AS I SEE IT
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
It started out as a warehouse at the corner Swanson and Ritner Streets in South Philadelphia. Over 18 years it became most of the well-known wrestling venues on the planet.
For the short term at best, there will not be wrestling (or anything else) at the ECW Arena as of February 2012. The venue will be closed as of February 2 for “extensive renovations”. Promoters including CZW’s DJ Hyde have met with new leaseholder Joanna Pang this week. Pang has stated that she is not opposed to pro wrestling in the venue, but intends to close it for an unstated period of time to perform extensive renovations. The backstage area as it exists now to be removed for a new permanent stage and backstage dressing rooms area. The Eagle’s Nest side of the building (next to Forman Mills), will be knocked down and the venue size expanded. In short, the structure of the venue as it stands now will no longer exist after February 2, 2012.
CZW, CHIKARA, and Dragon Gate will need to find new Philadelphia venues for at least the short term. No word as of yet on where that stands. CHIKARA still lists an event for February 26, 2012 in Philadelphia on its website; but no location.
There seems to be two sad ironies this past week about the timing of the announcement, as last Friday was the 11th anniversary of the last ECW show ever run at the ECW Arena; which had a packed house (because many had heard the rumors of the company folding) which included ECW Tag Champs Danny DoringRoadkill defeating Tony DeVito, Jerry Lynn pinned Spike Dudley, EZ Money/Julio Dinero/Chris Hamrick defeating Tommy Dreamer/Christian York/Joey Matthews, Mikey Whipwreck/Tajiri beat The Full Blooded Italians in a best of three falls match, and ECW Champ Steve Corino defeating Justin Credible and Sandman in a “three way dance” in the final ECW match at the ECW Arena.
The other irony was watching Bryan Danielson and CM Punk as WWE World Champions in the ring at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center, with both having made their reputations in the Philadelphia independent scene…a scene which is about to get a very major change.
This building has had so much wrestling history, that no matter what changes are made to the physical building; the sounds and the memories will always remain in the “world’s Most Famous Bingo Hall” regardless the deeds of center city Philadelphia lawyers and concert promoters. Those sounds and memories will never be taken taken away from those of us who spent time within its walls.
So given that, let’s take a look at part two of the building’s history, the post-ECW era. During those years, CZW was the primary promotion that ran shows at the ECW Arena. Here is a sample of that history,. Please understand that it’s only a sample, as someone’s going to have to write a book to do the ECW era and the post-ECW era justice.
Combat Zone Wrestling had been operating in New Jersey since 1999.
Due to their upcoming annual Cage Of Death 3 show at the end of 2001, the company needed a bigger venue and made their debut in the ECW Arena. The venue was the first sellout in the Arena since the era of ECW. Hundreds were turned away from the biggest show in the promotion’s history, far surpassing promotion expectations. The main event in the Cage of Death saw Justice Pain defeating Wifebeater.
The show ended with the Arena lights going out. When they came back on, fans saw former ECW owner Todd Gordon, Blue Meanie, Pitbull #1, Rockin’ Rebel, Rocco Rock were in the ring, heeling on CZW and the fans, followed by jumping Justice Pain and Wifebeater. The CZW locker room came out for the save, the lights went out yet again to The Sandman was standing in the ring. Sandman then turned on the ECW contingent, and ended the evening drinking a beer with Zandig.
Best of The Best 2 started a series of several years of incredible lineups for the springtime tournaments, with 2002 including Trent Acid, M-Dogg 20, Super Dragon, B-Boy, Ruckus, Tony Mamaluke, Jodie Fleisch, Jonny Storm, and Johnny Kashmere.
September 2002 saw Justice Pain defending C.M. Punk to retain his CZW Title, and a demented match with “Sick” Nick Mondo/Wifebeater defeated Mr. Insanity/Necro Butcher. October 2002 saw Wifebeater announce his retirement.
Late in 2002, XPW, which had been based in California and funded by pornography magnate and owner of Extreme Associates Rob Black offered around $60,000 for an exclusive lease to the ECW Arena. On December 12, 2002, Ring of Honor, CZW, and 3PW ran what were to be the last events before the exclusive lease began. During CZW’s event, CZW owner Zandig stated that they had offered $32,000 to stay in the Arena, but had been turned down. Zandig stated that with the $10,000 a month XPW would need to pay for the building “the lease would not last long”, which proved to be true. Various deceptive practicesby the promotion including numerous examples of false advertising, as well as a suggestion of Rob Black saying he’d feed a live puppy to a snake, and the fact that they would not permit other promotions to run the Arena, caused a swift end to XPW’s time there.
