This Saturday, Tommy Dreamer is turning 50. If every man is made to turn 50 in his life, not everyone has spent more than 30 years of his life in the wrestling business as Tommy Dreamer has done. Not only in the ring but also as a promoter, producer, referee, backstage agent, mentor, trainer, announcer… Well, he has done them all. I joked pretty often on his ability to laugh at himself in segments like the Wrestlers’ Court or in the Wrestle House. As one of Impact Wrestling’s Head Creatives, he has never been afraid not to take himself too seriously, even if he was doing it seriously.
As strange as it may be, Tommy Dreamer has never won a major World Championship in his career, not a national-televised company one. And this Saturday, on his birthday, Rich Swann decided to give him a chance in order to celebrate the man who has helped him and made him dream. If Dreamer still has to accept, and he will tell us about tonight, winning the IMPACT World Championship would be so meaningful and add to his incomparable legacy of Innovator of Violence, the brightness of gold.
SteelChair Wrestling Magazine took part in a media call last Thursday. Dreamer talked about the upcoming No Surrender match, if he accepts it, being a World Championship contender at nearly 50, when he plans to retire (if he plans to retire).
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) January 27, 2021
On this “gift” from Rich Swann
“It’s an amazing opportunity, and I always think of life kind of comes full circle. A long time ago in the land of extreme, a 26-year-old kid who was the real #1 contender, and he won it in a three-way, gave up his title shot for a 53-year-old man, and that man was Terry Funk, and that was for ECW’s first-ever pay-per-view. In hindsight, I’m that guy that was given a gift by Rich Swann. It’s funny, too, that I have never given my response yet, and you’re going to have to listen to my response on Tuesday’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling. It’s a lot to think about, and I take a lot of pride in what I do. The fact it was a gift, and there are so many more deserving men and women in the back, but Rich asked for it. He has defeated everybody.
“When I started my career, when I started life, I thought 50 was like, you’re a senior citizen, you have nothing left. I didn’t think I would still be wrestling. I thought it was so old. Now I look at it, and I’m just like, I don’t feel old. It’s just an amazing opportunity just to be doing this for 31 years and still literally living my dream. I do love it, and I think Rich is an amazing pal, one of the greatest champions and greatest wrestlers we’ve ever had in IMPACT. It’s a great opportunity, and If I accept it, and there is a big if, it’s something that I really, really cherish, and it’s going to go down as a benchmark in my career.
“It’s weird, having crazy brawls, you’re on a different type of adrenaline, but I’m going in there against. Rich is my friend. There is no angst. There’s no hatred. There’s nothing to motivate me, except for, ‘Hey, you could win the title.’ But it’s going to be a wrestling match and wrestling is hard, brawls are a lot easier, so I’m just trying to get my wind up… I don’t want to embarrass myself.
“It is definitely a gift, stars aligned. Like I said, he’s beaten everybody that Impact Wrestling has asked him to wrestle, and yes, as a champion, you do get some special consideration. He went to Scott D’Amore and said, ‘Hey man, it’s Dreamer’s 50th birthday. I did everything you asked, can I basically wrestle somebody that I’ve wanted to wrestle?” I’ve known Rich from independent wrestling, the first time I met him was at CZW, and I was blown away with the stuff that he could do, and I always tried helping him when I saw him on the indies. He also grew up watching me. I don’t think Rich would ever take me lightly, especially if I ever land on him, he will never feel that anything that I do is light.
“At No Surrender, you can expect, if I agree to the match, I’m going to give it my all, and I won’t hold back because I know Rich Swann won’t. To be honest, I’ve never had a shit at the IMPACT World Title, I had one with Bobby Roode in my own company, a lot of people don’t get this opportunity. You don’t get a lot of second shots. So, I have to really capitalise on this the best way possible.”
On possibly becoming IMPACT World Champion at 50
“It would mean everything. I was never a guy who fought or wanted titles. We’ve been in a world where our all of our lives changed like within weeks. To me, it’s about the hope that things can change no matter how old you are. I always say life is a lot like professional wrestling, you’re gonna get knocked down a lot, but you got to keep on getting up and keep on fighting. There are people who use wrestling like I do, as a glimmer of hope or a glimmer of taking us away from the crap that’s going on in the world. I’m just a challenger, and this is the first time I’m ever doing this hell, I’m not even on the opener of IMPACT.
