An emotional speech from Tommy Dreamer ended the episode of TNA’s Impact on Thursday the 22nd .
Dixie Carter invited the men who seemed to have infiltrated TNA down to the ring; those men being Raven, Rhino, Mick Foley, and the fore mentioned Tommy Dreamer. Tommy went on to give a heartfelt speech with a slight tear in his eye. However I have several problems with his speech, the things he said and what this “invasion” has become.
Dreamer tells us the story on how it was hard for him to leave his job, being 38, having 2 kids and financial security where we had been working. Being 38 myself and having 5 children, I could understand this, a man’s priority should always be to take care of his family, this part of the speech I believed.
He said he watched TNA from the beginning and he watched it grow, he saw so many similarities between TNA and the original ECW. - - Lets stop there, the original ECW was a small promotion that ran in a bingo hall that was located under the I90 in Philadelphia. It wasn’t on television when it first started; promos were cut in someone’s basement where a blanket covered up the washer and dryer that were behind their announcer Joey Styles. The Impact zone is in Universal Studios Florida, not really the same.
He then said that "just like TNA it was a place where men and women who were unknown became Legends and legends came to reinvent them-selves." While I will say there have been some Legends who started in ECW, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho to name a few, I don’t think they became legends there. If he was referring to “legends” such as Sabu, Sandman, or Mike Awesome, I might have to question their legend status. They were popular in the tri-state area but outside of the North East, ECW was unknown to the rest of the world.
He went on: "…What Ric Flair did for Jay Lethal, Terry Funk did for me (Dreamer) and him (Foley). Before there was the Beautiful People, there was Francine and Beulah McGillicutty" - - I’m sorry what just happened there? Did Dreamer just expose that Flair the villain is pushing and helping young Jay Lethal? And if you put up a picture of 3 women, one was Francine, one was Beulah and one was some random hot girl picture you found online, how many wrestling fans today would be able to tell who is who? I watched ECW when it was on cable access at 2am and I don’t remember what Francine looks like. (okay I just googled her, she looks nasty)
He then talks about how One Night Stand gave him closure But then they brought it back and he said "I watched guys who partied like rock stars get fired and they got destroyed" – (so partying like rock stars is a bad way to keep a job? Well I guess unless you’re an actual rock star.) “For what?” (Some one yells something out in the crowd, I think they said money) and he says “exactly” This bothered him so much that he couldn’t stand watching it. He said this is not an invasion, or a taking over, (this was probably said to squash all of us on the web bitching that this is the same thing as last time) this is to have one more night for men and women who lost their jobs, to have closure. That it was for the fans who chanted, so that the legacy is not destroyed and to ensure that their legacy will live forever.
What an incredible slap in the face to the man who tried to save your job, then gave you a new job and introduced you to the world. ECW started in 1992 and was a tiny little promotion for 4 years until Paul Heyman took over in ’96, then it was just a little promotion.
When a WWF show took place in Philly in 1997 some of the fans there chanted ECW. Vince McMahon took note of this and allowed the small promotion, that he had no monetary ties to, come on his show, promote THEIR pay per view and let them have 3 matches.
Later on more promotions took place with ECW, Jerry Lawler invaded them and a storyline between WWE and the small town ECW took place giving them exposure to the world. In August of 1999 ECW appeared on TNN. Previously it was only seen on local cable access or occasionally on MSG, a New York cable station, at 2:00 in the morning. In October of 2000, 15 months later the show was canceled.
Vince then went on to try and help Paul Heyman more financially to keep ECW a float but the debts they had far out weighed the money they were bringing in. Their talent wasn’t getting paid for months, their final pay per view was canceled, April of 2001 they declared bankruptcy, and ECW was no more.
Along comes Vince again, purchases the product, the name, the archive and gave those who were on the ECW roster another try with the Invasion storyline. Sandman, Sabu, Rob Van Dam, The Dudleys all came in and gave the big stage a shot.
Some of the ECW crew did well and stayed on, the Dudley’s preformed at Wrestlemania in some of the best matches of their career. Taz became known and even became a great broadcaster, Tommy Dreamer finally won a title, Rob Van Dam became bigger than he ever would have been.
To listen to his speech and be someone who knew what ECW was, watched it grow, fail, only to be saved again was just aggravating. While the WWE ECW wasn’t the best, it actually did what the original show did, it gave guys like CM Punk, Jack Swagger, and Bobby Lashley a place to grow and become more to build up to the two main shows.
We got Kelly Kelly and Layla two much bigger step ups from Francine and Beula, and then, when the crowd wasn’t interested, and the ratings were down, just like the original, it had to go, the wrestling universe just can’t support the show on a constant basis and it had to move on.
Shame on you Tommy Dreamer, and especially shame on you Mick Foley. If not for WWE you would still be wrestling in bingo halls, and to mock the product and take shots at it for the sake of another show? The company that gave you jobs, turned you into stars, made Foley an author, and pushed him constantly, just shame on you.
You can’t tell me that ECW performers didn’t dream of stardom like the WWE had, or that they didn’t dream of performing at Wrestlemania. These guys got to live out their dreams in a career that isn’t meant to be long term, there comes a time where you’re too old and you just need to move on and let new guys come in and re-invent it all over again for the next generation of watchers.
This pay per view that you are doing is supposed to help carry on your legacy, lets hope it doesn’t leave you looking like old men trying to cling to the past, but then again, that’s about 60 percent of the TNA locker room now, so you are right, there are a lot of similarities.