Cage of Death 4 featured Zandig vs. Lobo “Cage of Death” match for ownership and control of CZW, Justice Pain vs. Messiah “Iron Man rules” for the heavyweight title, Ruckus vs. M-Dogg 20 vs. Sonjay Dutt to determine number one contender to the CZW Junior Heavyweight title, Backseat Boys vs. Nick Mondo/Ric Blade TLC match, and Nick Berk vs. Josh Prohibition submission match
A sample of the talent in CZW during 2002 included Wifebeater, Justice Brian XL, Devine Storm, Softcore Connection, Sick Nick Mondo, Johnny Kashmere, Ian Knoxx, GQ, Chris Ca$h, Zandig, Glen Osbourne, VD, Nick Gage, Nate Hatred, MDogg 20, and Josh Prohibition.
Accompanied by the aforementioned incidents, XPW folded in 2003. CZW then returned to the ECW Arena on May 10, 2003, promoting a show that served as a tribute to the Arena’s history: “Then & Now: A Decade of Defiance.” In June, Ian Rotten, Corporal Robinson, and J.C. Bailey of IWA Mid-South did an interpromotional invasion angle of CZW. The feud led into CZW’s Tournament of Death 2 with 5 IWA and 3 CZW wrestlers in TOD, remembered most Zandig “Mother F’N bombing Nick Mondo” off a 40 foot rooftop. Matches included Homicide submitting Trent Acid, Sick Nick Mondo defeated Johnny Kashmere, Ruckus defeating Chris Ca$h, B-Boy defeats Tony Mamaluke, Ric Blade defeating Sonjay Dutt, and Messiah defeating Nate Hatred.
April saw Best of The Best 3, the first of several years of tournaments featuring some of the greatest independent talent of the time, with 2003’s including AJ Styles, Ruckus, Sonjay Dutt, Chri$ Ca$h, Ric Blade, Trent Acid, Tony Mamaluke, B-Boy, Lil Cholo, Deranged, Jimmy Rave, Jay Briscoe, and Mark Briscoe.
In a controversial incident in September 2003, Zandig’s feud with heel stable Hi-5 featured an angle where Zandig was suspended in the middle of the ring by meat hooks from the roof of the Arena. This led to the main event for Cage of Death 5. Cage of Death 5 featured what many believe to be the most unbelievable structure the promotion ever constructed which involved two rings one of which ssawscaffolding across the top of the cage and tables surrounding the ring. Add to that a suspended cage/scaffold, a super scaffold from the stage to the Cage of Death, and the second ring… filled with “1,000,000 thumb tacks”. The Cage of Death match featured Team Ultraviolence (John Zandig, Lobo, Wifebeater, Ian Knoxx, Nick Gage, and a surprise addition of New Jack) vs. Team HI-V (The Messiah, Nate Hatred, Trent Acid, Adam Flash, Johnny Kashmere, and B-Boy), with Team Ultraviolence going over.
If that wasn’t enough for COD 5, Jimmy Rave defeated Trent Acid, Alex Shelley defeating B-Boy and Chris Hero in a #1 contender for the CZW Iron Man Title; and a match still talked about years later…a ladder match The Joker defeated Chris Cash.
March saw a scary Taipei Boards with Nails Death Match with The Messiah defeating Zandig to win the CZW title after Teddy Hart did a run-in and hit Zandig with a moonsault to give The Messiah the pinfall and the CZW World title. Following the match, Zandig gave Teddy Hart a Mother F’N Bomb onto the board of nails which turned Hart into a bloody mess.
April featured Trent Acid brawling with Teddy Hart through the Arena and into the streets of South Philadelphia.
June’s Trifecta Challenge saw Messiah defeat Wifebeater to retain in an Ultraviolent Unlucky 13/Panes of Glass Match.
July saw Best of The Best 2004 with Homicide, Jack Evans, Chri$ Ca$h, B-Boy, Roderick Strong, Jimmy Rave, Alex Shelley,Bobby Quance, Ruckus, Petey Williams, Sonjay Dutt, and Nate Webb
In December, Cage of Death 6 had two Cage of Death matches, with the first as a two ring/War Games Style, with a scaffold going accross the middle featuring Team Cash (Chri$ Ca$h/JC Bailey/Nate Webb/Sexxy Eddy) defeated Team Blackout (Ruckus, Sabian, Kingston, and Jack Evans). The second match saw Wifebeater and Justice Pain defeating Nate Hatred/Nick Gage in a Fans Bring Weapons match with an array of twisted weapons coming into play during the match’
During 2005, CZW established a connection with CHIKARA Pro Wrestling Chikara, which established into a joint training school known as ‘The Wrestle Factory’ at The Arena, with Chris Hero and Mike Quackenbush as trainers. This relationship lasted until 2007, when there was a major falling out between the promotions CZW again formed its own school.
