Online Petition Demands Pro-Wrestling Remain at South Philly Arena

Philadelphia’s historic Asylum/South Philly/ECW/whatever-you-want-to-call-it arena is switching hands, and now there’s a petition to keep professional wrestling and other physical sporting events at the historic spot.

Roger Artigiani, who owned interests in the arena with majority owners and lawyers Stein & Silverman, it was recently announced, sold his interests to the Center City law partners. Stein & Silverman, who admitted to the Daily News in October they do not care for hardcore wrestling, will now be turning managing operations over to Joanna Pang, who previously maintained the Trocadero, after her father, Stephen Pang, leased it to her and her sister in 1996. The Trocadero recently filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection, blaming Ticketmaster for its woes.

Pang, it’s said, is interested in holding concerts at the South Philly venue. Local hardcore wrestling organization, Combat Zone Wrestling, will continue holding its events there, for the time being. Wrestling events have been scheduled at the arena for January 2012. Though the long-term future of the arena is unclear.

A Facebook page called “Keep Wrestling at the Asylum Arena” popped up late last week and has so far gained 91 “Likes.” It’s Wall doesn’t give much of a reason for keeping wrestling at the arena, besides videos of past professional wrestling bouts, such as a scene in which wrestling legend Terry Funk asked for a steel chair from the audience, and proceeds to have dozens of chairs thrown at him from all corners of the attending crowd.

The Asylum Arena, originally a warehouse and then a Mummers Hall, re-opened as the Extreme Championship Wrestling Arena in 1993, and remained as such until 2001, a couple years before ECW was bought out by World Wrestling Entertainment. Numerous professional wrestling leagues have come and gone in the arena. The venue also hosts boxing and mixed martial arts events, including Philly’s Locked in the Cage.

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