ECW Original, the “Innovator of Violence” Tommy Dreamer was recently a guest on The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling podcast with John Poz and Chad, which you can listen to above.
Dreamer discusses his new role of being a mentor to the newer talent, just like Terry Funk was to him. He also talks a bit about his promotion House of Hardcore.
This is what he had to say about being looked at as a “Godfather” like mentor and giving advice to top talent like AJ Styles:
“Honored that guys say that. For Kevin (Thorn) and for Justin Credible I did have a big hand in their careers. AJ (Styles) was always and I hate to use the term “phenomenal” but with AJ, he is amazing.”
“I was only ever nervous wrestling two wrestlers; one of them being the Undertaker and the other being AJ Styles because I knew just how great he was. When I left WWE I had a chip on my shoulder and I felt I had something to prove but I knew he was better than me and I didn’t want the fans to feel like AJ Styles has to slow down to keep up with Tommy Dreamer, I wanted it to be look at Tommy Dreamer keeping up with AJ Styles. Him and I clicked from day one in the ring and we became awesome friends and I couldn’t be prouder of AJ Styles.”
“With Justin Credible I just had to give him confidence because I once was where Justin Credbile was where I was begging and trying to get over with the fans. When he came to ECW I pretty much took him under my wing to get him over because I saw his talent. The same also goes for Kevin Thorn. Kevin is a big, big dude that looks great and who just worked two shows for me and as soon as he came to the back I told him that he is moving better than ever. A lot of times when you would come to the back in WWE and they don’t tell you anything you don’t just need a good job, you need that positive reinforcement or if you do something wrong, we are all grown men so you don’t need to yell at people or chastise people, it is looking at it like with a sports mentality and I’m like a coach. If you score a touchdown, I love you. If you fumble, I don’t love you but I won’t fire you, I will continue to give you opportunities because you stick with your guys because they are your guys.”
He goes on to talk about the people that helped him out in his career, especially Terry Funk:
“For me it was Paul (Heyman) who did a lot and (also) Raven really helped Tommy Dreamer take it to the next level but it was Terry Funk who straight up said be yourself because nobody can tell you how to be you, to grow a goatee to make me look tougher and when I become his age it will hide a double-chin and he is now right because now that I am his age I have a beard because I have three chins. So he is the Nostradamus of professional wrestling. ”
“Besides the fact that he can always make me cry, you just think about the contributions of Terry Funk. I really view him and Mick Foley as my mentors as well as Paul Heyman but it was Terry who really took me under his wing and has always been there for me. He is just an amazing, amazing man and when I talked to him after that show and we started talking about what I said to him years ago and he remembered exactly word for word of when I was trying to get over and this is a seventy-something year old man in not the best of health and he still remembers. He still watches the business and we talk like every two weeks and just to check in on him. He is so in tune and he’ll probably have another ten retirements but this business would not be the business it was and is without Terry Funk.”
Dreamer on how much impact Terry Funk has had on the wrestling industry:
“He is the one who told Hulk Hogan to call Vince (McMahon). He is the one who found Ted Dibiase, he was the first person to give Bob Backlund a break and he saw something in Bob Backlund. He found Stan Hansen. If you really look into it and start seeing “the great” wrestlers and how they emerged they all have a Terry Funk story. I’m reading Jack Brisco’s book and Jack Brisco says that when he met Terry Funk and Terry Funk took me under his wing and I was just like “holy crap”. I called Terry about it and I said do you know how many NWA and WWF title reigns you are responsible for? He just says Stan was a good guy and Jack Brisco was a great guy and that is just Terry Funk.”
Dreamer on how he changed his image in ECW from being a pretty-boy to the Innovator of Violence:
“It wasn’t a pretty boy gimmick, it was true I was handsome dammit! It was funny because it was the 90s and I thought that is what I had to do to make it. Paul Heyman helped me out a lot, Taz helped me out a lot and the caning thing we just kind of fell into it because of the real deal that happened with the kid in Singapore who was going to get caned and it became national news.”
“Taz had said when I was struggling to get over that people had liked my wrestling but they couldn’t get over my “gorgeous” looks (which is absurd). Taz told Paul Heyman that he had dropped me on my head and I was tough and you just have to show his toughness and that is what he did. But that was the beauty of ECW. There was another guy that wore a wet-suit and was a surfer and his name was the Sandman. People didn’t really care much about him but we saw him in the back and I can remember it like it was yesterday. He was sitting in his underwear and he was drinking a beer, smoking a cigarette, telling jokes and we said that is what you need to put on television and that is what we put on television. Minus him being in his underwear and it worked.”
Click to download >>> The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling podcast episode #213