Superstars who weren't supposed to make it

Page 2 of 9
September 28, 2012

Tommy Dreamer

Despite having been pegged for big things from almost the moment his career began, the success of Tommy Dreamer remains supremely counterintuitive.

In his first few years in the sport, Dreamer was fresh out of a college football program, and he weighed a muscular 260 pounds. Dreamer’s cosmetic appeal ran high, and he had the type of clean-cut affability that would win over most audiences. After only his second match, the eventual heart-and-soul of ECW earned Rookie of the Year honors in the Tri-State–based promotion of his trainer, Johnny Rodz. Yet, Dreamer’s prototypical “good guy” look — his smiley countenance, the shiny robe and the snappy, suspendered ring gear (handmade by Dreamer’s mother, no less) — did not exactly endear him to ECW’s pitiless, Santa Claus–booing Philadelphia faithful.

Instead of becoming disheartened, Dreamer adapted and persevered. He traded in his red suspenders for a more Philly-friendly black tee, and he earned the ECW fans’ acceptance by proving his toughness in hard-nosed brawls with toughs the likes of The Sandman. (WATCH)

It was in the name of Extreme Championship Wrestling that Dreamer sacrificed his body. As the injuries mounted, Dreamer fought through the pain. But over time, the toll on his body became apparent, and his once-chiseled physique morphed into a husky exterior. Never the fleetest of foot, Dreamer slowed his in-ring style even further, but he didn’t let that impede his tenure in WWE years later, where he won multiple championships.

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