Exclusive: Tommy Dreamer Opens Up About Possible Impact Wrestling EVP Role, Hardcore War At Rebellion, More

(Photo Credit: Impact Wrestling)

Tommy Dreamer has enjoyed a very long successful career in the world of professional wrestling. From his early days as The Innovator of Violence in ECW, to his time in the WWE, to his current run and role in IMPACT Wrestling. Dreamer has earned the right to be called one of the all-time greats.

Dreamer has a big match at the upcoming IMPACT Wrestling Rebellion PPV on April 16th available on FITE TV. He will take his team of 5 known as Team Dreamer into a Hardcore War against Team Bully Ray.

Tommy Dreamer sat down with PWMania.com‘s Lewis Carlan for an exclusive interview to discuss the Hardcore War at Rebellion, if he’d like to take on an EVP role for IMPACT, if he hopes to be inducted into the Hall of Fame one day, how Josh Alexander compares to TNA/IMPACT all-time greats, Raven and much more! You can check out the complete interview below:

At Rebellion, which is live on April 16 on Fite TV pay-per-view – 10 Man Hardcore War; Team Bully Ray versus Team Dreamer. How violent will the Innovator of Violence in this match?

I think I’ve been forced to do it. You know, for a lot of times, I said it on my own show Busted Open. I didn’t want to be known as the Innovator of Violence. Why? Because I feel violence is a very negative word. It’s usually horrible acts of violence that it’s related to. Back in the day of the original ECW, I had taken that moniker and it had worked for me. It was the era of everybody had a moniker. I figured it worked and it has worked. A lot of people remember me by it. I’ve tried to better myself as a human being, as well as a performer.

You and I were talking off-screen about my career in ECW. I don’t think people realize the violent things that not only have I done but have been witnessed to, and it was a common occurrence in my 20’s like riots, or hearing blood-curdling screams or, I would also edit the show watching a piece of table go into Rob Van Dam’s eye and slit it across. These are my friends. Forget about cheer shots to the head. You become desensitized to it. Watching people, you know, cheese graters to people’s heads, or for me, I used to legit punch people nine times, bite their head that was probably already bleeding, suck up their blood and spit human blood out in the air on the 10-count. You were there, you watched it. People went nuts for it. It’s a different time and era. Bully kind of wants to always push buttons like Bully does, you are going to see, I don’t want to say it’s the last appearance of the innovator of violence, but you are going to see someone go out there and forget.  Bully on our last thing said something he’s crossed a few lines already. But he was like, listen man, I’m a dad, I have two beautiful daughters, twins. And he was like, your daughters are going to see this. And there’s a lot of things that I don’t think my daughters have ever seen, like me doing things I’m doing in the ring, or their mom. You know, she’s probably had one of the bloodiest, brutalist matches of all time. They recently saw that with their friends and their friends had their hands over their mouths in shock. I don’t want to be that. But now I’m being forced it.

If Finn Balor could be the Demon, yes, you’re going to see the Innovator of Violence. And I’m in a hardcore war. And you know, even picking out my partners, they don’t realize how this stuff affects you later on in life. You do become more reflective of things that you have done. So for this night, you’re going to see a lot of old-school crazy that, sadly, I don’t want to say I was desensitized to, but I enjoyed it. But then I’ve seen the ramifications at the time I did. I loved it. But I’ve seen the ramifications. I’ve seen the pain, that people that are my age that are still with us, because a lot of them aren’t. I see the pain that they go through. I see a lot of people with health issues. And I say man did I cause that? Bully is a great example. He’s got three scars and a missing piece of his ear and a big bump on his forearm that most people don’t realize I did to him. Bully walks at times with a limp. I didn’t do that. He broke his ankle, but I was the one sawing off his cast. So he could work Barely Legal. With that, I would punch somebody in the face if I saw them doing that in an Impact locker room where you’re cutting off the cast, you could work when you’re not medically cleared because like again, times have changed. So it is a thing and you’re going to see it.  There’s Muta and there’s Dark Muta. I’m going to bring back something I haven’t wanted to do and fought it for a long time but I’ve kind of been forced. And then after that, probably I could just disappear for a little bit.

It’s got to be a great feeling that after all these years fans are still invested in a Tommy Dreamer versus Bully Ray feud.

Amazing. As always, you’re going to find the negatives on social media. But I literally stopped paying attention to all that because I could listen to a building and hear everybody chanting your name. And that Windsor crowd that we just had was awesome. I enjoyed the match. Even though technically I lost, even though I did bust him open first. You look at the social media numbers, this is all evidence that people are still invested in it. And I love that. I’ve been very, very blessed, grateful, and fortunate to be doing this 33 years. I’ve been on television since I’m 21. I’m 52 now. The fact that people still care, the fact that when I get knocked down, people still cheer for me to get up, means everything to me.

I honestly go back to the people that helped me one is Terry Funk. If you ever got to witness the beauty of Terry Funk in ECW, he was 55 and wrestling guys in their prime and hanging with them. I like the fact that I could still hang with some of the guys. It’s a much different business. But then I also think about what the hell did Terry Funk feel like when he was wrestling with a Tommy Dreamer, with a Sabu, with Rob Van Dam, with a Shane Douglas, all these guys in their friggin’ prime and he’s 55. He was three years older than me. I was just like, you know why he does it, he did it because he loved it. It’s the same reason why I still go out there and do it. I don’t need to do it. I could hang out in the back. But I love it. This Hardcore War is going to be different. But I also picked out people that I want number one to be with me. And number two, because I see something in them. Just like a lot of people saw stuff in me when I was early in my career, like a Yuya, like a Killer Kelly, or Bhupinder, he’s another guy. So that’s kind of why we’re doing it.