February saw a protest against the illegal actions of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission, which allowed a barbed wire match on WWE’s “No Way Out” PPV , but refused to allow it on independent shows; a ruling later reversed after wrestling started contacting the Commission, and the Pennsylvania Governor’s office. The match was “backstage” with a barbed wire cage light tubes scaffold match “after the show was 0over” with J.C. Bailey defeated Necro Butcher.
Tragedy struck the promotion in 2005 as wrestler Christopher “Chri$ Ca$h” Bauman Jr. was killed as the result of a motorcycle accident near his home.
Best of the Best led off with a tribute to Chris Candido, then saw a tournament with Mike Quackenbush, winning a best of The Best, that also included Super Dragon, Chris Bosh, El Generico, Excalibur, Chris Hero, Brandon Thomaselli, Kevin Steen, Kenny the Bastard, Arik Cannon, Claudio Castagnoli, Derek Frazier, B-Boy, Sabian
Cage of Death saw The H8 Club/Zandig defeating Necro Butcher/Toby Klein/Joker in a octagon-like Cage of Death was a big octagon constructed around the ring with a barbed wire spiderneta spidernet of barbed wire, thumbtack turnbuckles, barbed wire bats., scaffolds and four tables.
A major change in the promotion came when Mike Burns left as booker, when Zandig was upset at Burns setting up a deal with Ring of Honor.
Upset as he might have been with what he thought Burns did, Zandig embraced the ROH-CZW program, and in one of the rare cases in indy wrestling (let alone Philadelphia’s indy wars of the day) did the right thing for business during shows at the ECW Arena, namely put over ROH talent in key matches (Gabe Sapolsky returned the favor at ROH shows).
The program started at the January 2006 show with American Dragon and Nigel McGuinness showing up at the ECW Arena, with ROH heeling it up at the Arena. Bryan Danielson heeled it up and said “CZW fans didn’t deserve to see an ROH-caliber match”. Hero joined in on the fun, followed by Nigel McGuiness and Roderick Strong, then the CZW locker room then emptying.
This led to a CZW-ROH match at the March 2006 Arena show: Austin Aries/Roderick Strong/Matt Sydal defeating Ruckus/Eddie Kingston/Necro Butcher
BOTB featured Ring of Honor talent including Christopher Daniels, Matt Sydal, Austin Aries, plus B-Boy, Jigsaw, Roderick Strong, Claudio Castagnoli, Jay Lethal, Sabian, Sonjay Dutt, Ruckus, Derek Frazier
The program led to the only Cage of Death not to take place at a CZW show in July 2006 at Ring of Honor’s Death before Dishonor IV at the Northeast Armory in Philadelphia, PA with CZW’s team consisting of Chris Hero, Claudio Castagnoli, Necro Butcher, Nate Webb and Eddie Kingston putting over Ring of Honor’s team of Samoa Joe, BJ Whitmer, Adam Pearce, Ace Steel and Homicide.
Cage of Death 8 saw Nick Gage defeating John Zandig and Lobo and LuFisto
April 7, 2007 saw one of the more controversial moment among CZW fans as Eddie Kingston defeated Chris Hero in a tremendous Loser Leaves CZW match, only for Zandig to fire Kingston after a personal blowup, creating a bigtime backlash among many of the more hardcore fans of the promotion.
Best of the Best 7 saw Joker winning Best of The Best in a tournament with Human Tornado, Ruckus, Ricochet, Chuck Taylor, B-Boy, Cheech, Ricky Reyes, Sal Thomaselli, Jigsaw, Grim Reefer, Scotty Vortek, Cloudy, Brandon Thomaselli, Vito Thomaselli, Joker, and Drake Younger
August saw Drake Younger vs. Brain Damage end in a double pin draw in an UltraViolent “Barbed-Wire Board, Panes of Glass, Carpet Strips, Falls Count Anywhere” match.
Danny Havoc was the “sole survivor” of Cage of Death in a match that saw his team of Necro Butcher/Toby Klein/Drake Younger/Danny Havoc defeat Brain Damage/DJ Hyde/Dustin Lee/Scotty Vortekz in the Cage of Death.
