Tommy Dreamer Compares Original ECW to Impact Wrestling, Talks Title Shot at No Surrender on his 50th Birthday, more
Show: Interactive Wrestling Radio
Guest: Tommy Dreamer
Your Hosts: James Walsh
Tommy Dreamer is a Hardcore Icon and a legend of the squared circle. Approaching 50 years of age, the “Innovator of Violence” was challenged by the Impact Wrestling World Champion to challenge for the richest prize in Impact at the Impact Plus special No Surrender on Saturday night, February 13th. While Dreamer has not yet officially accepted, the likelihood is that the legendary performer will have a chance of having a birthday to remember as he takes on Rich Swann for the big gold belt.
Impact Wrestling presented a video media call with Tommy Dreamer heading into the big event. Below are text highlights. The whole video and audio of the call can be found at www.WrestlingEpicenter.com.
Impact Wrestling presents No Surrender on Saturday, February 13 from Skyway Studios in Nashville, TN. You can watch the action live on Impact Plus. Visit www.ImpactWrestling.com for details.
On what it would mean to be Impact Wrestling Champion at age 50:
“It would mean everything. I was never a guy who fought or wanted titles. Listen, man. We live in a world where all of our lives changed at once. There’s no more fans. And, it is trying to adapt. For me, it is hope. It is hope that things can change no matter how old you are. I always say that life is a lot like professional wrestling. You’re going to get knocked down a lot. But, you’ve got to get back up and you’ve got to keep on fighting. There are a lot of people who use professional wrestling like I do. They use wrestling as a glimmer of hope and a glimmer of “take us away from the crap that is going on in the world.” I’m just a challenger and this is my first time doing this. Hell, I’m not even on the open of Impact Wrestling! There are things that come with being the face of a company and it is something that I take with pride. This business is as real as it gets and, especially so if you’re the champion because every time you step outside of your house, you represent a company you represent the men and women that are working there… And I’m not just talking about the wrestlers. I’m talking about the employees. I mean, Impact Wrestling has a UK office. You represent everybody and you want your company to succeed. It is an honor to be in this spot. To be the champion of any company? There is a lot of pressure that falls on those shoulders.”
On how he feels at 50:
“When I’m out there, I feel nothing. But, afterwards, when the adrenaline leaves, I feel every bit of 50 years old and wrestling 31 years. ”
On haters bashing older wrestlers that are still active:
“And like I said, if that happens and I win it, whoa it’s a game changer. I’m not a social justice warrior, I see a lot of people straight up hating the fact that I’m in a World Title shot for the fact that I’m 50 years old. There like ‘there’s so much youth’ and all this stuff. Well I’m like ok #1 do you not like me because I’m gonna be 50 on my birthday. I’m sorry I’m 50 and I’m still wrestling. But there should never be that about anything. I’ve even said that like ‘yeah it’s a gift and it’s something that Rich wanted to do’, so how do you begrudge someone?”
On if Impact Wrestling has a similar feel to the original ECW:
“That is a great question and it is very, very similar and especially in the locker room. When I tell you it is (Impact) the coolest locker room? In ECW, it was competitive but it was competitive because we were all trying to make it and the show was first. In Impact Wrestling, we all have a chip on our shoulder and we’re trying to compete the entire time. Think of all the times people have written off this company and it has been around forever. The back is awesome. And then, the in rings are amazing! What I got to experience and why I am the way I am, when I was in my 20’s – And a lot of people don’t realize but when ECW went out of business, I was 29 years old. But, when I was 26 years old, I’d come back through that curtain and I would have Terry Funk, Paul Heyman, and Mick Foley all trying to help me be better… Kevin Sullivan was another guy. All trying to help me with knowledge and to learn from my mistakes. And now? The wrestlers of Impact Wrestling can come back through the curtain and they have Tommy Dreamer, Don Callis, D’Lo Brown, Scott D’Amore, Rhino… They have so many people to help them get better. It is great. Again, we’re in a time where we don’t have fans. But, when you see the guys in the back watching your match and reacting to it, that is your audience. And, it is amazing to see. It truly is because you have probably a thousand years of experience combined and wrestlers are still popping at moves and popping at stuff because we’re the biggest fans of them all. I love that stuff. I really do!”
