inducted by Notes
2002

2005

2007

2007

2008

2009

The Sandman
2009

The Sandman
2009 The Sandman
2009

The Sandman


Ceremony dates

Date Location Venue Promotion Event
Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniamarker The Arena Pro-Pain Pro Wrestling A Night for the Flyboy
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania The Arena Hardcore Homecoming November Reign
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania The Arena Pro Wrestling Unplugged The Crazy 8
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania The Arena Combat Zone Wrestling Cage of Death X
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania The Arena Legends of the Arena Legends of the Arena


References

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  2. http://www.wwe.com/shows/ecw/history/ecwarena
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  4. http://www.pwbts.com/columns/2008/b051208.html
  5. http://ecwbyshaggs.tripod.com/interview.html
  6. http://www.wrestling-news.com/nm/publish/news_1653.html
  7. And on this corner ... - southphillyreview.com
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  20. http://www.thehistoryofwwe.com/ECWresults.htm
  21. http://100megsfree4.com/wiawrestling/pages/ecw/ecwhardhome.htm
  22. http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/results/iws/
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  24. http://www.japw.net/new/events/results.htm
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  26. http://100megsfree4.com/wiawrestling/pages/old/mlwinfo.htm
  27. http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/results/pwu/
  28. http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/results/3pw/
  29. http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/results/uwf/
  30. http://www.thehistoryofwwe.com/results.htm
  31. http://100megsfree4.com/wiawrestling/pages/xpw/xpwres.htm
  32. ESPN - Wednesday Night Fights' top moments of 2006 - Boxing
  33. http://www.phillymag.com/best_of/detail/best_of_philly_2007:_sports_venue/
  34. http://www.phillymag.com/best_of/detail/best_of_philly_2008_guys_night_out/
  35. http://pwtorch.com/artman2/publish/VIP_Exclusive_Features_21/article_1618.shtml
  36. http://www.411mania.com/wrestling/video_reviews/53916/The-Furious-Flashbacks-%E2%80%93-Hardcore-Homecoming-November-Reign.htm
  37. http://www.warned.net/PWUCrazy8Results.html
  38. http://www.warned.net/PWUCrazy8Results.html
  39. http://www.f4wonline.com/content/view/7747/124/
  40. http://www.411mania.com/wrestling/news/108581/Legends-of-the-Arena-Results-6.27.09.htm
  41. http://www.411mania.com/wrestling/news/108581/Legends-of-the-Arena-Results-6.27.09.htm
  42. http://www.411mania.com/wrestling/news/108581/Legends-of-the-Arena-Results-6.27.09.htm
  43. http://www.411mania.com/wrestling/news/108581/Legends-of-the-Arena-Results-6.27.09.htm
  44. http://www.411mania.com/wrestling/video_reviews/53916/The-Furious-Flashbacks-%E2%80%93-Hardcore-Homecoming-November-Reign.htm
  45. http://www.warned.net/PWUCrazy8Results.html
  46. http://www.f4wonline.com/content/view/7747/124/
  47. http://www.411mania.com/wrestling/news/108581/Legends-of-the-Arena-Results-6.27.09.htm


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