This past weekend, I went to a wrestling show put on by the folks of International Wrestling Cartel. It's always a good time when I go there as they always put on excellent shows and even bring in some top names from all over the country.
This particular night, I found myself in the presence of greatness when I met former ECW World champion Tommy Dreamer.
When people think of legends in professional wrestling, they always point to guys like Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Ric Flair or Sting, but the name Tommy Dreamer rarely comes up.
I remember when I first learned who Tommy Dreamer was while reading "Pro Wrestling America" magazine. The magazine was talking about independent wrestling companies from all around North American, and I would learn of one on the other side of the state from me known as "Extreme Championship Wrestling". The main wrestler from ECW that the magazine had profiled happened to be Tommy Dreamer. I had never heard of him before that moment, but suddenly I found myself trying to find out not only more about ECW but more about Tommy Dreamer as well.
One night, a 13 year old me happened to be up on a late Friday Night/Early Saturday morning along with my 15 year old brother, and there it was "Extreme Championship Wrestling". It was different from ANYTHING the WWF or WCW were offering at the time, which was the basis of it's appeal. It was crazy, chairs, barbed wire, scantily clad women, everything a teenager going through puberty would want.
It was amazing to me. And there was Tommy Dreamer feuding with Raven. It seemed like these two men truly wanted to kill each other everytime they found themselves in the ring at the same time. It was a wrestling feud the way that it should be. I will never forget Raven taunting Dreamer about how he had never pinned him. Then one night I watched ECW as they were showing highlights from Wrestlepalooza 1997, and there it was, that moment when Dreamer hit the DDT on Raven and not only defeated him, but ran him out of ECW in a "Loser Leaves Town" match.
Tommy Dreamer truly was the heart & soul of ECW. He didn't have to win all the time, he didn't need to be the World Champion, he just went out there each and every week and put on an excellent match for the fans. After ECW, closed I remember when he took his talents to WWE. While at one point he was given a shitty gross out gimmick, he seemed to take it all in stride without complaint. I will never forget going to a WWE house show back in 2002 at the Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh and seeing him lose the WWE Hardcore title to Bradshaw and regaining it in the same night! It's a special treat to see the title change hands at a house show, and I got to witness it!
Now 10 years later, there I was at an IWC show seeing him defeat "Big League" John McChessney in an Extreme Rules match. As I watched him compete, it was like going into a time machine to being that same 13 year old kid who stayed up to see if he could finally take out Raven. And when it's all said and done, if anyone should be in any form of a pro wrestling Hall of Fame, he's one of them. I don't measure a wrestler's worth on how many fake fights they won or how many belt they had, I measure it on their contributions to the business and how well they played their position. And Mr. Dreamer, you played your position well. Thank you.
As always, if you want to give me any feedback you can email me at email@example.com or you can hit me up on Twitter @whosantcox and until the next time, God Bless.
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