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Wrestling / Tommy Dreamer

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"Thank you sir,
may I have another?"

"They call Paul Heyman the brains of ECW, they call me the voice of ECW. Tommy Dreamer was always the heart, the soul, the guts of ECW."
Joey Styles, ECW One Night Stand 2005

Thomas James Laughlin (born February 13, 1971 in Yonkers, NY) is an American radio host, Professional Wrestler and promoter best known for his time in the original ECW as Tommy Dreamer. He debuted in 1989 and wrestled in New England independents as T.D. Madison before coming to ECW in Fall 1993. Over his time in ECW, he would go from a loathed suspenders-wearing pretty boy (in the eyes of the audience) to "The Innovator of Violence" and one of the promotion's top stars. He would hold the NWA ECW/ECW World Tag Team Titles three times, 1x w/Johnny Gunn (Tom "Salvatore Sincere" Brandi), 1x w/former hated enemy Raven and 1x w/Masato Tanaka, and would defeat WWE's Tazz for the ECW World Heavyweight Title...only to lose it immediately afterwards to Justin Credible. He has also competed for WWE, All Japan Pro Wrestling, TNA, CZW, CHIKARA and many independent promotions, having also been a KYDA Heavyweight Champion, Border City Wrestling Can-Am Heavyweight Champion, BCW Can-Am Tag Team Champion with Nova, IWA Puerto Rico Hardcore Champion, UCW Universal Heavyweight Champion, Impact Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Champion, Family Wrestling Entertainment Heavyweight Champion, Busted Knuckle Pro Wrestling tag team champion with Markus Ryan, Pro Wrestling Fighters North European Champion and International Wrestling Cartel Heavyweight Champion.

He appeared in Season 4 of Lucha Underground, which already finished taping and began airing on June 13, 2018. After that season aired and the future of Lucha Underground became murky, he signed with Impact Wrestling as a producer in 2019.

Despite his real name, he has no connection to the auteur of the 1970s Billy Jack movies.

"The Innovator of Tropes":

