Tommy Dreamer was every bit as tough as all the other barbed wire-scarred wrestlers in the ECW locker room, but what made the kid from Yonkers, N.Y. an icon of the renegade Philadelphia promotion wasn’t his tenacity — it was his loyalty.
An integral part of ECW both in the ring and behind the scenes up until the company’s 2001 demise, Dreamer was the only competitor who stayed faithful to Paul Heyman’s sports-entertainment madhouse through its most turbulent years. This distinction earned him the moniker of “The ECW Original” and the admiration of the Philly faithful, but The City of Brotherly Love wasn’t always so kind to Tommy Dreamer.
Starting out in ECW as a grinning good guy in sequined suspenders in 1992, the clean-cut do-gooder was relentlessly jeered by the harsh ECW Arena audiences who rejected his pretty boy image. It wasn’t until Tommy took a beating from the beer-swilling Sandman that he gained the fans’ respect. After losing to the extreme brawler in a Singapore Cane Match, Dreamer was forced to receive 10 brutal lashes on his back from Sandman’s kendo stick. It was a vicious sight, but instead of begging for mercy, Dreamer turned to his tormentor and said, “Please, sir, may I have another?” In that moment of defiance, a hardcore icon was born.