On, January 14, 2012 the last professional wrestling events were held in the ECW Arena. Professional Wrestling companies from around the world were forced to find another building to run in the Northeastern Market. How do you replace the ECW arena?
Unlike any arena in the world the ECW arena isn’t defined by any single event that took place there. From May 14, 1993- December 23, 2000 ECW called this place home. ECW created a niche as a national wrestling product from that time by delivering to its fans a form of professional wrestling that has been described as hardcore and ground breaking. Paul Heyman used the arena as his stage to present his vision of professional wrestling.
The arena’s impact on professional wrestling did not stop in 2000. It continued to grow seeing many companies put on shows there until January 14, 2012 when Combat Zone Wrestling and Evolve put on what may be the last professional wrestling events in the famous arena. Trying to describe what made the ECW arena important is a very difficult task. Online World of Wrestling has many of the results from the cards that have taken place at the arena. The cards alone only add one aspect to what made the arena important. The largest professional wrestling company World Wrestling Entertainment ran an event here on June 24, 2006. That single event didn’t define the arena it only added to its already large legacy. Not only did WWE run an event here but so did New Japan Pro Wrestling, Ring of Honor, Chikara Pro Wrestling and many more groups. I don’t believe those companies completely defined the legacy either.
David Buckler and I host a radio show on this website where we provide perspective on professional wrestling. I must admit the vast majority of my perspective was fostered from my years of following the wrestling that took place at the ECW arena. I first found out about ECW in 1996. My friend let me borrow a VHS tape that contained one episode of the television show that changed my life. The year 1996 was a very interesting year in professional wrestling. We saw the genesis of the NWO and Stone Cold Steve Austin which lead to the resurgence of professional wrestling in this country. I felt like the NWO and Stone Cold Steve Austin made WCW and WWF can’t miss television events.
The difference that I felt with ECW is I felt compelled to attend a pro wrestling event at the ECW Arena. There was a certain magic to the place. What I find interesting about the “magic” is that it was shared by performers and attendees the like.
I believe that magic is one of the keys to what makes professional wrestling incredible. The performers are able to take the audience on a journey through their words and actions that makes them compelled to tune in next week to find out the conclusion of whatever event transpired the week or month before. I believe the magic of the ECW arena was the fact it was an unassuming location where many of the best performers in the world where able to make their name or put on display why they were the best in the world. The fans were treated to a very intimate environment where the cards were more often than not unforgettable. The list you could assemble of performers that made their names or furthered their own legacies in the building would a list of who’s who of professional wrestling. Many of those names still make their mark on the sport today.
The ECW Arena can be defined as the place that many professional wrestling fans and performers found and displayed everything that is magical about professional wrestling. While the doors may be closed I don’t believe this magic is gone. WrestleMania weekend annually is the largest gathering of professional wrestling fans from across the world. WrestleMania 29 will be held in New York market and companies will have events take place in the area.
Every company that weekend still hold pieces of what made that arena magical and will entertain the masses that weekend. The ECW arena will always live on in the hearts and minds of performer, viewer, and every attendee. The magic of professional wrestling and of the arena will live on forever.
— Alex Goff, OWW radio host and guest columnist