  • Acrofatic: Proved he could mimic and reverse all of Joey Ryan's fancy tricks when Ryan called him "old" and "fat".
  • Advertised Extra: Has a spot in the Lucha Underground Season 4 trailer, but only wrestled one match.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Raven claims that Tommy Dreamer was a misfit and an outcast growing up, whose time in school was a nightmare despite successful graduation. He wanted to make the trope a reality again in Dreamer's wrestling career after Dreamer started getting accepted by the ECW mutant fans.
  • Arch-Enemy
    • RAVEN, most of all. This was the feud that practically fueled ECW for some 2 years, and would be revisited in 1999-2000 and later in WWE and other promotions.
    • The Sandman, Shane Douglas, Jerry Lawler, Rob Van Dam, The Dudley Boys, Lance Storm and Justin Credible also filled this role at different times when Raven and or Raven's underlings were not.
  • Author Avatar: In House Of Hardcore, which he managed to sneak an advertisement for onto a WWE show by wearing it on one of his shirts. Probably did not get him any new viewers though, since WWE did not acknowledge this in any way.
  • Bash Brothers: The Sandman, Mikey Whipwreck, Terry Funk, New Jack, Luna Vachon, Beulah McGillicutty, Jerry Lynn
  • Big Eater: Sort of joked about on the internet due to a paunch in his later WWE career developing, was pretty much confirmed by Dreamer's own twitter page, as he's been known to mix sugary cereals.
  • Blood Knight: The gimmick that started to get him over in ECW. He was less impressive in his WWE run but was rarely ever not enthused for a fight.
  • Brooklyn Rage
    • Well, Yonkers is not part of New York City, but the rage is there. He called Kenny King a sellout for allowing himself to be billed from Las Vegas even though he only works his second job there and lives in Queens.
    • He once modified the plate of the WWE Hardcore Title belt to resemble a New York State license plate.
  • C-List Fodder:
    • Evolution made their WWE debut by attacking Tommy Dreamer and beating him up for no adequately explained reason. He never got any retribution or, well, anything for it.
    • Notoriously, he got beat up by the two dominant Power Stables of the two main American wrestling promotions (at the time) within a space of one month; by WWE's The Shield in December 2012 and by TNA's Aces And Eights in January 2013. And no, nothing came from either beatdown for him.
  • Canon Discontinuity: He actually scored a couple of non-televised pins on Raven very early on in the feud. Of course, ECW couldn't have acknowledged them, since if they had there wouldn't have been a feud.
  • The Cavalry
    • When The Prototype stated his desire to have an Ultimate Pro Wrestling Heavyweight Title shot, "The Real Deal" Damian Steele showed his protest by fighting him. Tag Team partners Keiji Sakoda and Heavyweight Champion Samoa Joe quickly came out to help Steele and things looked bleak for the would be challenger until visiting guest Tommy Dreamer ran his assailants off.
    • When CM Punk decided to take advantage of Raven's alcohol dependence after winning a dog collar match in Ring of Honor, Dreamer decided to instead help make sure Punk was forced to drink against his will.
  • Crossover: Judgment Day was supposed to be the biggest show Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling had ever done. So big it necessitated Francine, Tommy Dreamer and Raven working together to get a shot at FMW's WEW tag team titles!
  • Dented Iron: Unsurprising, considering his ring style. When he broke his back in ECW, an X-ray revealed that he had also been (unknowingly) wrestling with a broken neck for several months. Other injuries include more broken fingers than a person has fingers, several groin injuries that required fluid draining from his testicles (ouch), and numerous concussions. He appears to be in relatively good shape, considering all this.
  • Determinator
    • He worked through much of 2000 with a bad back and has fought through other injuries as well.
    • When asked at school what their father did for a living his daughters responded "Daddy falls down a lot, but Daddy always gets back up." which Dreamer shared with the mutants after his final WWECW match as he felt they had become enough of his family hear it.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: At The Night the Line Was Crossed, became the first wrestler to ever kick out of Jimmy Snuka's Superfly Splash. He lost the match, but this was one of Dreamer's first big moments in his slow rise to acceptance.
  • The Dreaded: To Q from Impractical Jokers. The first time he's on the show, he beats the crap out of Q, who is being punished by having to wrestle him while dressed like Peter Pan. The second time, he gets to pull Q's pants down.
  • Expy
    • Initially presented as a protégé of Terry Funk.
    • At CHIKARA Aniversario Elf, May 23, 2010, Eddie Kingston defeated Dreamer by DQ when evil Die Bruderschaft des Kreuzes referee Derek Sabato disqualified Dreamer for grabbing his shirt. Then BDK members and the CHIKARA Campeones de Parejas (Tag Team Champions) Claudio Castagnoli and Ares ran in to save Sabato from Dreamer piledriving him. This led to Dreamer and Kingston fighting together against the BDK. Afterwards, Dreamer acknowledged how Kingston used to come see him wrestle, and Kingston said that Dreamer was his inspiration to get out of Yonkers and become a wrestler. This led to Dreamer and Kingston teaming up, unsuccessfully, against Castagnoli and Ares at Chikarasaurus Rex: King of Show on July 25th.
