The former site of the ECW Arena, a historic pro-wrestling venue located at 2300 S. Swanson Street and birthplace of ECW Wrestling, is set to reopen under new ownership tomorrow, March 22 featuring the Light Heavyweight Title Bout from Cage Fury Fighting Championships.
Of course, that means that the owner of the Trocadero will not be taking over the arena to turn it into a music venue after all.
The 2300 Arena is run by CEO/General Manager Roger Artigiani, who previously ran the arena as The Asylum. From a look at the events schedule, it seems like the new group wants to hold true to the fight-centric history of the site. The Philadelphia Regional Golden Gloves Championship is scheduled for April 12th followed by a Mexican Style wrestling event called “Lucha Libre Mexicana” on April 27th.
As you may recall, “The Arena” was recently bought by Arena Operating LLC, a group lead by Joanna Pang of The Trocadero. They looked to re-imagine the space in to a concert hall for the burgeoning Swanson St. area. While that was, ah-hem, music to a lot peoples’ ear, it didn’t pan out.
According to the wrestling webiste PW Insider, Arena Operating LLC was evicted:
…the owners of the Arena have been in court to force Pang out as she basically ripped the venue apart to the bare bones and then failed to make lease payments. Rather than let the building sit there empty and non-profitable, they opted to force Pang out.
In a story with Philly.com, Artigiani explained that ECW was “once-in-a-lifetime type stuff…this time around I want it so that fans can come with the entire family.” Artigiani seems to have big plans for the 2300 Arena, including fights, concerts, and family-oriented entertainment. While the schedule is currently fight heavy, it’s apparently nothing like it used to be in its hey-day with ECW. Watch the film The Wreslter for reference as scenes were shot at The Arena as an homage to its past.
A message left for Pang at the Troc yesterday wasn’t returned.
With all of these entertainment project in the works, does that lend more credence to the rumors of a revamp to the street experience and infrastructure of Swanson Street?
– James Jennings is the founder of the blog Pennsporter — a site dedicated to exploring the neighborhood from Washington to Snyder, the Delaware to Fourth.