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It's a story that could only exist in the world of professional wrestling.
In this realm, a man can be beaten on for 15 minutes only to have the energy of his fanbase start to course through his veins, starting an improbable comeback. In professional wrestling, it isn't unreasonable that a mysterious Japanese kung fu master can blow mist into his opponent's face and render them blind, paralyzed or even worse.
The entire sport is built upon the premise that grown men, clad in tights and laced up boots, choose to settle their differences inside of a ring, in front of thousands of people in attendance and another few million watching at home.
Only in this world can a nondescript building in south Philadelphia become one of the most famous and beloved wrestling venues in the entire world. Only in this world can a former bingo hall also be where Shane Douglas threw down the most historic title in the sport's history, starting a domino effect that would eventually lead to wrestling's second boom period.
But every tall tale, every fantastic fable, eventually comes to an end. And it seems ECW Arena's story is just about done.
New management has come in and they seem keen on giving the ax to wrestling and hosting concerts exclusively at the venue. Despite having been established as a wrestling venue for the past two decades -- it's also as of late become quite a successful building to host mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing cards to boot -- the new owners don't care to continue hosting sporting events beyond January of next year.
This kind of financial shortsightedness makes no sense with me. I can understand wanting to expand the venue's palette, so to speak, by doing more than just combat sports and adding concerts to the mix but there's no reason to think the ECW Arena can't house both.
Unless the new owners are planning on making the building the hottest concert venue in south Philly with touring bands each and every night, there should be one or two Saturday a month where companies like CHIKARA can come in, set up shop, and entertain fans for a night.
The company recently held their 10th season finale -- High Noon -- at the venue, a fantastic card that saw Eddie Kingston crowned as the promotion's first Grand Champion. It was the latest in a seemingly endless line of memorable moments that happened inside those four walls.
Moments like when Shane Douglas pinned Too Cold Scorpio in the finals of a tournament to crown a new NWA champion which was followed by him throwing the title down and declaring himself the Extreme Championship Wrestling champ. That single act helped start a domino effect that would eventually lead to wrestling's second boom period.
It looks like the last time fans will get to see wrestling in the "House that Paul Heyman Built" will be on Jan. 14 when Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) and EVOLVE -- Dragon Gate USA's (DGUSA) sister promotion -- host a doubleshot of events, CZW in the afternoon and EVOLVE later that night.
Is this really the end of wrestling at the ECW Arena?
I don't want to completely eulogize the building since the phrase "never say never" rings true even more in the pro wrestling business, a world where giants battle titans, dead men fly through the air and boyhood dreams come true.
Never say never.