- Richard Smith
2300 Arena – Major League Wrestling
Photos by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.29
2300 Arena 2300 South Swanson Street Philadelphia, PA 19148
Major League Wrestling website 2300 Arena website
Year Opened: 1993 Capacity: 1,300
Home Of Extreme Legends
It is strange to think that a building that looks boring from the outside and sits in a warehouse neighborhood almost literally under I-95 has had such an eventful sports entertainment past. The 2300 Arena was made famous when it was known as the ECW Arena from 1993 to 2001. Extreme Championship Wrestling (originally Eastern Championship Wrestling) was a professional wrestling promotion that gave the then-WWF (now WWE) and the former WCW, a run for their money by offering much more “extreme” variations of professional wrestling. Paul Heyman, Mick Foley, Sabu, Sandman, Raven, and Tommy Dreamer are just some of the famous names who worked in that promotion and at that building.
One of the most famous ECW Arena events was Hardcore Heaven 1994 which ended with an onslaught of chairs being thrown into the ring after originally being requested to do so by Terry Funk and Mick Foley’s Cactus Jack character.
ECW closed in 2001 and WWE bought the name, assets, and video rights, which they used again from 2006-2010 as a third brand alongside their Raw and Smackdown stables.
The facility was originally a freight warehouse that was built in 1974 and was also known as Viking Hall prior to 1993, when the South Philadelphia Viking Club, a local chapter of Mummers used the building for storage and to rehearse for the annual Mummers Parade.
After 2001, the venue went through many names, often known by the promotion that was paying the rent. The names were: Alhambra Arena, The Arena, Asylum Arena, ECW Arena, CZW Arena, and XPW Arena. Since 2013 it has been known just as 2300 Arena due to its main entrance at 2300 South Swanson Street.
The venue has been drastically remodeled since the extreme days, especially in terms of amenities and restrooms. Besides wrestling the venue is used for concerts, boxing matches, MMA fights, and corporate events.
Major League Wrestling is an Orlando, Florida-based professional wrestling promotion
Food & Beverage 3
The venue has a large bar in the lobby. Drink choices are limited but the prices are cheaper than most professional venues.
There is a decent snack bar in the main arena area that offers typical stadium and arena food. There is a good chance you will see a wrestler in line waiting for a hot dog along with the fans.
This warehouse building should not work as a sports venue. But the facility just drips with the atmosphere. It may not be as gritty and grimy as the old ECW days but it still works as a fun wrestling venue.
There are no permanent stands, but folding chairs surround the ring. It does mean that if you are in the back of the room, you may be limited in seeing some action, especially when the action goes ringside.
The neighborhood is essentially a warehouse district in South Philadelphia. That means it is an area you should use some level of caution, but it is still fairly safe. There will also be a large crowd before and after the event to help temper any safety issues.
Some of the best cheesesteaks are located within walking distance of 2300 Arena at Tony and Nick’s on Oregon Avenue, also underneath I-95. Don’t fall for the more touristy Pat’s and Geno’s. Tony and Nick’s offers more options with much better flavor. Tony and Nick’s can get crowded often and still gets its share of tourists. You may also run into a wrestler to two after an event.
The rest of Philadelphia is a quick drive away. The options in the town are nearly limitless.
These will be some of the most knowledgeable and spirited wrestling fans you may ever experience. They will know the wrestlers, their moves, and the required chants and sayings.
Some may consider Philly sports fans to be a bit rough, but we found the 2300 Arena faithful very friendly and inviting.
The arena is located right off of I-95; it is almost literally under I-95. If you can find your way to Tony Luke’s at Oregon and the I-95 overpass, you only need to go north for a couple of blocks and you will be there.
There is plenty of parking in the area, but you should use your best judgment on the safety of some roads. If you see many people parking in an area that is the best place to head for. The quiet, dark parking space down the block may not be the best route to go around here. Use good judgment.
Return on Investment 5
Tickets for Major League Wrestling are as low as $20 plus fees through the promotion’s website for general admission seats. Expect to pay much more for better seats and/or tickets that include VIP meetups.
You should be able to park for free and coupled with the decent food prices, the value of attending an event here is fairly good, especially for a venue in a large city.
For a wrestling fan, just being in the world-famous “ECW Arena” is worth a couple of extra points. For many fans, this place is their Wrigley Field or Fenway Park.
The venue is also home to the Hardcore Hall of Fame where you can see the names of past legends such as Tommy Dreamer, The Blue Meanie, Eddie Guerrero, and many more.
The venue has been cleaned up, but try to remember past events such as Super Summer Sizzler, November to Remember 1993, and Holiday Hell 1993. You may almost be able to hear the clanking of chairs and the destruction of tables.
The arena’s proximity to such a good cheesesteak option such as Tony Luke’s is just another extra.
A visit here to any event, let alone a wrestling event such as Major League Wrestling, is a must for anyone who remembers the hardcore, extreme version of professional wrestling that was alive in the 1990s.