Q&A: Tommy Dreamer Talks House of Hardcore 25, Hardyz, Undertaker

HOH returns to Philly this Saturday at the ECW Arena.

It’s the Final Deletion of the Hardy Boyz at House of Hardcore this Saturday.

After a year of Broken Matt terrorizing the ECW Arena, his crusade comes to an end as he teams with Brother Nero to face archrival Bully Ray and HOH owner Tommy Dreamer. Of course, a lot has happened with the Hardyz since they were last seen in South Philly.

I spoke with Dreamer on Wednesday to discuss the contract situation, WrestleMania 33, and House of Hardcore 25.

How were you able to get the Hardyz back after they signed with WWE?

Tommy Dreamer: “This was booked since last year. This has been the culmination of me and Matt Hardy wrestling for already two House of Hardcore shows. This is kind of the final match. I have a decent relationship with WWE. Vince McMahon is big on finishing your dates and commitments.”

Were you surprised to see them return to WWE?

Dreamer: “Not really. I’m happy for them. It’s the nature of the beast. I hope they’re able to be their reinvented characters as opposed to a retro act of the Hardy Boyz. But Matt and Jeff are super-duper talented and they’ve gotten even more popular with their whole deletion character than they were in WWE.”

Did you have plans to book them after the big tag match this Saturday?

Dreamer: “I’ve been friends with Matt and Jeff for a long, long time. My deal with Matt is any shows that I have that you want to be on, you’re booked. That was our pending agreement. I could do me vs. Matt Hardy anywhere and it’s been a proven winner for me at the box office.”

With Bully Ray added to the mix, you’re close to reigniting the Hardyz-Dudleyz rivalry.

Dreamer: “Yeah, and in a perfect world, I would’ve loved to have D-Von out there. But he’s working for WWE behind the scenes and no longer actively wrestling. So the next natural step is for me to step in. It was a great surprise at the last show to have Jeff show up and then Bubba show up. That’s what I always like to do, as you know. I always have these big surprises. I have some really big surprises already planned for both shows – one for Metuchen on Friday night and one at the Arena on Saturday. It’s a lot of work, a lot of headaches, but at the end of the day, when I see how many people show up and how many are still responding, it’s fun. After this, we have a show in Long Island in May and now we’re doing five shows in Australia.”

Are we going to get any Nathan Jones appearances?

Dreamer: “No. I don’t know if he’s still wrestling, I don’t even know if he’s still alive. I have no clue.”

Another guy coming to House of Hardcore this Saturday is MVP. I can’t remember him being part of the Philly shows. How did you get him on board?

Dreamer: “MVP is another guy I’ve been friends with for a long time. I helped him get to WWE as well. He always goes out there and works really, really hard. He has been to a House of Hardcore at the Armory, but he hasn’t been to one at the Arena. I just spoke to him last night and he’s really excited. He asked who he’s wrestling because he takes pride and passion in what he’s doing.”

How was the WWE Hall of Fame? It was nice seeing Beth Phoenix give you a shout out.

Dreamer: “I love the Hall of Fame. WrestleMania week is amazing and there’s so many outside events going on. It truly shows the power of professional wrestling where they completely take over an entire city and how much money they generate for a city like the Super Bowl.

For me with Beth Phoenix, I hired her into WWE. She was truly one of the people that every single thing I told her to improve upon, she did. People ask me for advice a lot of times and Beth was one of those who asked for how to get hired. I helped her and any of my suggestions, she applied.  Most people don’t apply them and then you look back and say, ‘Well, I didn’t make it because…’ No one wants to blame themselves or they don’t want to take criticism. But Beth took criticism and that’s why she’s a WWE Hall of Famer. I couldn’t be prouder of her. She truly, totally deserves the accolade.”

Were you able to watch WrestleMania live or were you traveling?