“There are things that come along with being the face of a company, and it’s something that I’ll take with pride. This business is as real as it gets, especially when you’re the champion, every time you step out of your house, you represent a company, you represent the men and women that are working there, and I’m not just talking about the wrestlers, I’m talking about the employees. If you’re a champion, you represent everybody, and you want your company to succeed. It’s an honour to be in this spot and to be the champion of any company. There’s a lot of pressure that falls on those shoulders.
“Now, there’s a whole lot of things going through my head, but it just means a lot. I think because of the times, because of the world that we’re currently living, I just want to go out there and have a good match, as well as to give people hope. We all need hope nowadays and just be like, ‘Hey, if old man Dreamer could do something, I think I could do something.'”
On the Champion he would like to be
“Well, if I do accept, I can clearly beat Rich Swann. Then I’m gonna go, and that’s Saturday, so then Wednesday I’ll go and fight Kenny Omega. I’ll beat him, and then I’ll take both titles, throw them in the trash on SmackDown and create wrestling history. And all the goodwill I did to everyone, I’ll just crap all over in like one week and be like, ‘I’m out!’ and retire.” (Laughs) If I am able to defeat Rich, I would do whatever to represent IMPACT Wrestling. I’m very, very loyal to the business, and I don’t forget people who helped me along the way. And if I had to go to AEW and beat the crap out of Don Callis, I would love to do it because I want to do it when he’s just in IMPACT, but to go out on a bigger platform with the IMPACT Title and show.
“I say this just like when people talked about ECW. Man, WWE was on USA Network, WCW was on TNT, but you were like in the cool mix if you knew about ECW. People were always like, ‘Oh yeah, man, this is cool, but you have to see what these guys in Philly are doing.’ And I feel like that same way with IMPACT. It’s like we’re wrestling’s best-kept secret. Everybody has storylines, everybody has creative. Most of the people are on television every single week, even if it’s an appearance or backstage interview, it’s something. I love that. But to rep a brand or any brand, it’s a great responsibility.
“And like I said, if that happens, and I win it, whoa, it’s a game-changer. I’m not a social justice warrior. I see a lot of people straight up hating the fact that I’m in a World Title shot, for the fact that I’m 50 years old. They’re like, ‘There’s so much youth’ and all this stuff. Well, I’m like, ok, #1 do you not like me because I’m gonna be 50 on my birthday. I’m sorry, I’m 50, and I’m still wrestling. But there should never be that about anything. I’ve even said that like, ‘Yeah, it’s a gift, and it’s something that Rich wanted to do’, so how do you begrudge someone?”
On keeping the pleasure to wrestle
“My last six months in WWE in 2008 or 2009, I actually started not liking wrestling, and that’s why I quit WWE. I literally started hating something that I’ve loved since I was nine years old, and I just couldn’t do it. I had to leave this relationship. I would never want to be that sour, bitter wrestler, and it was turning me that way, so seriously, like I hated going to work. I left, and I bet on myself. That’s when I went to TNA a long time ago, and my first feud was with Bubba, and then I got to wrestle AJ Styles that, for the first time in a long time, I felt nervous again in the ring, but that nervous was a good nervous synergy. I was just like, I had something to prove, and I still have something to prove at 50.”
On when he is going to retire
“I love that. I’ve been doing it since I’m 18 years old, and I don’t ever want to stop. No, starting at this when I was 18, I didn’t think I’d be wrestling until I was 50 because 50 sounded like such an old number. I’m just going to keep on going until I can’t go anymore, and I mean, hell, I’ve had at least two to three fake retirements, like Terry Funk and Ric Flair, so I’m just going to keep going until I don’t want to go anymore, it’s my feeling. I’ve yet to have surgery either, so I’m trying to last until I totally fall apart and need surgery, then I’m just going to get everything fixed.”
Follow Tommy Dreamer on @THETOMMYDREAMER.
No Surrender will air live on Impact Plus this Saturday night at 8 PM EST (1 AM GMT). IMPACT Wrestling is airing on Tuesday at 8/7c on AXS TV and Twitch in the USA. The show is available to stream on Facebook and YouTube in the UK and Ireland, within hours of the American broadcast (Wednesday 1 AM to 3 AM GMT), with an encore presentation on 5Star late night on Fridays.
All pics, screencaps and videos courtesy of Impact Wrestling, AXS TV, Fight Network and Basil Mahmud