In December, Cage of Death saw Scott Franklin, Darren Aronofsky and Mickey Rourke visiting CZW’s Cage of Death IX in December, liking what they saw, and committed to the venue for taping of “The Wrestler”
January saw CZW World Heavyweight Title Nick Gage defeated Danny Havoc, Ruckus, Drake Younger, Devon Moore and the returning Eddie Kingston in a 6-way Ultraviolent Rules Match to retain the CZW World Heavyweight Title
The Wrestler, featuring Mickey Rourke got the most positive attention of any wrestling-themed film in US history, with the fictional story of wrestler Randy “The Ram” Robinson (portrayed by Mickey Rourke) set as famous in the 1980s, now working diferent indies for small payoffs. Filming took place at the February 2008 Arena house show, including a scene featuring The Necro Butcher, who wrestled “The Ram” in a “hardcore match”. The fans didn’t react very well to being a cast of a movie, but the footage that later appeared in the movie worked out well.
Sabian won best of The Best 8 over LuFisto, Josh Prohibition, Scotty Vortekz, Drew Gulak, Pinkie Sanchez, Spyral BKNY, Sabian, Drake Younger, Bruce Maxwell, T.J. Cannon, Chuck Taylor, Ricochet, and Stupefied i
Cage of Death 10 saw Devon Moore vs. Sami Callihan vs. Drake Younger vs. Danny Havoc vs. Zandig vs. Brain Damage in a Cage of Death. 2008’s edition saw a double cage structure with a cage inside a cage. Cage one a roof made up of a barbed wire spider net and a scaffold on top of the Cage of Death. Surrounding the Cage that surrounded the ring was a platform surrounding that with tables, chairs, lemon juice, salt, sheets of auto glass enclosed by the second cage.
February 2009 saw Drake Younger defeat Eddie Kingston in a No Rope Barbed Wire Death match to retain the CZW World Heavyweight title.
Best of the Best 9 featured B-Boy, Ryan McBride, Carter Gray, Scotty Vortekz, Sami Callihan, Greg Excellent, Devon Moore, Pinkie Sanchez, Shiima Xion, Sabian, Ego Fantastico, Drew Blood, with Robert “Ego Fantastico” Anthony defeating Sami Callihan in the Finals to win the Best of the Best 9 Tournament..
Cage of Death 11 saw Sami Callihan defeat Danny Havoc Cage of Death
Cage of Death 11 with Sami Callihan defeating Danny Havoc, was demented as ever with two traditional Cage Of Deathcage walls, and two Caribbean spiderweb barbed wire walls that are hangin off at a 45 degree angle with panes of glass on both sides, a scaffold with a hole in the middle with two panes of glass underneath, then four panes of glass on the front of the scaffold and barbed wire at the back and another pane of glass in three corners.
March 2010 saw J.C. Bailey defeat Thumbtack Jack in a Barefoot Thumbtacks Death match.
June 2010 saw another tragedy as Trent Acid died. July saw a Trent Acid Memorial show that raised $7500 for the family and funeral expenses.
August saw D.J. Hyde and Greg Excellent defeat Sami Callihan and Joe Gacy in a Tangled Web Deathmatch
Cage of Death 12 saw Philly’s Most Wanted (Joker and Sabian) defeating The Osirian Portal to win the vacant CZW Tag Team Championships. The Portal goes back up and hit a double team splash/legdrop onto Joker, but even after the hypnotizing and the top rope trauma, they only get 2. Joker finally “comes out of it”, ballshots Amasis, then in a classic lucha finish, Sabian pulled off Ophidian’s mask off and cradles him for the pinfall. The CZW Heavyweight Championship Match
saw Jon Moxley retained his CZW Heavyweight Championship over Homicide.
CZW Ultraviolent Underground Championship Match saw Yuko Miyamoto defeat Hardcore Nick Gage (with Dewey Donovan) to win the CZW Ultraviolent Underground title after an unbelievable Miyamoto moonsault off of a HIGH ladder, that saw him hanging onto the Arena’s rafters to steady himself. This included a barbed wire fence set up as a bridge between the ring and the guardrail. Eventually, Miyamoto goes up to the top and elbowdrops onto Gage and the barbed wire fence, with the structure collapsing. Later, Miyamoto and Gage brawl into the crowd, the men’s room, the merchandise tables, and finally brawling into the VIP section (the old ECW Arena stage area) . Gage tosses Miyamoto off the balcony through a table conveniently below. More toys including a wffleball bat covered with thumbtacks, then a barbed wire bat get used by Gage on Miyamoto ead, Crippler Crossface style, then hangs Miyamoto over the second rope and does it again. The finish sees Miyamoto nail Gage with a ladder via a baseball, hit Gage with a plancha followed by a nearfall. Miyamoto rolls Gage back into the ring for anotehr nearfall, then plows Gage again runs him over with a clothesline followed by a sitout Tombstone in the middle of the ring for one final nearfall. Miyamoto then picks up a giant ladder, sets it up in the corner and climbs the ladder that reaches nearly to the top of the arena and moonsaults off of it, landing with his knees on Gage’s head and chest and takes the pinfall.
