September 22, 2012
Lead-up to debut show has seen its share of drama
By TOMMY DREAMER - For SLAM! Wrestling
If you have been reading my columns regularly, you know I have my own wrestling show on Oct. 6 at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center, entitled House of Hardcore. As such, my days and nights have been filled with preparations for the big show. And, of course, on weekends I still take bookings around the world.
Needless to say, my schedule has been very tight; burning the candle at both ends, as they say. And here I always thought it was supposed to get easier the older you get and as you transfer into semi-retirement.
It's a good thing I still love my job because that is what really drives me. I want my show to be the best for the fans, to offer a different product or point of view of pro wrestling.
The expression "anything that can go wrong, will go wrong" -- or better known as Murphy's Law (not to be confused with my editor, Jan Murphy's Law, which is applied when I need to meet my deadline and correct my spelling and grammar) -- has rang very true for me during this journey.
Three weeks ago, on a Saturday night, I was out with one of my friends who is a movie producer, discussing movie roles when I received a horrible phone call. My dog had collapsed and my wife had rushed him to an emergency veterinarian. He wasn't breathing. My kids were so upset. What a helpless feeling.
Long story short and a very large vet bill later, my dog has an enlarged heart. It is an incurable disease, meaning he will basically have a massive heart attack and die. It sucks. He isn't in any pain nor does he act any differently. The vet gave him three to six months to live, which crushes me. I will do everything in my power to make him happy, but it is the sad reality facing every pet owner.
I don't know how I will handle it with my daughters because of their strong emotional attachment to their canine brother, Joey, but I will cross that bridge when I get to it.
Unbelievably, the very next day, I called my mom to tell her the news and to see how she was doing. She said she had a headache and was lying down. Her speech wasn't right. She said she had a very sleepless night and had thought about calling 911, but was afraid to walk down her steps and didn't want paramedics to break down her door because then she would have had to buy a new one. (Ugh, the stubborness).
She said she was dizzy and had had a hard time getting out of bed to use the washroom the previous night. I asked her if she wanted me to take her to the doctor or the emergency room. She said no, that she was fine and was just tired. Eventually, she would drive herself to the doctor, where she was ordered to go to the emergency room.
To make a long story short, she had a brain hemorrhage. Her blood pressure was extremely high, at one point reaching 197/60, despite being hospitalized and on IV. It was a very trying time.
My mom is full of life, looks young, enjoys singing -- and complaining to me (haha) -- it was hard to see her sick and clinging to life. The other part of the story is that my mom takes care of my 92-year-old grandmother, which means that I had to step up and do it, which I didn't mind, but there are just some things I can't help her with.
Essentially, in the span of a day, I was hit with a double dose of devastating news. The thought of not having my dog or mom in my life is not comforting. I lost my dad years ago and if I lost my mom, I would be parentless and I don't know who would want to adopt poor little orphan Tommy, haha. Humour helps me cope.
My dog is comfortable, we hired a home health aid worker to take care of my grandmother and my mom is now home after a great rehab, and complaining that she can't drive again until she gets recertified. So things are somewhat back to normal.
Oh wait, there's more.
In the midst of all of that, I also managed to open a wrestling school, prepare for the biggest show of my life, tried to be a father, made my appearances, worked out and tried to carry on the normal things I do.
To make matters just a little worse, though, I had my ring rental for the Oct. 6 take another booking, my T-shirt guy tell me he couldn't make my shirts at the price he originally quoted and the New York State Athletic Commision call the building to check that all was in order for my show.
That was a very unusual thing. Perhaps they got an anonymous "tip" from a concerned person. Sounds fishy. Or perhaps I have raised some eyebrows. Oh well, I have all my stuff onboard and current for the show, so we're good to go.
In a nutshell, we all face life's burdens, trials and tribulations. These are but some of mine of late. I have an amazing support group consisting of fans and friends. I couldn't have continued onward without them. The amount of people who reached out to me was humbling.
I always say life is like pro wrestling. No matter how many times you get knocked down, you have to get back up. I look forward to tomorrow and my Oct. 6 show will be more rewarding to me than anything. It will be the culmination of all of my hard work. I look forward to seeing it through to its completion.
Thanks for the support. And thanks for reading.
Tommy Dreamer is a legendary and influential pro wrestler and a father and husband who has worked for World Wrestling Entertainment, Extreme Championship Wrestling and Total Nonstop Action. His column appears in the Kingston Whig-Standard and on SLAM! Wrestling. Follow him on Twitter @THETOMMYDREAMER and check out his website at thetommydreamer.com. He can be booked for live appearances through his website. Check out his new, custom-designed T-shirts and merchandise on his website as well.