Well, there’s one spot left on your team. So my question is, are you going to give Raven a phone call anytime soon?

No. Its Bhupinder. The reason why I wouldn’t give Raven the call, is that Raven’s health isn’t the best. And I look at Raven, and I’m like, Did I do that? Did I cause someone that? I mean, the chair shot heard around the world? Did I cause Raven to have health issues later on in his life? Seriously, it’s a big burden because, dude, I love everybody that I worked with. Pull the curtain back I love Raven. We had a love-hate relationship back then. But then when I see him and I’m like, oh, did I do this? I think the same as if I was a professional boxer. I love documentaries. I can’t watch current boxer documentaries because they’re showing a boxer speaking when he’s in his prime and then they’re showing a boxer speaking today. You’re like, “What the hell type of stuff is going on in their brain?” You literally see that and I’m like, Whoa. Listen, it’s happened. Some people were great. Some people not so much. So that stuff really bothers me as a human being. So no, Raven won’t get the call. Why would you want to do that? He’s a pain in my ass to me. Come on, you followed my whole career since ECW. He’d be the last person I’d call.

I thought that maybe you guys could come together one more time.

No, Raven cannot wrestle anymore.

Scott D’Amore, now President of Impact Wrestling, Executive Vice President of Impact is something that’s available. Is that a role you would like to take on eventually? 

I’ve been doing the behind-the-scenes in wrestling since ECW. I pretty much have had a say, power, whatever you want to talk about since ECW. Even WWE. Impact when I went there the first time, the second time. To answer your question I have worked with Vince McMahon, Paul Heyman, Scott D’Amore a little bit with Tony Kahn as well. And I will tell you this, and even running my own promotion, these people don’t sleep. They eat and drink and work for the company that they represent.  I have driven on an indie show, Scott D’Amore has been my friend since the 90s, and I’ll drive from an indie show, and it’s late at night. You know, the show ends at about 11. I’m driving from Boston to New York, I got about a three-hour drive, it’s 2:30, quarter to three in the morning, who can I call that’s not on the West Coast. I’ll call Scott, we’ll talk for a little bit. Not even talk, wrestling just talk as two friends. I’m like “All right man, I’m just pulling in, I’ll talk to you later.” He’s like, “All right, safe drive.” Then Scott will send an email 5:30 in the morning, I’ll be waking up at 11. I’ll see when he sent that email, and then I’ll respond to it. I’ll answer right back.

I have lived 24/7 for ECW. I have lived it for WWE where I was on call 24/7 getting woken up in the middle of night. It’s a great role. I don’t know if I’d want to do it because not that I like to sleep. You need time for yourself. I don’t see that with Scott. He’s not married, he doesn’t have children. He’s dedicated to his children called Impact Wrestling. And he does a great job.

When people think of the greatest TNA/Impact Wrestler of all time, they think of AJ Styles and Samoa Joe. Do you think Josh Alexander should be included in that conversation?

Absolutely. He’s now the longest-reigning champion. If you look at what Josh has done, there are few wrestlers that get it. Josh gets it, he gets the overall picture. He’s also another person that I feel can get dropped into any system and become a star, Josh Alexander. The beauty of Josh Alexander and his story is, you grew up watching ECW, Josh Alexander grew up watching Impact Wrestling. And that was his forte, this is why I want to be a wrestler. Same with Trey Miguel. You become the World Champion through hard work. If you think about Josh’s career, he was a tag team wrestler that really wasn’t the main focal point of that tag team. If you were to look back, then who’s going to be your star, you may have gone with his partner. But what did he do? He outworked everybody in the room. He rose by always improving himself. And that’s why he was the champion. That’s why he’s the longest-reigning champion of all time. To answer your question, yes. I would then start looking at the greatest of all time. I also think what makes them great is they were able to do greatness in Impact Wrestling then they went on and did great in other wrestling companies as well. I don’t want Josh to ever leave. But Josh could be a success anywhere he went. To answer your question, yes. Josh’s name 1,000% needs to be in that with AJ Styles, Samoa Joe and people like that.

Are there any wrestlers on the indie scene right now that you have your eye on that you would like to see Impact Wrestling take a chance on?

Oh, there’s a lot of them. There’s a lot of great workers out there. Right now, the Impact roster is beyond full. If you really think about Impact Wrestling, we only have two hours of television a week. And that, we have BTI, it’s about two hours. The television show, it’s an hour and 38 minutes with commercial breaks. How do you fight for that spot? There’s a lot of great wrestlers. There’s a lot of great wrestlers that we’re just getting a hold of Jason Hotch, he’s earning television time. They signed three Gut Check winners. They’re just starting to get television time. There’s only so much space that you could do to help promote them. And if they’re not on television, then how do you have them signed? I think a great addition of someone from the indies is Jody Threat. She’s a woman who worked her ass off and now we’re going to see her and now it’s where she gets placed. Kilynn King, that woman’s a star. She came in and already won the tag titles. There’s a lot more to her. She was signed for maybe three months before she was able to actually debut on television because of that real estate. If you think about during the pandemic, everyone started moving. They wanted to leave New York City and so forth but where are they going to go? Its supply demand, houses went through the roof. Why? Because there weren’t enough houses. There are way too many talents, and how to get on television. You do that through your hard work. But it is such, everyone, armchair books, how you’re going to get it or how you’re going to get on TV, but it is so so hard. It really is.

Are you hoping to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame one day?

Any Hall of Fame is an honor. Would love to, absolutely. It’s a great honor to be recognized for your body of work. Hey, WrestleMania, is in Philly. I would love it. If it doesn’t happen, not going to be devastated. When you have love-appreciation, and by your peers, that’s as good as well. The other part of it is the Hall of Fame is a show. It does mean a lot though. And to answer your question, yes.