The Cage of Death match saw the Suicide Kings (Danny Havoc/Devon Moore/Dysfunction/Scotty Vortekz) defeating Cult Fiction (Brain Damage/Drake Younger/MASADA/tHURTeen, with Halfbreed Billy Gram) in a four-on-four Cage of Death with Wargames rules, with eliminations when a wrestler hit the floor.
On what may well be the final Cage of Death in the ECW Arena, the day started with a Japanese independent show in the afternoon featuring CZW, Big Japan Pro Wrestling DDT, K-Dojo, and FREEDOMS presented the International Indie Summit at the historic ECW Arena.
The afternoon show saw DDT’s Danshuku Dino defeated DJ Hyde with the Danshuku Driver; Sabian and Joker defeated Devon Moore and FREEDOM’s KAMUI after Sabian and Joker pinned KAMUI with the Kings Swing; Sami Callihan retained his CZW Junior Heavyweight title over Yoshihito Sasaki by submitting him after Stretch Muffler was turned ito a modified ankle lock; FREEDOMs’ Takashi Sasaki and K-Dojo’s Kengo Mashimo defeated Drake Younger and MASADA after Mashimo submitted Younger tap out to an armbar; Dick Togo takes on DDT’s KUDO and Takanashi, with KUDO pinning Takanashi with a double knees on Takanashi who hung off the top rope ala the”the tree of woe” The crowd gave Togo a great ovation, given that tonight would be his last show in the historic ECW Arena; with many remembering his Michinoku Pro six-man match at the 1997 ECW Barely Legal PPV with Great Sasuke, Gran Hamada, and Masato Yakushiji defeating Taka Michinoku, Terry Boy, and Togo. The main event was a Shattered Dreams match (panes of glass in every corner) with Big Japan’s Jaki Numazawa and FREEDOMs’ “Crazy Monkey” Jun Kasai defeating Big Japan’s Ryuji Ito and CZW’s Danny Havoc by pinfall when Ito frogsplashed Numazawa for
the pin. This was the expected sick, twisted and bloody match with glass all over the place, and bloodied chests and backs galore.
Then came Cage of Death 13. Pre-show, Eddie Kingston and Vin Gerard got in a fight (presumably worked) outside The Arena. Gerard then got in line for Cage of Death, with what looks like the beginning of a Brian Pillman-type “not part of the show” campaign to work Eddie Kingston, including stopping me during COD and asking me to post that he “would wrestle Kingston in any promotion, even outside of CHIKARA”.
Matches included Jake Crist successfully defendingthe CZW Wired TV title against brother Dave in the Cage of Death opener by pinfall after a super flipping piledriver. In the two out of three falls tables match: BLK OUT (Ruckus, Alex Colon and Chrissy Rivera) defeated The Runaways and Kimber Lee vs First fall, saw The Runaways put Chrissy through a table with a blockbuster/powerbomb combo. Second fall saw Colon enzuigir Joe Gacy off rhe apronl through a table on the floor. BLK OUT won when Ruckus puts Kimberlee through a table with a Falcon Arrow off the apron and to the floor. Kimberlee took some hellacious bumps and actually looked fairly good in the ring. In the siz-man scramble match, Drew Gulak defeated Derek Frazier, Ryan McBride, tHURTeen, Alex Payne and Dustin Rayz with the winner to gets a CZW title shot “in the future”. Dustin Rayz was reported to have broken his femur after landing bad on a twisting moonsault to the floor. Drew Blood beats up Frazier and suicide dives onto him! Gulak pins McBride earning a CZW title shot. Post-match, DJ Hyde “fired Drew Blood”, then scheduled Ryan McBride vs Derek Frazier for January. Drake Younger, again returning to a loud pop, beat the living crap out of Rory Mondo finishing with a top rope copkiller through a chair.
