In Tommy Dreamer’s latest editorial on SLAM! Wrestling, he details getting the call from WWE to appear on last week’s Raw featuring the 2012 Slammy Awards. Below is an excerpt:
Later, as I was preparing to go to my wrestling school to train my students, my phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number, so I send it to voicemail. Another call comes through, same thing. Then I received a text message from a high-ranking WWE official asking me if I was around. Hearing from people in the WWE isn’t out of the ordinary, given that I worked for them in numerous capacities for close to nine years, so I didn’t think much of it.
Then my house phone rang, which is unusual since I only have a land line for fax purposes and nobody calls that number. Everyone calls my cell. I picked up, and was asked if I could go to Philadelphia to be apart of the WWE’s annual Slammy Awards show.
I agreed and asked if I needed to bring a tuxedo or a suit, as I was guessing I would used as an award presenter. This person said they didn’t know and would call me back.
I asked them to please do that on my cell, that the land line is just a fax and emergency line. (Though I would consider this a wrestler emergency, there is a show in Philadelphia and it needs some Tommy Dreamer!
That original call came in at 3:30 p.m. and Monday Night RAW was taking place 100 miles (160 km) away from my house. That’s challenging without even considering traffic. The fun was just beginning. I jumped in the shower to get ready. As I finished, my cellphone rang. I answered it and was told to bring my wrestling gear, and that I would be wrestling but not to tell anyone. This had to be a surprise. The packing part wasn’t a problem, as I hadn’t even unpacked my gear bag from Saturday’s show. I shaved, threw on some fake tanner, made a protein shake and headed out the door at 3:50 p.m.
When that phone rings and I have to be somewhere, this wrestler gets the job done. I hit some traffic on the George Washington Bridge, and, at the New Jersey Turnpike it started raining. The show goes on the air live at 8 p.m. My phone started ringing again. It was the WWE contact, wanting an ETA. He called me every half hour to see how I was making out.
To be honest, this was my favourite part. I love the rush. It was my life for so long in the original ECW; everything happening last minute, or surprises coming into the company, to the elation of the crowd. These days, with social media, keeping a surprise is very hard to do. To keep a secret, it is very easy to do, don’t tell anyone. I have to admit, though, I did tell my mom. She isn’t on Twitter, though, and my grandmother may think Facebook is a new way to read. So, no worries there.
I don’t know how many more moments I will get in my career and I know my mom, and grandmother are proud. I also told my wife because I wanted my kids to see me on TV. I was recently asked in an interview if I have any regrets? I told them that my only regret is that my kids didn’t see me in the prime of my career. They are at that perfect age, eight, where their friends in school love the WWE and I would be the coolest dad in the world.
I began wondering what was in store for me on that evening. What would I be doing? Will the fans remember me? I haven’t been on WWE TV in three years. Who would I be wrestling?
And my god, did I have to pee, between the protein drink and all the rain, but I didn’t have time to stop. So, in a moment of shame, I peed in my blender, and then threw it out the window, only to have it splash back on my arm. (Awesome).
It was close to 7 p.m. and I was almost there, but traffic was brutal. I finally arrived, met my contact and went to hide on a bus with the other surprise for the night, The Nature Boy Ric Flair — and when I found out Flair would be on the bus with me, internally I say “WOOO!” but act I cool when I see my friend and fellow wrestling legend. WWE then has me take a physical, sign a bunch of forms, releases and contracts.
Then I was briefed on what as in store for the night. I was to be a mystery partner in a six-man tag team match with The Miz and Alberto Del Rio against the Three Man Band (3MB).
At this stage, even my partners had no clue what was going on. Eventually, I was allowed into the building, once the show started live. I was told to tell the other wrestlers I was just visiting. I saw so many people with whom I have shared great moments, or actually hired into WWE. I had a great time catching up with a lot of people. At about 9 p.m., I met with my partners to discuss strategy. I felt something I haven’t felt in a long time. Nerves. A thought went through my mind: what if I don’t get a reaction? WWE is, after all, watched by a lot of younger children, a whole new audience. Some wouldn’t be old enough to remember when I was wrestling.
I shook off my doubt and was determined I was going to do my best no matter what happened. Behind the curtain was tense, like it always is. I love that feeling; the calm before the storm. Then The Miz (who did a great job announcing me as his partner) said my name, the fans exploded.
As I walked out from behind the curtain, I saw a sea of people rising to their feet. Words can’t describe how elated and happy I felt inside, hearing more than 15,000 people chant my name. It was euphoric.
The match itself was good, the fans were surprised and most of all, they were happy.
In times of trouble in society, I always say wrestling is a great escape from reality. If you take it from its inner core, it’s good vs. evil, a roller coaster of emotions and one hell of a show. I put smiles on people’s faces and was given an opportunity and created a moment for myself. That really is what it is all about.
When I returned to my dressing area and picked up my phone, I had 117 text messages from friends, family, celebrities and sports figures, with nothing but positive comments and congratulations on my WWE return.
I couldn’t believe the amount of tweets I received, or possibly find time to respond to all of them. I trended worldwide on Twitter, which means, at one point in time, I was one of the most-talked about things happening on Twitter in the world. I drove the two hours home and recapped the perfect evening in my head over and over again.
The greatest part of all was the next day, my kids told me they saw me on TV and all the kids in school saw me and I won for them. They are so proud and love me. So I guess I have no regrets in my career now that I’m the coolest dad ever.
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