On missing Puerto Rico where he worked for IWA Total Impact:
“For me man, I miss Puerto Rico and the biggest part of what I miss is the fans ….. But it’s how wrestling fans are in Puerto Rico. I fit in there great with my crazy style. They’re just so passionate. Even when I went there with WWE, I think they’re so passionate because they didn’t receive it as much outside of Carlos’s company and when IWA was running… it’s a great different.”
On the Tony Khan appearing on Impact Wrestling:
“When Tony Khan showed up a couple of weeks ago, first Jerry Lynn walked in and I know Jerry Lynn lived in Tennessee, I was like, ‘Hey man, what’s going on?’ and he said, ‘Oh hi, I was just coming by to say hello.’ Later on, all of a sudden, Tony Khan came in two hours later. Then I see them, and they’re on television. If it’s not my segment, I really don’t care about it, and I want to watch it on television.”
On memories of when ECW invaded WWE in 1997:
“Back in the day with ECW, we were told by Paul Heyman [that] this is the agreement,” Dreamer said. “They’re trying to do stuff to go after WCW to try to get those ratings back. And we’re trying to promote our first pay-per-view. That was the gist of the relationship. None of us knew that Paul Heyman was getting a paycheck from WWE. When me and Sandman first showed up at In Your House, we legit had snipers. Professional wrestlers. The Eliminators. Taz. The Pitbulls. [These guys were] in the audience because if a real fight was going to go down, you would’ve seen a riot because we were ready. When Gerry Brisco came down, and he’s trying to stop us, he was ready to fight. He was like, ‘Come on, you motherf’–kers,’ and I looked in his eyes, and I thought this was on. Bradshaw didn’t know it was going to happen. The only person who knew was Savio. So there’s these secrets in wrestling that only a few are privy to. I think it’s a great relationship because you’re getting to see dream matches,” Dreamer said. “Kenny Omega is the AEW World Champion, he shows up on Impact, and it was a great tag match. Last night on AEW, you had wrestlers from AEW, Impact Wrestling, and New Japan Pro Wrestling on the same show. How awesome is that? The possibilities are endless. For booking, for match-ups, anywhere you want to go. And that’s great for who? Pro wrestling fans, and the business.”
On WWE’s deal to put WWE Network on Peacock:
“I have to tell you this. Vince McMahon received a billion dollars for his product on one day, so whatever he’s doing, he’s doing better than everybody on this call. I can’t knock somebody who gets a billion dollars for their stuff. I’ve worked with Vince McMahon, I personally have no issues with Vince McMahon.”
On wrestling being a subjective form of entertainment:
“There’s times where I watch WWE and I’m like, ugh. But guess what? There’s times I watch AEW, there’s times I watch Impact, and I’m like, ugh. Because we’re all different. Me and D’Lo [Brown], we could watch the same match. He could be like, ‘That was great!’ while I could be like, ‘That sucked!’ It’s different opinions.”
Over the generations, professional wrestling has evolved. Dreamer referenced watching the product of yesteryear and noted how he doesn’t think that style would work today.
On Undertaker’s comments:
“To say it’s soft, listen, I watch wrestling everyday. I watch too much wrestling. I watch wrestling from the 70’s called IWA. And I’m watching these guys that were main eventers and I’m saying to myself, a lot of these guys couldn’t get jobs today … It’s different. It’s different generational, and it’s different from the years. It’s just, different. And it’s okay. Every sport changes. There’s baseball players like Pete Rose and Johnny Bench, when you used to be able to slide head first. You used to be able to knockout a catcher. You do that [today], you’re out. It’s different generations of how you play the game. The game progresses because life progresses.”