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Mike Pankow

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Extreme Icon Tommy Dreamer still going strong

Extreme Icon Tommy Dreamer still going strong

By Mike Pankow

October 5, 2018

For most people who’ve seen Tommy Dreamer wrestle, they might feel the 25-year veteran is just a little bit crazy, but for Dreamer, that’s just a normal day.

The man known as “The Innovator of Violence” has performed so many ridiculous stunts inside and outside of a wrestling ring that even Jackass’ Johnny Knoxville would need to take a bow.

Whether it was being hit with weapons like kendo sticks or trash cans, being driven through wooden tables or falling 25 feet to the floor, Dreamer has racked up some serious injuries over the years.

“I’d be a hypocrite to tell you not to do something, because I would walk into a building and say I’m going to get thrown from there,” said Dreamer, 47, during his appearance at Wizard World Chicago in late August. “Sometimes I go into buildings and say I’ve been thrown higher than this ceiling to the concrete, sometimes not even through tables.”

Dreamer’s first big break, literally and figuratively, came in ECW in the 1990s in a place where weapons and extreme wrestling were not only welcomed but encouraged.

“Anytime you take an inherent risk in the early days of ECW with fire or barbed wire, it really wasn’t crazy, it was just the norm,” Dreamer said.

After a long stint with ECW, Dreamer moved on to WWE once ECW went out of business in 2001. Since he has worked for companies great and small all around the world. Even as he gets older, Dreamer hasn’t slowed down much.

“I’m 47 years old,” Dreamer said. “Last year, I wrestled 187 dates. I worked for WWE with the WWE Network, Ring of Honor, IMPACT Wrestling, House of Hardcore, Lucha Underground. I’m doing the same this year as well. This summer has been insane. I have seen my daughters a total of six days this summer, which breaks my heart. But I’m also busting my ass for their future. The good thing is I’m my own boss.”

Dreamer’s daughters just entered high school. Fans may know that they alternated playing Janice and Bobby “Bacala” Baccalieri’s daughter on the HBO hit show, “The Sopranos.”

“They were washed up at 2,” Dreamer deadpanned.

Part of Dreamer’s plan to make his daughters’ future better was to run one of his own shows – and that’s how House of Hardcore was born.

“It was all about the motto ‘No politics, no BS, just wrestling,’ ” Dreamer said. “I always wanted to do it. I guess it was the natural progression of Tommy Dreamer from ECW running shows, WWE running shows, running the developmental system (Ohio Valley Wrestling and Deep South Wrestling). I wanted to do just one. It started with a wrestling school and part of the deal with the wrestling school was to run a show at the venue. And now (we’ve just finished) House of Hardcore 50, so it’s been working.”

Dreamer is bringing his House of Hardcore brand to the Midwest when HOH 51: Blizzard Brawl takes place in Suburban Milwaukee on Saturday, Dec. 1. Stars already booked for the show include Al Snow, MVP, Abyss, Eugene, Sami Callihan and Wisconsin native Hornswoggle. Dameon Nelson and David Herro, big names in the Milwaukee wrestling scene, also will appear.

Dreamer’s passion for the wrestling business is deep. The Yonkers, N.Y. native said he’s always been a fan.

“I love it,” Dreamer said. “I still watch probably at least one match a day on the WWE Network. I’m crazy.”

His passion helped open the door to waving his fanboy flag as part of Busted Open Radio on SiriusXM Fight Nation. Dreamer is an occasional co-host on the weekday morning show, which is hosted by Dave LaGreca. Dreamer often reminisces about old matches and feuds while talking about old wrestling magazines and brings a unique perspective to wrestling fans.

“I love Busted Open,” Dreamer said. “I’m under contract with SiriusXM Radio. They just extended my contract, so that’s pretty cool. It has also opened doors for me with MLB Network doing fantasy (baseball), of which I’m a big fan, but also talking baseball and talking sports. Hopefully, I’ll have my own show, that’s what we’re working toward.”

As part of Busted Open, he often exchanges barbs with his old friend, Bully Ray (aka Bubba Ray Dudley), who shares the co-host chair on the show.

“We’ve have been having fat wars since 1994 when he was super heavy,” Dreamer explained. “Everyone doesn’t realize, no matter what, he has never weighed less than me. I’ve always weighed less than him. When he was in IMPACT Wrestling and he was the champ, he got himself into amazing shape. At one point, there was a six-pound difference, but that’s the closest we ever came.”

Dreamer’s visit to Wizard World was a rare weekend when he didn’t wrestle, but he knows what his heart wants.

“I really don’t like to just sign autographs, I like to wrestle,” he said. “I know one day, my body is just going to say, ‘I can’t take it anymore.’ ”

ECW Original Tommy Dreamer is interviewed by Windy City Slam editor Mike Pankow about his hardcore wrestling style, his days in ECW, his travels in the wrestling business, founding House of Hardcore, plus working on Busted Open Radio and his "fat war" with Bully Ray. Video shot by John Wroblewski of Johngy's Beat at Wizard World Chicago on Friday, August 24, 2018.

 Tommy Dreamer speaks during a wrestlers’ panel at Wizard World Chicago on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018.  (Photo by Mike Pankow)

Tommy Dreamer speaks during a wrestlers’ panel at Wizard World Chicago on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. (Photo by Mike Pankow)

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