Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Wouldn't you know - on the day I don't do my normal walk to the busstop (which includes buying my local paper, The Trentonian), they have an article with Tommy Dreamer inside, no doubt hyping the Smackdown/ECW show at the Sovereign Bank Arena on October 6th... the one I won't be going to. Here's the article:

By MATTHEW OSBORNE
Sports Editor

Tommy Dreamer has been bashed in the skull with a barb-wire baseball bat quite a few times over the last 20 years.

He’s been put through more tables — some of them on fire — than most of us will ever eat at in our lifetime.

But Dreamer, the ECW wrestling legend, is not as old as you think he is.

“I was in an airport and this guy who was 50 or 60-years-old said he was a huge fan and that he had been watching me wrestle since he was a little kid,” Dreamer said. “I told him ‘I’m 38 years old.’ It’s funny how that happens when you’ve been around for a while.”

Dreamer appreicates his fans as much as any wrestling superstar, though. In fact, he feeds off them, keeping alive the memories of the animalistic throngs who worshiped him in the original ECW — or EC-Dub, as he and his people know it.

Philadelphia was the home of the original brand of Extreme Championship Wrestling, which is now owned by the WWE. The crowds were, well, what you might expect Philly crowds to be while watching guys pummel each other with household items fashioned as weapons.

They were crazy, they were obnoxious — and they were loyal.

A week from today, Dreamer will be back in front of some of those old pals when ECW/Smackdown comes to Sovereign Bank Arena.

“These are definitely my people, 100-percent,” the Yonkers, N.Y., native said of the local fans. “ECW was in Trenton all the time a few blocks away at the CYC Center. We had great crowds, and there was always a rivalry between New York and Philadelphia for who was the bigger hardcore supporter of ECW, and it was a lot of fun.”

Dreamer is the last of the “ECW Originals,” since many of the other guys have moved on to independent circuits or a quiet retirement.

“That’s pretty damn cool to me,” Dreamer said of his senior status. “The fans never let me forget about EC-Dub, and I’m the only guy who still gets that chant, and I love them for it.”

Dreamer had a recent run as ECW champion, winning the title in his style of match at a pay-per-view titled “Extreme Rules.”

Oct. 28 will be the 20th anniversary of his first match, and all things considered, Dreamer is in top physical condition.

“I had a recent burst sack in my elbow, but otherwise I feel pretty good for 20 years in the ring, and I’m still kicking butt at that,” Dreamer said.

Dreamer has been in plenty of matches where, as he says, there are a “variety of ways you can get hurt,” but he has been ahead of the curve when it comes to entertaining the crowd. His nickname is the “Innovator of Violence,” and it is well-earned.

“I was kind of the MacGyver of wrestling, coming up with objects to bring down to the ring,” Dreamer said. “I had a recent match where Christian and I were beating each other with a hot dog cart, so I have been hit with some interesting stuff.”

Through it all, though, Dreamer manages to take the shots and keep on performing.

“One night recently before a match, I had a bad case of food poisoning,” Dreamer said. “I could barely stand up and I was throwing up, but when I went through that curtain I didn’t feel it anymore. It is amazing what you can put your body through when you get that rush and adrenaline from the fans.

“I wish I could be Tommy Dreamer 24-7, because when I’m out there, I’m unstoppable and I don’t feel any pain, but when I got done with the match, I remembered the food poisoning.”

Dreamer’s most memorable battles from the old days were with ECW stars Rob Van Dam, the Sandman and Jersey Shore native Balls Mahoney.

“Balls was in ECW a long time, and he’s as crazy as ever,” Dreamer said. “We had some great matches, but traveling with him was much more fun than any match.”

Dreamer may have more ring time behind him than in front, but he has a few goals left, like winning back the ECW title and wrestling in the Money in the Bank ladder match at Wrestlemania 26.

But it will not be titles that Dreamer is remembered for.

Instead, he’ll be remembered as a fan favorite who did all he could to entertain his followers.

“I always want to go out there to give 100 percent and wrestle every match like it’s my last, because someday it will be,” Dreamer said. “I want the fans to know I gave it all. I never wanted to be the guy who phoned it in.”

As for retirement, Dreamer has it planned, but not scheduled.

“I want to wrestle my last match in the New York-Philly area and walk off into the sunset,” he said. “But not just yet.”

I imagine tickets are still available. I'm just broke. Duty calls!

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