Ever since Wrestlemania, Matt and Jeff Hardy have been the talk of the professional wrestling world.
The brothers returned to World Wrestling Entertainment on April 2 in front of nearly 80,000 fans in Orlando, Florida, to win the tag team championship. Ever since, the duo have been starring on Monday Night Raw, and have been superstars on social media.
But before they become full-time WWE wrestlers, they have a few dates they were already committed to, and one of them is when they take on Tommy Dreamer and the former Bubba Ray Dudley at the 2300 Arena, 2300 S. Swanson St. in South Philadelphia, at House of Hardcore 25.
“It’s funny, this is the 25th one and every one continues to get bigger than the previous one and that’s by design,” said Dreamer, the promotion’s owner. “Every time we go out, we try to make it a memorable event. We’re fans. We want to cater to the wrestling fans because that’s who I am. I still love wrestling and I want the fans to love wrestling.”
This will be the third straight time Philadelphia will feature Dreamer against Matt Hardy in the main event. And it couldn’t have come at a better time with the Hardys returning to WWE.
“I’m glad they’re doing so well, and I’m glad they’re still able to wrestle and fulfill their previous bookings,” Dreamer said. “Vince McMahon, he’s old school. When I first came after the original ECW, I had a bunch of events I was signed for, and he allowed me to do them. He’s old school, if you commit to something, he lets you finish it.”
The main event should be a great spectacle, but Dreamer never wants his shows to be a one-match event, and this show should be no different.
Also slated to appear at the event are Pentagon Jr. against Sami Callihan, as well as former WWE star MVP and Brian Cage.
The event will take place 24 hours after House of Hardcore debuts in Metuchen, New Jersey. That show will be highlighted by Dreamer against Matt Hardy.
The weekend will begin a strong run for HOH, which includes a five-date tour of Australia, and the company’s debut in Chicago.
Dreamer started HOH in 2012 and he’s steadily grown it every time.
“It’s definitely growing,” Dreamer said. “We draw bigger crowds than any promotion outside WWE. That’s not saying anything about other promotions, I’m a wrestling fan and I like many other promotions, but we’re trying to make sure what we do is special.”
He’s also giving an outlet for future stars to hone their craft, even if it means they might not be wrestling with the promotion for long.
Rhino starred for Dreamer in the early days of HOH. He was signed by WWE.
Tony Nese had wrestled on every HOH card until late last year, when he, too, was signed by the top promotion.
Even announcer Vic Travagliante, the voice of HOH, has gone on to WWE.
Losing talent to the conglomerate can be a challenge because it means he has to find new stars, but Dreamer is still happy to see his friends succeed.
“When Tony Nese signed (with WWE), I was very happy because he’s a guy who worked for it, he deserved a break,” Dreamer said. “I don’t like to lose these guys, but I’m happy to see him go on to get that break. Losing Vic was very tough because he was huge for what we did.
“In the original ECW, I didn’t know who would leave, but I knew I would be there. Now I’m committed to House of Hardcore.”
Dreamer is happy his baby is growing up.
And he’s very happy the promotion is doing so well in Philadelphia, where Dreamer, whose real name is Tommy Laughlin, made his mark in the original ECW.
Every time he returns to the 2300 Arena, which was previously known as the ECW Arena, he gets just as excited as he did when he was cutting his teeth in the sport.
“I still always say Tommy Laughlin was born in New York, but Tommy Dreamer was born in Philadelphia,” he said. “I still do the same routine every time we come to Philadelphia, the same routine that Paul (Heyman, former ECW owner) would do. Wrestling at the arena has always been very special to me, and it’s a special place for the fans. It’s why I’m so happy that the building has been able to be the base for House of Hardcore. Philadelphia is special to me and it’s our home base.”
Making it to show №25 with seven more on the horizon means House of Hardcore is continuing to be a success.
But Dreamer’s focus is on having a strong weekend in New Jersey and Philadelphia. After that, he’ll continue to pour his heart and soul into HOH.
“This main event has a lot of subplots,” Dreamer said. “That’s all booking. We had me against Matt, me against Matt in a cage, and now it’s the Hardys against me and (Bully Ray). The Hardys are hot right now. Everyone is special, but this one should be a lot of fun.”
The show begins at 8 p.m. That morning, also at the 2300 Arena, there will be a convention, where fans can get pictures and autographs with wrestlers, including Ric Flair, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Ricky Steamboat. ••
For tickets to Saturday’s event, visit houseofhardcore.net