Credit: Mike Johnson and Pwinsider.com
The debut of Tommy Dreamer's House of Hardcore likely could not have gone any smoother from a presentation standpoint. The show drew in the 1,900 plus range, just shy of a sellout (an official sellout would have been 20,50) for the first event Dreamer ever promoted. The early word was that the show was profitable and Dreamer noted on the mic that there would be a "House of Hardcore 2."
While the actual production of the show ran smooth, there were issues leading up to the show, including a "concerned citizen" calling different entities complaining about the show. It doesn't take a genius to realize that "concerned citizen" likely makes their money promoting wrestling in some form. It's pretty sad when people would rather spend time trying to hurt someone else instead of bettering themselves, but that's human nature for you.
The entire idea of the show was to try and run something where the wrestlers could perform and have fun without restrictions. While a lot of people dismissed the show as another ECW reunion, Dreamer has distanced himself from such things since the TNA Hardcore Justice show. The HOH blueprint was one that was designed to appeal to different demographics of wrestling fans - the average wrestling fan would have some former WWE names, the die-hard wrestling fan would get some ECW and independent names and the presentation was designed to allow the older names to work the undercard and allow the younger talents who can go athletically shoulder the "wrestling" aspect of the product. It was obvious that some of the names on the show were unknowns to the audience, which reacted positively to anyone who worked hard.
To keep with the "feel good" aspect of the show, all the babyfaces went over until the main event, where Dreamer was pinned - and if anyone expected Dreamer to put himself over on his own show surely hasn't paid attention to his career. Raven and Sandman were specifically booked to do the big Sandman entrance as a way to send fans home happy even though a heel, Carlito, went over in the main event.
True to form of the old days of ECW, however, the actual lineup wasn't written out until an hour or so before the show. The booking was designed to build the locals as something special - whether it was the NYWC guys tearing the house down or Hale Collins, who lives in the area and is a partner in the HOH school, nearly breaking the Masterlock in front of his hometown.
It was a very mellow and happy locker room backstage. No drama at all. There was a real positive feeling backstage at the show as Dreamer is one of the most well liked and respected guys among talents in the business.
Tony Devito worked the show backstage, helping with logistics and running the locker room. I believe Edge was helping out backstage as well. Among those backstage were TNA's Rosita, Ivelisse Velez of Tough Enough fame, former ECW producer and director Ron Buffone, Beulah McGuillicuty and a few independent talents.
Edge and The Steiners reunion were big draws for the pre-show autograph session. Edge was set up in one corner of the building while the Steiners were set up in the ring. The remainder of the roster all signed on the stage prior to the show.
When doors for the show opened, Dreamer was waiting in the lobby in front of a photo backdrop to take photos with everyone entering. The photos will be uploaded online for fans to grab for themselves.
While there are plans for another show, the early word was that it wouldn't be until 2013, and possibly not until May. That is probably for the best as what seems to be the only thing drawing on a grass roots independent level right now are shows that are "can't miss" and feature a really unique or blowaway lineup. Running on a regular basis would probably detract from the aura of the event.
From an in-ring standpoint, the best matches on the show were Tony Nese vs. Alex Reynolds (talk about two guys who are the future of the business) and Brian Kendrick & Paul London vs. The Young Bucks. Scott Steiner vs. Luke Gallows and Tommy Dreamer vs. Mike Knox vs. Carlito were both very good matches as well. There was nothing that left a negative feeling among fans with any of the matches.
Spike Dudley received a monster pop for his surprise appearance. He had retired about a year ago but is booked for at least one match in November for 2CW in New York against Kevin Steen, which should be awesome. The booking for his return was very well laid out as Big Daddy V killed two unknown, unnamed guys to build himself up and then Dudley returned to hit the Acid Drop and run V off.
I believe Roadkill working the show, his first match since 2008, was just a one-time deal, more giving him a chance to work one last time with Danny Doring, who is his best friend, and the FBI, who were their top opponents, but we'll see. Roadkill's speech didn't specifically say he was done, but given that he's rarely, if ever, done promos, it certainly came off as a farewell speech.
Before the show started, a video screen played clips of events that took place in Poughkeepsie, playing up the idea of celebrating the history of the venue.
The only injury of the show was Daivari getting a tooth knocked out from a stiff Crowbar kick. Crowbar was booked as a surprise.