New Alhambra 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.
Freight warehouse (1970s-1980s)
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 (1980s-1993)
The warehouse was given the name Viking Hall
in the 1980s
after it was bought by the South Philadelphia Viking Club, a local chapter of mummers
. 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.
South Philadelphia fans were prominent in the rise of ECW from a local promotion to a national promotion. A dollar store was located next to the venue on South Swanson Street, allowing ECW fans to buy cookware and bakeware that they would hand to wrestlers during shows to be used as weapons.
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.
New Alhambra Arena (2004-present)
The building's name was officially changed to New Alhambra Sports and Entertainment Center in 2004 following a transfer of ownership, and was later shortened to New Alhambra Arena in 2006. The name pays homage to the original Alhambra Movie Theater in South Philadelphia that hosted boxing cards in the 1950s and 1960s.
New Alhambra Arena is today home to regional professional wrestling and boxing promotions. It has been frequented by Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) since 2001. In 2005 it 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 was used in The Wrestler, a film starring Mickey Rourke.
Hardcore Hall of Fame
Banners and frames commemorating the careers of these professional wrestlers are on display within New Alhambra Arena: