Tommy Dreamer is accurately described as the heart and soul of ECW. However, he has taken that heart and soul and put it into his new wrestling promotion, House of Hardcore. Featuring top names in wrestling, his company prides itself on passion and work ethic. I spoke with one of the most passionate wrestlers of all time about HOH, some of his favorite wrestlers in the business, and even music! You don’t want to miss this!
Alex Obert: What are you most looking forward to this weekend?
Tommy Dreamer: For it to be over. (laughs) It’s been a lot of work, but we’re gonna have a really, really good time.
Alex Obert: At the first ever House of Hardcore event in 2012, what did it mean to you to have Adam “Edge” Copeland on the show?
Tommy Dreamer: Having Edge at my show was important to me because he’s one of my closest friends and it was his first event after leaving WWE. And what impressed me the most was him watching the show, helping guys and talking to them, and then he got so swept up in how good the show was, he wanted to go out there and talk about the show, as well as myself. He wanted to go out there and just cut a little promo for the fans, which he’s never done outside of WWE. He really put over the Young Bucks and Paul London and Brian Kendrick for tag team wrestling. He put myself over for really, really caring about the business. Him endorsing the product gives you the nice stamp of approval and validation.
Alex Obert: A couple of wrestlers on the events this weekend, what is it that you like about Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian?
Tommy Dreamer: I think Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian are phenomenal athletes. I hired Frankie Kazarian in WWE a long time ago. He went back to TNA after he decided to leave WWE, he created a name for himself. He plucked away a long time on the indies before making it. They’re both super talented guys and I look forward to them wrestling this weekend. Their matches with Eddie Kingston and Homicide are gonna be really, really good matches. I’m a huge fan of tag team wrestling and those two guys are some of the best.
Alex Obert: You mentioned getting Frankie into the WWE, I understand you also got Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder into the WWE. What are your thoughts on Curt Hawkins starting a wrestling school?
Tommy Dreamer: It’s awesome, man. He’s a very, very talented guy and he wants to give back to the business. I think a wrestling school should be run by guys like myself who are kinda at the tail end of their career, he still has a contract with WWE. I think it’s cool that he’s opening up a wrestling school, but I don’t think he should count himself out for an opportunity to go back to WWE. I don’t know what they’re doing with him, but it’s cool to give back to the business. A guy like him is technically really, really sound. You have to devote a lot of your time to a wrestling school. I’ve had one for a long time and it’s a lot of time. You’re taking men and women under your wing and you’re trying to teach them the business and they’re also paying you, so you need to be there for them. There’s periods for myself where I couldn’t be at my school because I was traveling so much, almost five weeks. To answer your question, I think it’s cool for Curt to be teaching a school out in Long Island, but I hope he doesn’t give up on his own hopes and dreams.
Alex Obert: How do you want fans to walk out of the events this weekend feeling?
Tommy Dreamer: I’m a father of twin girls. I recently went and saw the movie, Maleficent, and it was okay. They enjoyed it, I did not. It was just okay. I wound up spending about seventy five, eighty bucks, and I don’t want that feeling. I know what it costs to go to a WWE event. I have top-rate stars at a lesser value. You’re actually able to meet and greet with the wrestlers and it’s not gonna break your wallet. I want you to say, “Wow, I got the most bang for my buck!” after that show. And also, some of my greatest memories are from me being at wrestling matches with my father, with my friends, my girlfriend, and I want people to experience that as well and say, “Wow, I saw one kickass show and it’s really worth my time, as well as my money.” I want people to enjoy it. This is my vision of what the business should be. No politics, no BS, just wrestling. And that’s what you’re gonna get.
Alex Obert: Do you hope to someday have a House of Hardcore event at the Hammerstein Ballroom?
Tommy Dreamer: I wish. That would be a great accomplishment. I’m still slow and steady. I did my first one a year and a half ago, I did two the next year, I have three this year coming up. Friday, Saturday, and then the following week. I’ll probably do one or two more if the company continues to keep making money and keep on generating interest. Would I love to do the Hammerstein? Yes. But having worked there before, it’s a union building and that’s big bucks. Putting big bucks into a building means you’ve gotta raise your ticket prices and all that stuff. I have a great deal with where we’re at now, Poughkeepsie and Philly. So for now, I’m very, very content. If people keep on comin’, I’ll keep on doin’ it.
Alex Obert: Speaking of New York venues, I’d love to get your thoughts on one of your most important matches, facing Rob Van Dam in a hardcore match at Madison Square Garden on RAW for the Hardcore and Intercontinental Championships. What did it mean to you?
Tommy Dreamer: It meant everything to me. That show, I was actually the last match on the show, me and Rob, so technically I main evented Madison Square Garden. It was a great match. To me, I stepped back in time to a much different time in my life. I felt that’s how it could have been with the original ECW and for that building to be chanting ECW and to be into everything that me and Rob did, it was a nice stamp of approval. Me going to so many wrestling matches at Madison Square Garden. I got swept up in emotion in the match. I remember sitting at the steps and my eyes started tearing up and Stephanie McMahon actually came and put her hand on my shoulder and she said, “You okay? Are you injured?” I was like, “Nah, that was just a really special moment.” I was so swept up with emotion. I’m sure if Vince saw me, he’d be like, “What the hell are you crying for? There’s no crying in wrestling!”
Alex Obert: What was it like working with Christian in the new ECW?
Tommy Dreamer: Christian’s amazing. Always has been, always will be. He’s one of my top ten favorite opponents and one of my favorite matches. I lost the ECW Championship to him and I wish he would have went out as the last ever ECW Champion, that would have been cool, but it is what it is. He’s a future hall of famer. He’s another guy that can still go out there and go. If I have House of Hardcore still goin’ on and he ever wants to do it and wasn’t working for WWE, I’d book him in a second. I love Christian.
Alex Obert: A question that I am curious about, if RVD takes another break from WWE, would he be apart of House of Hardcore?
Tommy Dreamer: Rob Van Dam was actually the first person I contacted for these upcoming shows. He said, “I’ll probably be back in WWE by then.” He was kinda pissed because he really wanted to do it. I’m blessed to have a lot of good friends in the business and I would love to have Rob at these shows. I first started thinking about it four and a half, five months ago. And that’s the best part about what wrestling should be. People should be able to keep a secret. Rob told me that he was going back to WWE. When he came back, it was really a nice, big surprise for the wrestling fans. I always like there to be surprises at my shows with unadvertised guys, that’s the stuff that I miss about the business.
Alex Obert: Who do you still hope to have apart of House of Hardcore?
Tommy Dreamer: Lance Hoyt and Harry Smith. I have guys under contract with Ring of Honor, as well as TNA. There’s so many super talented guys out there. And there’s many that are apart of House of Hardcore. I’d love to have New Japan guys. If you go on the website and look at the June 14th show in California where if something happened on that show, independent wrestling might die because every independent wrestler is on that show. But just to have guys like Roddy Piper there and Terry Funk, it’s awesome and good for the business. Phil Simms can’t go out there and throw a pass to a current player. Reggie Jackson can’t face Masahiro Tanaka. But I think in wrestling, you can have those fantasy dream matchups. You can have those guys still be out there to contribute, that’s really what I love about this business.
Alex Obert: You mention HOH having a relationship with TNA, what are your thoughts on Bully Ray stepping up his game the past few years and becoming a successful singles wrestler?
Tommy Dreamer: I’ve been wrestling him since 1992 and he’s really, really stepped up. He’s lost a lot of weight, he’s finally started working out, doing cardio and caring about what he eats. Bubba is a very good “good guy”, but he’s probably one of the best bad guys. Because he really is a bad guy.
Alex Obert: I’d love to get into music for a bit, how was Man in the Box decided as your signature theme?
Tommy Dreamer: Me and Taz were driving down the road, he was a big rock n’ roll guy. We heard the song and he’s like, “That’s you!” We listened to the lyrics, and yup, it was me. I went to the original ECW with this new music and they said, “Okay.”
Alex Obert: What was it like at the first One Night Stand having The Sandman come out to Enter Sandman by Metallica?
Tommy Dreamer: As a fan, since I was nine, I’ve seen some amazing entrances. During Hulkamania in the eighties, Hulk Hogan coming out to Eye of the Tiger. The Road Warriors coming out to Iron Man the first time they ever came to the Meadowlands. I’ve been in the ring when I heard the glass break and here comes Steve Austin and also The Rock’s theme and entrance. My favorite entrance of all time in the wrestling business is The Sandman’s entrance at the Hammerstein Ballroom. To have that many people singing, it was an amazing, amazing thing. My favorite entrances are that, The Undertaker, and Gangrel coming up through the fire. The best entrance in the wrestling business is The Sandman’s, if you watch that, that entrance represents ECW. It’s not like he was on TV every single week where people can know his ring music. He had been off TV for almost five years. And then you bring him back and it’s just like BOOM!
Alex Obert: You worked with Godsmack’s Sully Erna on Army of the Damned, what was that like?
Tommy Dreamer: Sully’s a cool guy. We became really good friends. He has big potential for being an actor. He took it very, very serious and he delivered all his roles. He was very believable. He can definitely be a crossover.
Alex Obert: Do you see a future for yourself in acting?
Tommy Dreamer: I’ve done a lot more films since then. I’ve worked with the company that did that film, Woodhaven Production Company. They just signed a ten picture deal. I just did another movie with them called Almost Mercy, which they’re editing now. I realize I can’t wrestle forever, so it’s an easy switch to try and do that. Working with the company from day one, it’s really, really fortunate.
Alex Obert: What are five of your favorite bands that come to mind?
Tommy Dreamer: Good question! I would have to say The Doors, Van Halen, Guns N’ Roses. I recently attended my first KISS concert and it was amazing. And Ozzy.
Alex Obert: In closing, what are the dates and places for House of Hardcore coming up?
Tommy Dreamer: June 6th, Friday night, in Poughkeepsie, New York. June 7th, Philadelphia at National Guard Armory. And June 14th, we’re in California, the West Coast Invasion. You can get all the information on www.HouseofHardcore.net.
Alex Obert: Sounds like a great time! Thank you so much for this interview, I really appreciate it!
Tommy Dreamer: No problem. Thanks, boss!