Tommy Dreamer was a recent guest on the Why It Ended with Robbie E podcast. Dreamer opened up about a number of topics including the ECW invasion, the time ECW stars saved a group of children from a life threatening bus wreck, why he chose not to work with Stephanie McMahon, and why he ultimately left WWE.
On The ECW Invasion:
WWE was talking to me. That weekend I did two shows for Dusty Rhodes, for his Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling and then I flew to Buffalo to do an ECW reunion show that I was running. It was on a Sunday and on that flight when I landed in Buffalo, I was told that I was gonna be at RAW and then I had to fly back down to Atlanta and the whole time we were driving, Dusty was like, ‘Are you kayfabing me about going to WWE?’ I was like, ‘Dude, I know nothing. JR [Jim Ross] has called me, but I haven’t heard. This has been going on a long time.’ I found out the Sunday before I went there and he said, ‘Nicole call you?’ That was the secretary and they changed my travel….they’re like, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll fly you from Buffalo to Atlanta, Atlanta to La Guardia.’ I found out the night before. I agree it was one of the best RAWs because we shocked the world. They never saw it coming. I loved it and I remember right before I went out, Rob Van Dam was doing those quick little jumping jack things that he does and he goes, ‘Dude, you nervous?’ and I went, ‘No.’ He was like, ‘Yeah, me neither.’ Then I go, ‘Man, I really wish Louie Spicolli was alive because he’d be marking out and the first guy to call us.’ Kane was in the ring like, ‘Go! Go!’ We were having a regular conversation like this and we hit the ring, so then I worked that and then I worked the next night. I didn’t even have a contract.
On The Significance Of His Father Seeing Him Wrestle:
My other most favorite part is my father was losing his vision and he had surgery in his eye. He had glaucoma and he had surgery in his eye and he had 20/20 vision for the first time in his life for three weeks and during those three weeks, that was when I debuted for WWE and he got to see that without glasses. Later, he lost his eyesight in his left eye and he only had 10% vision (or pinpoint vision) in his right eye. He actually got strep in his eyes and lost his vision completely, but for him to see that – my father was the one that got me into wrestling and he supported me throughout my career, took me to WrestleMania I – for me it was one of my favorite accomplishments in my career. Wrestling at Madison Square Garden with him and my uncle in the audience and then buying them a home was one of my favorite things.
On Jim Ross:
I will always credit Jim Ross as the only boss to never lie to me and he said, ‘Don’t worry.’ I actually wrestled without a contract for about a month, which is a little stupid on my behalf because God forbid I got hurt or anything, there was also nothing else out there.
On Saving Children From A Bus Wreck:
If you want to hear a cool story that nobody knows about, myself, Bill DeMott and Stevie Richards were coming back from the gym and this school bus is driving weirdly and the school bus goes off the road…hits the curb, hits an electric poll and flips on its side with a bunch of kids in it….A school bus flips over on its side with an electric poll going off. Me, Stevie, and Bill DeMott jump out and the back bus thing won’t open. The driver either had a stroke or a heart attack and with the electric thing shooting – without any fail – Bill DeMott climbed all the way up and we started pulling children out of this bus as the electric wires are going everywhere and we got everybody out of the bus. We were like real life superheroes….children were being saved from being on fire or being electrocuted.
On Backstage Politics In WWE:
There was very little politics in ECW. Political games hit the moment you get there in WWE and of course you want to succeed and why you want to succeed is money. Would I love to be champion? Yeah, but it didn’t happen. There was a few pushes on the table. I was supposed to do 2-3 pay-per-views with Triple H and that did not pan out. I was supposed to be, at one point, tag team champions with Rob Van Dam and that didn’t pan out. It was not in the cards and you know why? Because wrestling is fake and you’re only as good as somebody wants you to be, so it’s OK. I have no regrets on anything that I did and that’s why my career has not ended and I will wrestle 206 shows this year.
On Raven’s Backstage Heat In WWE:
Have you ever met Raven? Raven back then had a lot of heat. He would be himself and he would also solicit. He was, at one point, not allowed to talk in the WWE locker room for two months. He had to go to wrestler’s court and the only time he was allowed to speak was when he was able to go over his matches and if he was caught speaking, his sentence would double, so he went a month, maybe two months without speaking. Pretty funny. Sh*tty time for him, but he kinda dug his own grave.
On Whether He Enjoyed Working Backstage:
I don’t think a lot of people realize that I was 29 years old when ECW went out of business and I had given my twenties to ECW and now I’m in my thirties and they’re telling me they want me to pretty much retire and work in the office. I was not happy with that position, but my wife, at the time, was pregnant with our twins and there was no wrestling going on other places, so it was either take a job or you’re going to be unemployed. The cool thing about that and I learned a lot from my time in the office and I learned the politics. I learned a lot from Vince [McMahon] and I learned a lot from John Laurinaitis, almost how to play the game even though I don’t like it, but I did and it actually helped me for my second run in the company. I got to see two sides to every story because jerk wrestlers….are always like, ‘It’s the office against me. It’s always us vs them,’ when it’s not always that case because no one wants to look in the mirror and say, ‘Maybe it’s me. Should I be champion? I should be heavyweight champion,’ but then you think about it, how can you be heavyweight champion when they chant for another company called ECW? Or how could you be a champion when you wear a tee-shirt and the boss likes muscular guys? No one wants to say those things. People just want to blame other people for their lack of a push. That’s why I did a lot of soul searching and a lot of learning. I also found out that WWE wanted me in the office from day one.
(Transcription Credit: Michael McClead, WrestleZone)
There’s more on the next page including Dreamer’s take on WWE’s version of ECW, why he chose not to work with Stephanie McMahon and why he ultimately left WWE.