Tommy Dreamer arguably is the one in-ring talent most synonymous with ECW, as he stayed with the company until its end in 2001. During a recent interview, however, Dreamer disclosed that he came very close to leaving ECW for a lucrative contract with WCW.
Speaking with Fight Network, Dreamer shared that at one point WCW "offered me more money than I probably would have ever made in my career to leave ECW.
"I knew if I left ECW it would have hurt. I went to Paul [Heyman] and Paul was crying to me 'You can't do it.' We were so close to making it and it was for a lot of money."
Dreamer said that Heyman lied to him to get him to stay.
"Paul lied to me, but he lied to me to actually keep ECW going, which I actually get. If I would have left I would never have been Tommy Dreamer. And staying and going down with the ship of ECW helped me along the way to appreciate what I have, made the fans rally behind me more, I have stayed in the business longer than anybody who did leave, and when I hear negative stuff about wrestling or wrestling companies -- and why I guess I'm so passionate. Cause you never want to lose something that you love, and you never want that to go away. If you want to talk to people in Montreal who are Expos fans, you will talk about how gutted they feel. I lived that in ECW, and it wasn't about the money. It was about losing something you love. It was like a death. It was the worst time of my life, but I survived. If I could tell myself I have no regrets, I would do everything pretty much the exact same way because my life turned out okay."
Dreamer added that he held no ill will toward Heyman, who was notorious for bouncing checks and not paying wrestlers while running ECW.
"When they want to knock Paul and they want to knock ECW for the negative things, everybody stayed in ECW by choice," Dreamer said. "Also a lot of guys had no place to go. You want to say that they bounced checks on me, or he folded the company or he was in bed with WWE all along, you decided to stay. You are responsible for all your own actions. If you aren't happy about it then do something else about it."
Dreamer is now a promoter himself, running House of Hardcore, which will hold its first event on FloSlam this Saturday, Dec. 3, called House of Hardcore 21: Blizzard Brawl.