  • Finishing Move: DDT, Death Valley Driver, Dreamer Driver, Tommyhawk
  • Funny Background Event: Thought he was being ignored by Christian and Jack Swagger on a mid-'09 episode of ECW, so he proceeded to dance.
  • Garbage Wrestler: Didn't start out this way, but grew into it and was what helped to get him over. As luck would have it, he was really good at it. He earned his Red Baron "The Innovator of Violence" from his ability to make seemingly ANYTHING into a weapon, often leading to the first Joey Styles line at the top of the page. This ranged from piledriving Raven on a cream pie, to using a cheese grater on Brian Lee's groin (prompting Joey to say, "I'm not calling that.") and even to taping a frying pan onto his boot to deliver a knockout Enziguri.
  • Gimmick Matches: He defeated Brian Lee at ECW High Incident, October 26, 1996, in a scaffold match with the ring filled with tables.note 
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Forced to resort to this at Wrestling/{{CHIKARA}] King of Trios 2010 Night III, April 25, 2010. He was there as a special guest of Eddie Kingston and cut a promo where he put over the passion of the CHIKARA roster and said that he wanted to face Dragon Dragon because "that shit was awesome." The crowd booed him for this, and Dreamer apologized and said, "That stuff was awesome!" The event was held at the former ECW Arena, where Dreamer made his name, and which had seen its share of Cluster F-Bomb promos.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Used Ivory as a projectile against Stevie Richards.
  • Groin Attack: A regular feature of his matches. He's been on both sides of it.
    • He actually pinned Stevie Richards after a low blow at ECW Double Tables 95, February 4, 1995.
  • He's Back!: Returned to RAW in 2015, trashcan full of makeshift weapons and all, to assist the The Dudley Boyz against The Wyatt Family.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Tommy Dreamer's WWE matches usually ended with him getting pinned after being hit with his own kendo stick.
  • How Much More Can He Take?: He broke his neck in ECW, he broke his back in ECW. He thought it was all for nothing. The standing ovation ECW got on Raw told him otherwise.
  • Insult Backfire: Once responded to hecklers with, "I don't mind being called a pussy because I am what I eat!"
  • Improvised Weapon: Even in the less hardcore WWECW, he rammed Christian into a hotdog cart and started using its contents as blunt weapons against him, taking a break for a bite to eat.
  • Iron Butt Monkey: When Eric Bischoff abolished the Hardcore Championship's 24/7 rule, he held a huge battle royale between former champions with the winner becoming the next champ. Tommy pinned Crash Holly with just over two minutes left in the match, and spent the rest of it repeatedly getting beat up by other competitors who kept trying to pin him. Tommy still won the match, since all his competitors kept interrupting each others' attempts to pin him.
  • Jobber: For most of his WWE run up until he got shipped over to WWECW and began to win more consistently.
  • Last of His Kind: The last ECW original in WWECW as of 2008, which was why it was so important for him to win the Platinum Phoenix.
  • Leitmotif: Alice in Chains' "Man in the Box"
  • Made of Iron: In the World Wrestling League he got a really long light tube shattered on him by Sabu, something that usually results in wrestlers bleeding a whole lot, but in this instance Dreamer didn't have a single laceration.
  • The Mentor: In-Universe, to WWECW's Mikey Whipwreck knockoff Colin Delaney.
  • No-Sell: A kendo stick shot from Rock Star Spud in TNA only got Dreamer's attention.
  • Off Screen Moment Of Awesome: At an ECW house show in May of 1996, he and Brian Lee had a falls count anywhere match that ended up leaving the arena and stopping traffic.
  • Parental Substitute: Downplayed, but Jessicka Havok came to the conclusion Dreamer was her dad in the context of pro wrestling(mom is Jazz).
  • Parts Unknown: Pre-ECW, he was billed from "Dreamland, USA"
  • Perky Female Minion: "The First Lady Of KYDA", Alexis Laree, who helped him on his way to the heavyweight title.
  • Poor Communication Kills: After Bully Ray was pulled out of a House Of Hardcore show, Tommy Dreamer came to the conclusion TNA was in need of help, so to help them both, he decided to put the blame on Dixie Carter, to put over his own company and make people more interested in Bully Ray putting her through a table. To help put this over further, he forwarded a picture a fan had taken of the audience supporting him at the House Of Hardcore show. Thing is, Dreamer forwarded it from his phone. The full picture, which couldn't fit on it that he later saw on his computer, had an image of a TNA show with much lower attendance next to it. This lead to Dreamer agreeing to appear on some TNA shows to hopefully undo any damage that may have caused.
  • Power Stable:
    • (in WWE): The Alliance and the ECW Originals
    • (in TNA): Immortal and EV 2.0
  • Prepare to Die: Initially underestimated Candice LeRae during an encounter with The World's Cutest Tag Team in Family Wrestling Entertainment, seeing his pile driver countered and a balls plex for his folly. With his own partner downed by Maria Kanellis and facing Joey Ryan and LeRae two on one, Dreamer's second wind kicked in and he decided they had to die.