In the eight-man Japanese tag match, Everyone from Indie Summit except Togo is involved. Big Japan’s Jaki Numazawa, Yoshihito Sasak, DDT’s Masahiro Takanashi, and FREEDOM’s KAMUI vs. RYUJI ITO, Takashi Sasaki, K-Dojo’s Kengo Mashimo and DDT’s Danshoku Dino after FREEDOM’s Takashi Sasakii pinned KAMUI. Lots more Dino exotico comedy throughout the match. Philly’s Most Wanted (Sabian/Joker) went to a non contest against Homicide and Eddie Kingston. Late in the match Philly’s Most Wanted is about to go over when Maven Bentley stops the referee from counting a pinfall by Sabian.Not exactly appreciative, Eddie Kingston backfists Maven Bentley out of the ring, follwoed by a Homicide lariat on referee Bret Lauderdale, which got one of the night’s better pops. Lauderdale then calls for bell, which the crowd crapped all over. Meanwhile, post-match, Eddie Kingston sees Vin Girard jumps the rail and chases him oiut of the building. Sami Callihan successfully defended the CZW Junior Heavyweight Title against AR Fox with a Stretch Muffler. Post- match, DJ Hyde came out post-match, and says he’s booked Sami Callihan vs Tommy Dreamer for the CZW Indianapolis show in February on Super Bowl Sunday.
In an ultraviolet pits match (board of spikes and a pit of thumbtacks) , Matt Tremont defeated Danny Havoc by pinfall after interference by Gulak and Mr. Tofiga. In a scary moment, Tremonts boot got stuck in the nail board. Tremont challenges Gulak for the January show. Greg Excellent defeated DJ Hyde in a no DQ match, with the stips being if Excellent wins, Hyde has to “give him three wishes”, and if Hyde wins, Excellen leaves CZW. After a while, the run-in parade begins, as Kylie Pierce takes down DJ, then breaks up Excellent’s pin, as if to say “Can’t you two just stop?”. DJ Hyde thanked Pierce for her interest by spearing her.
Then comes, Mia Yim whoe suplexes Excellent on his head. Kick out. Excellent proceeds to do his Hulk Hogan impression as Hogan’s “Real American”. Excellent makes with the big boot and legdrop, but unlike WWF, Hyde DID kick out of the legdrop of doom. Then, comes Greg Excellents mother (who is actually his mother who works with him in running the Ground Breaking Wrestling promotion in central Pennsylvania), who was last seen being nailed with a Tiger Driver by Excellent several months ago. Mom makes as if she’s on DJ Hyde’ side, then nails Hydfe with a charishot and a stunner.. Hyde kicks out. Then “Youth Gone WIld” cranks up, and the fans go crazy as Zandig runs in, nails Hyde with the spinning lariat, and Excellent finally pins him. Then, Cage of Death 13 saw a combination of suspended cage sides, glass panels, and barbed wire…and ladders reaching to a platform at the top of the Arena, with the CZW World Heavyweight Title belt hanging off of the top of the Arena. The Cage of Death main event (with ladder match rules) saw Devon Moore retaining his CZW Heavyweight Title (in a major surprise to everyone in the crowd) over MASADA, Scotty Vortekz and Robert Anthony. Highlights include Scotty Vortekz being peeled out of the barbed wire on the side of the ring, while stomped on by fellow Nation of Intoxication member Devon Moore…Robert Anthony back first into a pane of glass… ..sickening headbutts by Scotty Vortekz and Devon Moore …Stereo power bombs through glass panes by MASADA on Devon Moore and Anthony on Vortekz, onto a leaning supported side of the cage…Devon Moore spearing Anthony off of the upper frame of the Cage….Vortekz fighting for position on the platform on the top of the side of the cage, throwing MASADA off the side…. Anthony powerbombing Vortek though a pane of glass on the side of the Cage, falling to the Arena floor.
The finish saw MASADA and Devon Moore going up opposite ladders to the platform just below the Title Belt hanging off of the top of the Arena. Both reach the belt. but the belt drops, just so Robert Anthony comes back into the ring, reaches through the cage, but Moore falls through the ceiling and just barely reaches the belt first to retain the title.
There were other promotions that ran here both regularly, and in one shots:
First, the notable ones:
CHIKARA ran monthly and bi-monthly in the ECW Arena from 2005-2011, most notably including the incredible King of Trios tournaments held in whole at the ECW Arena from 2008-2011.
