There seems to be some confusion — based on web searches that end up at this blog — over what exactly the main sports arena in Boston is called and how it relates to the WWE. At the risk of boring my friends from New England, here’s a quick rundown.
The old Boston Garden was built in 1928 and hosted its last event in 1995 before being torn down two years later. It held monthly WWWF and WWF wrestling cards in the heydays of Bruno Sammartino, Bob Backlund, and Hulk Hogan. The most famous match from that arena was probably Randy “Macho Man” Savage’s defeat of Tito Santana in 1986 to win the Intercontinental Title. The arena was also the site of the 1993 Survivor Series. Those of us who were lucky enough to attend events in the building remember its great sightlines for sports, obstructed views in sections, and no air conditioning.
In 1995, the Boston Garden was replaced by a much larger, more modern arena that was built next to the old building. During construction, it was known as the Shawmut Center after a bank that soon after ceased to exist. At its opening, it became the FleetCenter, and in later years was called the TD BankNorth Garden and now it’s current moniker, the TD Garden. While some people call this building the Boston Garden, most locals just call it “The Garden.”
The biggest WWE event held here was WrestleMania XIV in 1998, during which Stone Cold Steve Austin won the WWF Title from Shawn Michaels, with Mike Tyson as referee. The arena has also hosted other major wrestling pay-per-views and TV tapings, and was an occasional stop for WCW Monday Nitro. It was also the site of UFC 118 (and I must admit some surprise at how many people search on the web for UFC 118 and end up at this blog).
Which was the better arena? My vote is for the old Boston Garden, strictly on atmosphere and the awesome balcony seats, which overhung the lower seating area and made you feel like you were on top of the wrestling action. If you want better food options, cleaner bathrooms, and more comfortable seats, then the TD Garden is for you. But the newer arena is just a big, faceless cave.