SuplexMania takes hold of South Street

As Wrestlemania 40 fever takes over South Philadelphia this weekend, Lincoln Financial Field isn’t the only place to enjoy a celebration of all things wrestling. 

You can still find professional live wrestling, photo opportunities, memorabilia and special guests in a different part of South Philly. 

Suplex Vintage Wrestling will host an all-day, all-ages wrestling block party that will close down traffic on the 600 block of South Street on April 6, with a full-scale wrestling ring to be set up in the middle of the street, celebrating the return of professional wrestling’s ultimate event that was last held in Philadelphia 25 years ago. 

From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., South Street will hold live matches with professional wrestlers in the center of a festive party that will include the normal food and drink, music and dancing the famous avenue is known for. 

Brauhaus Schmitz will host an outdoor Biergarten with beer from Stone Cold Austin as well as The People’s Margarita made with Dwayne Johnson’s Teramana Tequila, plus other cold beverages. Hip hop artist and wrestling enthusiast Westside Gunn will be in attendance selling apparel from his “4th Rope” pop-up shop. There is no charge to attend the event. Food, drink and merchandise will be pay-as-you-go.

“Philadelphia is a wrestling city,” said Suplex Vintage Wrestling co-owner Chris Kindig. “It has a lot of history, a lot of prestige. We are almost obligated to give to that culture that started here. When people come to our store for the first time their eyes light up. We pride ourselves on being a slice of wrestling heaven. For SuplexMania, it is going to be unlike anything you have ever seen in Philadelphia. This celebration is about welcoming wrestling fans into our great city, celebrating the electrifying energy of WrestleMania, and showcasing our collection that took more than a decade to bring together. We can’t wait for the celebration. Look for the big open-air wrestling ring – right in the middle of South Street. See you there.”

Kindig and Suplex Vintage Wrestling co-owner Mike Molino opened the store about a year and a half ago and modeled it with influences from the now-defunct Extreme Championship Wrestling, which held its matches at the 2300 Arena in South Philly. Kind and Molino are hoping wrestling fans will enjoy their store, which sells vintage clothing, toys, championship belts and trading cards, while taking in the fun of the block party.  

“The SuplexMania Block Party is the ultimate destination for fans to immerse themselves in the world of professional wrestling and connect with fellow enthusiasts,” Molina said. “Whether you’re a die-hard fan or just looking for a fun-filled day out with friends and family, this event has something for everyone.”

South Street isn’t the only place in South Philly with wrestling events on tap. The aforementioned 2300 Arena on Swanson Street is loaded with events leading up to Wrestlemania 40, including arena tours with The Blue Meanie. The South Philly native will lead fans around the famous former ECW Arena on April 3 (4 p.m and 7 p.m.) and give behind-the-scenes stories of the legends who roamed the building while watching iconic footage from the past. Photo ops available and enjoy a cold beer or a “Brain Freeze” Blue Meanie Slushie during a Q&A session afterward. Tickets are $20.

On April 4, Stardom American Dream 2024 invades the 2300 Arena with women’s wrestling at 3 p.m. Tickets start at $40. Following the event, the arena will be cleared in time for The Mark Hitchcock Memorial Wrestlecon SuperShow. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for the 7 p.m. show featuring matches such as Masato Tanaka vs. Josh Alexander; Rob Van Dam vs. Mike Bailey and Nic Nemeth vs. Joey Janela. Tickets start at $50.

Capping off the night is a music concert by former WWE star Jeff Hardy at 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $30.

On April 5, Battleground Professional Wrestling takes the stage with two shows at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets start at $30 and the 7 p.m. show is sold out. Matches in the 1 p.m. show include a three-way dance among PCO, Matt Riddle and Jake Something and a championship match between Lince Dorado and Brian Kendrick.