Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Heating Up The Igloo...One Last Time...


This coming Monday Night marks the end of an era. Despite it being the site of Monday Night Raw, the WWE will probably not acknowledge the fact that it will mark the final time a wrestling card is held in the legendary Igloo.

Pittsburgh Civic Arena. Mellon Arena. The Igloo. Whatever you choose to call it, the building is full of history from many areas of sport and entertainment. The legendary Mario Lemieux. Elvis' final New Years Eve. Sudden Death. But what about Bruno? Kurt? Even Mick Foley?

Opening nearly fifty years ago, the Arena was the site of many classic bouts of yesteryear. Bruno Sammartino, Gorilla Monsoon, and Killer Kowalski were just some of the classic grapplers who poured their blood, sweat, and tears under the Igloo's bright lights. Legendary Pittsburgh broadcaster "Chilly Billy" Cardille lent his voice to the Steel City's own Studio Wrestling show to entice fans to the arena in droves.

In the '80s, both the WWF and NWA brought their brands of pro wrestling to the building. In 1987, the famous NWA Bunkhouse Stampede cage match final was held here. The bloody brawl, featuring "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes and Big Bubba Rogers, is still talked about by both fans who were there, and those who were turned away outside due to filled capacity.

February 28, 1992 brought a main event of Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper taking on Ric Flair and Sid Justice to the Igloo. It also brought yours truly to his first live wrestling show.

Later that decade, the WWF would bring SummerSlam, various television tapings, and King of the Ring 1998 to the arena. The latter, most memorable for Mick Foley's performance in a Hell in the Cell match with The Undertaker, was recently deemed one of the most memorable moments in Arena history by fans.

An assortment of memorabilia highlighting
Pittsburgh wrestling and it's many stars and events.

It's said about so many venues, but there really isn't a bad seat in the house. From attending with my family, to my dad, and now with close friends, the old building will always hold a special place in my heart. I'll be there Monday Night...and I may just shed a tear.

I know I'm not the only one.

With a pierogie on my fork and an Iron City in my fist...Igloo...I salute you.

Thanks for the memories.

6 comments:

Come As You Are... said...

beautiful words, Josh. I fear the day, which I knew is soon, that the Baltimore Arena(I refuse to call it the First Mariner Arena. Anyone growing up around the Arena will always know it as the Baltimore Arena.) will close down.

J\/\/ said...

It'll be a sad time like it is for us here.

No one here calls it the Mellon Arena. It's either the Igloo (mostly to hockey fans) or the Civic Arena.

David said...

It's also where we met!

And don't forget the Wrestlemania I debacle.

J\/\/ said...

It sure is! I almost listed the WMI debacle.

David said...

Just saw this, and knew you'd be interested:

"Primo was just on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh to promote Monday's RAW show as being the final wrestling show at Mellon Arena. During the conversation, he mentioned how they will be selling a special commemorative t-shirt exclusively at the event to honor this being the final show. Apparently the shirt will pay tribute to the various PPV, RAW and Smackdown events that have been held in the building. It gave the impression they might do some sort of video feature on the history as well on Monday. He also mentioned how the main event on Monday will be John Cena vs. Batista."

J\/\/ said...

Wow! Very nice! Looks like I'll have to dip into the reserves! Awesome news!