Dreamer: “I actually went to the Tampa Lightning game that day so I watched from when the Hardyz won the Tag Team Titles. I had known they were going back about 12 days before they went back, so I was happy for them. WrestleMania was great, and I thought the Smackdown after WrestleMania was probably the greatest two hours of a wrestling program that I’ve ever seen. It was close to perfect.”

Wow, that’s high praise. Why?

Dreamer: “I watch television differently. There was nothing thrown away. It was the perfect storm of crowd reactions unlike where Raw was where they always talk about the crowd taking over. Smackdown wasn’t fans going against the grain, it was straight up we’re cheering for who we’re supposed to, we’re jeering for who we’re supposed to, we’re having a great time. Every wrestler delivered great promos and action. It was a perfect two hours of professional wrestling on television.”

Were you surprised that Undertaker has apparently wrestled his final match?

Dreamer: “I was shocked. I love the Undertaker both professionally and personally. When I left WWE’s ECW, I took off my shirt and laid it in the ring. I knew that ECW wasn’t coming back. People still ask when did I retire from WWE. Well, I didn’t retire, I just retired from that chapter in my life. From a business standpoint, if I was Vince McMahon, I would build the next WrestleMania as Undertaker’s last match and then have him retire.”

There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding Justin Roberts’ autobiography. But you come out of it looking great! Have you had a chance to read the book?

Dreamer: “I have not.”

Did you know he spoke so highly of you?

Dreamer: (laughs) “Well yeah, I mean, we’re friends. I was on a personal mission a long, long time ago because of what I got to live. ECW was a team. We’re all wrestling fans and we should all stay that way. We’re not curing cancer or trying to split the atom, it’s professional wrestling. It’s a fun job. It should be the funnest job.”

Yesterday we all learned the sad news that Rosey passed away. You posted a touching tweet and I wanted to get some memories from you.

Dreamer: “I have a million memories of him. I’ve known him since the original ECW. I knew him as 3 Minute Warning and all these different incarnations of Matt. It sucks because he’s a father and he loves his kids so much. He’s a great, great human being. I don’t mourn death – I celebrate life. I got real sad when I read about it because he’s my friend. I had so many matches with him and now I look at it as him and Umaga reunited again.

It’s just sad when you lose someone that young as well. He’s a year older than me so I was just like, whoa. We’re never guaranteed tomorrow. You go to bed and you don’t wake up sometimes. It’s horrible.”

That’s such a great way to look at it: don’t mourn death, celebrate life.

Dreamer: “Yes, cry, be upset, but some people stop living because of it, and you can’t. If those people were still with us, they would be mad at you and want you to keep on living. Now with WWE Network or Youtube, sit back and watch one of his matches. To me, it’s one of the greatest tributes. Think back to a happy time when you saw him go out there. I mean, so many images flashed back when I heard. I can picture his big ol’ butt throwing a leg drop on me and I’m just sitting there like, oh god, I hope he doesn’t kill me. Us just laughing and being together, I seriously can’t stress enough what a great human being he is.”

I appreciate you taking the time, as always, to chat. Especially with you being on a movie set right now. Can you talk about it?

Dreamer: “Yeah, I’m on the set of Santa Files. I had the pleasure of hanging out with Ed Asner last night. He’s 88 or 89 years old and what an amazing job he did. I told him I’m 46 years old and I’ve made a career of captivating a live audience and you stood in that ring and captivated that audience. I was just like, Sir, it’s an honor to meet you and work with you.

My mom, who is 77, she was like, oh, Ed Asner from The Mary Tyler Moore Show. And then my daughters who are 12, oh, the guy from Up and Elf. You think about all those generations of people who know who he is. It was really, really cool to hang out with him because he went to high school with Bob Orton Sr. Then we were talking about him filming the original Wrestler with Verne Gagne, which is one of the first behind-the-scenes movies of professional wrestling. He was telling me stories about “Superstar” Billy Graham. He grew up in the St. Louis area and was talking about old school wrestling. I felt like I was in heaven.”

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