  • A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: Colin Delaney, an issue which he never really dealt with in WWECW but had to confront later, such as in the International Wrestling Cartel, where Colin would call Dreamer stupid for trying to help a loser like him become a better wrestler.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Was in Aztec Warfare IV as a replacement for someone else who couldn't make the tapings.
  • Red Baron: "The Innovator of Violence"
  • Ring Oldies: Born in 1971, seems to want to die in the ring.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Did some booking work for ECW.
  • Shout-Out
    • The quote at the top of the page was a reference to the film Animal House.
    • He showed up to AEW Double of Nothing in Dusty Rhodes inspired gear.
  • Show With In A Show: While working for Impact Wrestling, Tommy Dreamer does double duty as the host of Wrestle House, a parody reality show centered around a group of wrestlers who are trapped inside Dreamer's house during the daylight hours and fight over who "gets" to sleep outside since there are always more people than available rooms and they still can't get off the premises unless they are booked on Impact that night.
  • Signature Move: Second rope walk elbow drop, senton off the apron, sleeper hold (dream weaver), neck lifted sit down spine buster(sky high), Frog splash.
  • Start My Own: House Of Hardcore, a sister promotion to Family Wrestling Entertainment. An influx of mutants to see Tommy Dreamer's promotion has since turned HOH events into what you could call FWE's "adult" shows.
  • Stout Strength
    • While not obese, he wasn't built like a bodybuilder, but, on the December 10 (taped December 5), 1998 ECW Hardcore TV, he was able to slam The One Man Gang on his first try!
    • On Heat he proved capable of slamming 3 Minute Warning. One of whom you may know as Umaga.
  • Tag Team: The Madison Brothers, in the ICW/IWCCW promotion in New England.
  • "Take That!" Kiss: To Victoria for interfering in his WWE matches with Stevie Richards. After she cost him a win, he was ready to give her a pile driver in a mixed tag team match, but a kick from Stevie Richards led to her pinning him.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Dreamer coming out of retirement attracted the attention of Drew Galloway, who wanted to repay everything Dreamer had done for him when he came to the USA by putting Dreamer back into retirement for his own good.
  • Took a Level in Badass: His whole development into the "Innovator of Violence".
  • True Companions: The ECW locker room in general, the RF Video employees who distributed ECW and the mutant fans of ECW. He later gave this honor to the RoHbots.
  • Unrelated Brothers: With G.Q. Madison
  • Ur-Example: The first CWA Heavyweight Champion. For the record, the second was The Iron Sheik.
  • With My Hands Tied: Gave a DDT To Raven while handcuffed at TNA's Hardcore Justice
  • Worthy Opponent: Believed Mighty Ursus to be one in WWC. His issue was that he felt Ursus was listening to the wrong people and had to fight him to get him to realize it, but after they went at it Dreamer became convinced Ursus would find out on his own.
  • Would Hit a Girl
    • As Beulah and Francine both found out.
    • In Dragon Gate USA, Tommy Dreamer's feud with Jon Moxley started when Dreamer found Moxley's beating of The Lovely Lacey to be too much. This did not mean Tommy Dreamer had risen above hitting women himself though, as he gave Moxley's manager, Christina Von Eerie, a pile driver for interfering.
  • Wrestling Family: He's married to former manager Beulah McGillicutty.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain:
    • Almost always lost the big match, never sought the title, and took a ton of punishment for his trouble. Even then, Dreamer didn't want to go over. He wanted to always lose to Raven, no matter what. Everyone wanted to see him finally beat his lifelong rival, so every time he got so close and lost, that's one more match they can hype up and sell. His idea was that he'd be a much better underdog and garner more fan support if he never beat Raven.
    • At ECW WrestlePalooza 97, he FINALLY scored an officially recognized pinnote  on Raven to send him off to WCW...only for the lights to go out and when they came back on JERRY LAWLER was there with Sabu, Rob Van Dam, and manager Bill Alfonso to attack him and fight off the ECW roster. In fact, this was a central part of the whole Dreamer-Raven feud, as Dreamer kept getting closer and closer to beating Raven only to have someone from the Nest get in his way.
    • Defeated Tazz for the ECW World Heavyweight Title on April 22, 2000, nine days after the WWE-contracted Tazz had made history by defeating the WCW-contracted Mike Awesome for it. After giving an emotional speech, Justin Credible came out and challenged Dreamer for the belt, and won it after Francine turned heel on him.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Once during an ECW mic confrontation between Dreamer (w/Francine) and Lance Storm (w/Dawn Marie), Dawn addressed him as "Thomas," which Joey Styles questioned.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: At ECW November to Remember 93, November 13, 1993, the NWA ECW Tag Team Champions the Suicide Blondes (Johnny Hot Body and Chris Michaels) had just successfully defended their titles against the Bad Breed (Axl and Ian Rotten). Dreamer and Johnny Gunn ran in and Squashed the Blondes to win the belts in around 9 seconds.