2008 saw BLKOUT (Eddie Kingston, Joker and Ruckus), The Colony (Fire Ant, Soldier Ant and Worker Ant), The F1rst Family (Arik Cannon, Darin Corbin and Ryan Cruz), The Fabulous Three (Larry Sweeney, Mitch Ryder and Shayne Hawke), Las Chivas Rayadas (Chiva II, Chiva III and Chiva IV), Los Luchadores de Mexico (Incognito, Lince Dorado and El Pantera), The Naptown Dragons (Dustin Lee, Drake Younger and Scotty Vortekz), The Order of the Neo–Solar Temple (Crossbones, Hydra and UltraMantis Black), Da Soul Touchaz (Acid Jaz, Marshe Rockett and Willie Richardson), Team BSE (Kobra Kai, La Sombra Canadiense and Super Xtremo), Team DDT (KUDO, MIYAWAKI and SUSUMU), Team El Dorado (Go, Michael Nakazawa and Mototsugu Shimizu), Team IPW:UK (Martin Stone, Sha Samuels and Terry Frazier), Team IWS (El Generico, Player Uno and Stupefied), Team ROH (Alex Payne, Rhett Titus and Shane Hagadorn), and
Team Stranglehold (Andy Sumner, Drew Gulak and Tim Donst); with Los Luchadores de Mexico (Incognito, Lince Dorado and El Pantera) defeating BLKOUT by submission in the final.
2009 saw trios such as The Cold Front 2.0 (Al Snow, D’Lo Brown and Glacier), The Death Match Kings (Brain Damage, Necro Butcher and Toby Klein), The F1rst Family (Arik Cannon, Darin Corbin and Ryan Cruz), F.I.S.T. (Chuck Taylor, Gran Akuma and Icarus), The Masters of a Thousand Holds (Jorge “Skayde” Rivera, Johnny Saint and Mike Quackenbush), The Osirian Portal (Amasis, Escorpion Egipcio and Ophidian), The Roughnecks (Brodie Lee, Eddie Kingston and Grizzly Redwood), Da Soul Touchaz (Marshe Rockett, Trauma and Willie Richardson), Team CZW (Beef Wellington, Greg Excellent and Pinkie Sanchez), Team DDT (Kota Ibushi, KUDO and Michael Nakazawa), Team EPIC WAR (Austin Aries, Ryan Drago and Tony Kozina), Team PWG (El Generico, Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson), Team Uppercut (Bryan Danielson, Claudio Castagnoli and Dave Taylor), and The UnStable (Colin Delaney, STIGMA and Vin Gerard) with Team Uppercut (Bryan Danielson, Claudio Castagnoli and Dave Taylor) defeating Team F.I.S.T in the final
2010 saw trios such as Team Perros Del Mal (Alebrije/Cuije/El Oriental), Team Osaka Pro (Atsushi Kotoge/Daisuke Harada/Tadasuke), Team Big Japan (Daisuke Sekimoto/Kankuro Hoshino/Yuji Okabayashi; with the King of Trios winner being Bruderschaft des Kreuzes (Claudio Castagnoli, Ares, and Tursas) who defeated The Colony (Fire Ant, Soldier Ant, and Green Ant) in the final.
2011 saw the weekend began with an emotional video tribute to Larry Sweeney. The tournament saw trios such as The Osirian Portal (Ophidian/Hieracon/ Amasis), Team 3OLE (El Generico, Scott “Jagged” Parker/Shane Matthews) , F.I.S.T. (Icarus/Chuck Taylor/Johnny Gargano) , Bruderschaft des Kreuzes (Tim Donst/Delirious/Jakob Hammermeier), Da Soul Touchaz (Willie Richardson/Acid Jaz/Marshe Rockett) , Team Dragon Gate (Super Shisa/Akira Tozawa/ Kagetora), Team Osaka Pro (Atsushi Kotoge/Daisuke Harada/Ultimate Spider, Jr.), Team Michinoku Pro (Great Sasuke/Dick Togo/Jinsei Shinzaki), Team Minnesota (1-2-3 Kid/Arik Cannon/Darin Corbin) The Colony become the 2011 King of Trios Champions defeated. F. I. S. T. after a Splashapalooza (top rope Ant Hill) at 21 minutes on Icarus.
The promotion also brought joshi legends into the ECW Arena including Manami Toyota, Mima Shimoda, Aja Kong at their JOSHIMania show in December 2011.
