First, I have to get this off of my chest.
Last week pissed me off. Not because of the reason it apparently did for so many people; namely the angle at the end... because it was designed by Gabe Sapolsky to go forward with Sami Callihan's character in EVOLVE. Like it or not, that's how a promoter has to think....and apparently a lot didn't. It would also be logical, denials from EVOLVE or not, to assume that there is some tie-in with the Extreme Reunion project, who will be running a show at the Northeast Pennsylvania National Guard Armory. If there isn't, there should have been.
It pissed me off because January 14 saw 19 years of wrestling history being taken away by Stein and Silverman (the two center city lawyers who actually own it); and concert promoter Joanna Pang, all of whom appear to have little or no real interest in that history. (I do want to make special note that the following paragraphs are my OWN opinion. They were not solicited by anyone involved with Combat Zone Wrestling, CHIKARA, EVOLVE, Dragon Gate USA or anyone else in the wrestling business; and they are not aware of what's been written below.)
We all know that legends ranging from Terry Funk, The Sheik, Abdullah the Butcher, Ric Flair
, and Eddie Guerrero
to Japan's Jushin Liger, Manami Toyota, and Aja Kong, and a thousand more, all the way to the two current WWE
champions CM Punk
and Bryan "Daniel Bryan" Danielson; all those have performed at the ECW Arena. This change to a concert venue is going to take place, even though the neighborhood has previously made clear that they do not want a concert venue in their neighborhood (in meetings several months ago); and also made this clear back in 2002 when the adult film company sponsored XPW promotion had an exclusive lease on the building and announced plans (presumably with the permission of Stein and Silverman) to run concerts there, as well as XPW wrestling shows.
So they were ready to deal with an adult film company. They also seem not to be especially concerned about others they deal with as well.
In an 1991 Philadelphia Daily News article found at this link
; it was reported that they had to stand before a federal judge in Philadelphia; in a case that saw them nearly forced to forfeit two mortgages worth $100,000 that were given to them as collateral for a loan. U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III eventually found that "attorneys [Stein and Silverman] didn't know they were dealing with drug traffickers" when they accepted the mortgages from South Philadelphia drug kingpin-turned- informant Nicholas D'Amato and his brother, Carmen 'Butchy' D'Amato as collateral for a $39,000 loan. They were told the loan was to build a modular home on a lot in New Jersey. But the judge did find that the two "were less than meticulous in the handling of the loan transaction," noting that the firm "never inspected the two properties and waited almost a month before recording the mortgages." In other words, they had no idea if it was really for the stated purpose.
Then there's Joanna Pang, who is the new leaseholder. In August 2011, Pang and the Trocadero Theatre under the corporate umbrella of Joon Associates Inc., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy; specifically citing Ticketmaster fees as the reason for the move as noted at this link
, among many sources.
So adult film companies, drug traffickers (with knowledge or not), and a concert promoter whose venue recently declared Chapter 11.
But they don't seem ready to deal with wrestling promoters such as DJ Hyde who have not just allowed Toys for Tots to hold collections at their largest show for the last seven years, but have actively promoted the collections and given money out of their own pockets; or Mike Quackenbush of CHIKARA Pro Wrestling, who for years has allowed numerous people with special needs to attend shows for free...and has never mentioned that fact, or attempted to use it to put himself or his promotion over (and also allowed Toys for Tots collections for the last two years).
As for their lack of interest in the building's history, Silverman has claimed publicly he "is under the impression that wrestling will remain at the arena." He said in an article in the Temple University News that "I have been quoted in the Daily News saying that I do not like wrestling," Silverman said. "But that does not mean that wrestling won't occur in the arena. Our goal is for the arena to be used as much as possible so we will do what is best for everyone."
So, Mr. Silverman; are you prepared to publicly state that the new venue will alllow wrestling shows to be held, without limits (beyond what the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission has); and that you will do whatever possible to assure rents for said events are not as unreasonable as many fear they will be set at?
As for Ms. Pang, she has stated that she is "not opposed to pro wrestling in the venue". So is she willing to state publicly that she will keep rental prices for independent wrestling shows at affordable prices so that shows can actually be held at the building? I'm not holding my breath waiting for such an assurance anytime soon.
The ECW Arena as we know it no longer exists. What change will this fact bring? A lot.