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Tommy Dreamer Talks House Of Hardcore, Offering Fans An Alternative Wrestling Show, Car Rides With Paul Heyman

Tommy Dreamer recently spoke with Justin Barrasso for Sports Illustrated Extra Mustard‘s Week In Wrestling while promoting this weekend’s House of Hardcore live events in Philadelphia and New York. 

Dreamer talks about some of his favorite ECW memories, including working with Paul Heyman, following some of the same steps now with HOH as ECW did, and much more. You can read a few excerpts below. 

Tommy Dreamer talks about car rides with Paul Heyman: 

“We were always pushing each other, unless Paul was asleep. Sometimes the rides were the only times he could sleep. Paul did so much for me, and I’m very, very grateful for it. There would be times we’d argue, and you’d think we hated each other, but we argued for the betterment of the show and never the betterment of the individual.

“No one can match Paul, and he can verbally destroy someone. I didn’t want to win the ECW title, but Paul knew we had to do it a certain way. We always found the best decision for the overall product, and that’s why people are still talking about it twenty years later. We had the passion for the business.”

Dreamer talks about why House of Hardcore is working by using the ECW formula: 

“A big formula from the original ECW was finding a blend of older stars and younger wrestlers. I’ve taken the role of Terry Funk in my own company. This business is about the future, but it’s also about recognizing guys in the past. It also should have a lot to do with your in-ring ability.

Billy Gunn is 53 years old, but I watched him wrestle recently, and he’s in the best shape I’ve ever seen. He still moves amazingly in the ring, and he’s available, and he’s working with two guys–Sami Callihan and Bull Dempsey–he helped train in [WWE] developmental. It’s a teacher versus student type of matchup. Rhino versus Rob Van Dam on the second night is the rematch from ECW that never happened because we went out of business. But if neither of those two guys could go in the ring, I wouldn’t have them. Sandman cannot go in the ring any more, but the people still go wild when we play his music at our shows. He can still hit a few people with the stick, but people should remember their heroes in a good way. My greatest memories all come from wrestling, and I want people to walk away having a great night. Knock on wood, it’s working so far.”

Dreamer talks about offering wrestling fans an alternative product: 

“I loved the Monday Night Raw after WrestleMania. Everyone talks about how it’s great that they brought up guys from NXT, but then there will be people they’re not going to spotlight because there are only so many spots. That’s the nature of the business. There are only so many minutes on television, and that’s the cycle of the business. No one is guaranteed a job forever. ECW was a feeder system for the business, and that’s what made us so great. I don’t ever want to compete with the WWE, I just want to give people something different. There is so much talent out there that needs a spotlight, and I just want to give people something different.”