Dragon Gate USA ran the Arena from 2009-2011 Dragon Gate USA filmed their first pay-per-view event, Enter The Dragon at the ECW Areba in July 2009.
with YAMATO defeated BxB Hulk, The Colony (Fire Ant & Soldier Ant), Jigsaw and Mike Quackenbush defeated F.I.S.T. (Icarus/Gran Akuma), Amasis and Hallowicked, Dragon Kid defeated Masato Yoshino, The Young Bucks (Nick and Matt Jackson) defeated Warriors-5 (CIMA and Susumu Yokosuka), Naruki Doi defeated Shingo.
3PW ran from 2002-2005. Pro Wrestling Unplugged ran from 2006-2008.
CZW also ran in cooperation with other promotions, Independent Wrestling Association Mid-South (as part of a doubleheader with CZW) International Wrestling Syndicate (as part of a doubleheader with CZW), westside Xtreme wrestling (two shows as part of doubleheaders with CZW). Ring of Honor held several individual shows, and as part of doubleheaders with CZW, from 2006-2010 .
Jersey All Pro Wrestling ran several shows between 2000-2006, with sample of JAPW talent that worked here including: Elax, Little Dixie, The Christopher Street Connection, NC-17, Ron Zombie, Rick Silver, Crazy Ivan, Dr Hurtz, Laithon, Nick Berk, Trent Acid Ric Blade,The Hit Squad, O Dogg, Flash Wheeler, The Ghetto Blaster in a South Philadelphia Street Fight, Homicide, Jay Lover, Sabu, Axl Rotten, Ian Rotten, Pitbull Gary Wolf, Laithon, Rockin Rebel, Chino Martinez, Judas Young, The Christopher Street Connection, Little Dixie, Don Montoya, Billy Reil, Louie Ramos, The Sandman, Ric Blade, Reckless Youth, Nick Berk, The Rockin Rebel, Don Bon Jovi, Justice Pain, The Moondogs 2000, Johnny Hot Body, Ric Blade, Reckless Youth, Xavier, J Train, Supreme Lee Great, The Moondogs 2000, Don Montoya, J Train, Tommy Suede, Supreme Lee Great, Chino Martinez, Dave Grecco, The S.A.T. Red , The Insane Dragon, Dixie, Backseat Boyz, Minoru Fujita, Reckless Youth, Laithon, Prince Nana, Mike Quackenbush, Kid Kruel, Don Montoya, Dixie, Hit Squad, Hate Squad, Insane Dragon, Mikey Whipwreck, B-Boy, Low Ki, Danny Demanto, Rockin Rebel , Greg Matthews, Greg Spitz, Kevin James, Jay Lethal, The Carnage Crew, Christopher Street Connection, Azrieal Grim Reefer, Chris Candido, E.C. Negro, Samoa Joe, Trent Acid, Frankie Kazarian, Nino Capone, Envy, Matt Donovan, Pinkie Sanchez, Arcadia, Teddy Hart, Jack Evans,The Dead Presidents, Dan Barry, Plazma, Mercedes Martinez, Talia, Grim Reefer, Archadia, Azrieal, M-Dogg 20, The Outkast Killaz, Monte Brown, Danny Demanto, Balls Mahoney, Sabu, ,Sonjay Dutt, The Briscoe Brothers, Charlie Haas, Rhino, Jay Lethal and Teddy Hart
Jersey All Pro Wrestling returned to the ECW Arena in 2010, with a show as part of a doubleheader with Cage of Death 12, and the last show in May 2011, a show featuring New Japan Pro Wrestling with Jado and Gedo, Giant Bernard , Hideo Saito , Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jado , Karl “Machine Gun” Anderson , Kazuchika Okada, Kenny Omega, MVP, Prince Devitt , Ryusuke Taguchi ,Satoshi Kojima , Shinsuke Nakamura, Tama Tonga, Tetsuya Naito, Tiger Mask IV, Togi Makabe, Toru Yano, Yujiro Takahashi, and the legendary Jushin Liger
Two ECW legends shows took place: Hardcore Homecoming (2005) and Legends of the Arena (2009). Single shows and short runs of shows were run by Main Event Championship Wrestling (2001), Major League Wrestling (2002) Heritage Wrestling Alliance(2003), Pro Wrestling WORLD-1 (2004) Pro Wrestling Xplosion (2006), WWE (2006) producing a show using the ECW name, Wicked Hanuman (2007), Velocity Pro Wrestling (2008-2009), and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2010)
Everyone who can should come to the doubleheader of events on January 14 to see the venue as we know it one last time; with Combat Zone Wrestling at 2:30 pm and EVOLVE/Dragon Gate USA at 7:30 pm for the final show at the venue.
Until next time…