Any wrestling fan knows who the man is: Tommy Dreamer. With an amazing mountain of accomplishments in his career with ECW, WWE, and more, he is now the proud founder, owner, and wrestler of House of Hardcore. With some of the biggest superstars to date having wrestled on their roster, House of Hardcore will be stopping at iPlay America in Freehold on Friday, Aug. 11, for an awesome night of “No politics, no BS, just wrestling”!
I had the chance to chat with Tommy about the bill, his accomplishments, and what it’s like being the founder of such an awesome platform. Dubbed the “heart and soul” of ECW, I can say it was truly a pleasure speaking with him. Check it out below!
Thanks for taking the time to chat with me. Where are you right now?
My pleasure, thanks for doing this. I am at home in Westchester, New York!
Awesome, well I will get right to it! We are gearing up for House of Hardcore at iPlay America in Freehold on Aug. 11. Can you tell us a little bit about the event and who will be appearing?
Sure thing. We have a great lineup coming through including myself, Jake Hager [formerly known as Swagger], The Rock N Roll Express, The Squad, Bully Ray, Sami Callihan, Bobby Fish [from NXT], Rhett Titus, Petey Williams, Nick Aldis [Magnus], Bull James, Velvet Sky, Angelina Love, and more surprises to come.
Wow, that’s a great card. I was always curious as to how you get wrestlers on your roster; do they come to you, do you scout them, how does the process work?
For me, I have a relationship with pretty much everyone who is on my shows. I am also still a huge wrestling fan, and I try to put together cards for matches that I would like to see. Then I think about how the fans want to see it, and I normally just contact most of the people directly myself. Some will tell me, “Hey, I have a weekend off, can I come in?” kind of like what Petey Williams did, and I will always find a place for him; he has worked so many of my shows.
I don’t have guys under contract, so it’s kind of just go as we go. I use a lot of the same guys and girls until either WWE signs them, resigns them, etc. This is my 32nd show, and I have had 39 talents sign with WWE, so it’s okay! The more they keep signing, the more talent I will keep finding.
That’s extremely impressive! This market tends to be impacted heavily by the independent wrestling circuit. How have you managed to continue to make an impression with fans, and continue to have repeat customers at House of Hardcore events?
I want to say, that went back to my reputation with the fans from the original ECW days. I have never, and never will, lie to my audience. I think the fans respect that. This is only the second show I have ever done in New Jersey, and the first show I was beyond blown away with the expectations and the crowd. When the whole iPlay America thing came about, I had just gone there and did an appearance and watched Monday Night Raw with the fans.
Oh yes, I had gone to one with Bully Ray, it was awesome.
Yes, it was so great. The fans kept asking me when I was going to bring House of Hardcore there, and I was like, well that works. It happened with iPlay, timing is everything, as they say. Again, I think my reputation with my fans in a business that isn’t always truthful, I have always told them the truth. I will continue to do that, especially with social media; it’s hard to lie (laughs). But there is never a reason to lie! I think they know when House of Hardcore rolls into town, they are going to see some of the best wrestlers they have ever seen.
I am not looking to do monthly shows in the New Jersey area; I am looking to do different shows in different countries. We just got back from Australia, and it was awesome. Not having any other ways to get my product out aside from out school advertising—like this interview—and social media, and the fans keep coming out, tells me that they are going to keep delivering!
I am glad you brought up the social media aspect. I like that House of Hardcore has still maintained the element of surprise at some events, because being a wrestling fan, social media and the internet have kind of ruined it for me. It’s hard to not know what is going to happen before it even happens. Do you ever find that to be a struggle?
Yes, it’s funny because even wrestlers will ask me who the surprises are at our events. Again, I am a huge wrestling fan. I have been to so many shows at MSG and the Meadowlands, and people who weren’t advertised to be there showed up. I have managed to pull that off at all my shows, and yes, as a promoter, I should be using their names to help me promote these events, but I don’t. I like that added surprise; I already have two or three ready for Jersey!
As you said, you watch wrestling actively. Is there a wrestler on the roster right now you’d love to get in the ring with that you have or haven’t wrestled already?
Me personally, one of my last events I just had the chance to wrestle Cody Rhodes, who I hired in WWE. His father was also my hero, so that was a huge thing for me. I would love to wrestle Triple H. I know he isn’t an active wrestler, but even though I am 46 and I think he just turned 48, I think there would be a nice story to be told. He is one of the greatest bad guys of all time, and I consider myself a pretty good “good” guy. Good verses bad, it would be a treat.
I have wrestled so many amazing performers; Brock, AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, John Cena, The Undertaker. I have had a blessed career. I was in the WWE about two years ago, and had the opportunity to work with all of them, and even before they were household names. I would love to get out there and wrestle anybody!
We love you for that. What is the main event out in Jersey?
The main event will be myself versus MVP and Jake [Swagger]. We did it in Australia, and it was so good. I wanted Jersey to see it too. I hired them both in WWE, so it’s really cool to still be working with them and a competitive level.
That’s so exciting. Last question, a lot has happened for House of Hardcore in such a short amount of time. If you could predict the future, over the next few years, what direction do you see this promotion going in?
I am not just doing this to do it; I have had some deals under my belt, it’s not just about securing television, it’s about finding different platforms for your fans to watch your program. Digitally, you know these additional platforms. If I won the Powerball tonight, I would never want to compete with the WWE. I love the network; I was watching it right before you called me! I just want to show people how I view professional wrestling, and how my views are different. I am a Giants fan, and I am also a Jets fan—although that is sad when you are a Jets fan—but you know what I mean. I am a fan of the sport, of the game itself. I am a wrestling fan, so to answer your question, we came very close to coming to getting this on a bigger platform, so we are going to keep on trying. All I need is one person to believe in me and my vision, and we will keep on pushing.
Amazing. I wish you the best of luck Tommy, see you at iPlay!
Catch Tommy Dreamer and House of Hardcore at iPlay America in Freehold, NJ on Friday, Aug. 11. Tickets are available at houseofhardcore.net and iplayamerica.com.