Tommy Dreamer celebrated his 50th birthday. His gift was competing against Rich Swann for the Impact World Championship in the main event of No Surrender. Win or lose, Dreamer’s goal was to give the fans one last great moment to remember him. That mission was accomplished.
Dreamer was tearful in anticipation. His mind was still sharp, but he knew his body didn’t have much left to give.
During the introductions, Dreamer was solemn in soaking in the magnitude of possibly his final world title opportunity. Swann offered a handshake out of respect before they fought tooth and nail for 15 minutes.
Dreamer opened by muscling Swann into the corner. The legend backed away for a clean break. The two competitors exchanged holds on the mat with Dreamer needing to grab the ropes for a break. Next up was the dance of well-scouted maneuvers. Both men struggled to connect a substantial blow early.
Dreamer was first to take charge when he caught a leaping Swann for a fallaway slam. Swann rolled out of the ring, so Dreamer followed with a sliding dropkick. Dreamer attempted a cannonball off the apron but landed flat on his back after Swann evaded. The champ stole that move to land flush on Dreamer.
Dreamer caught a kick to counter with a DVD on the floor. The impact caused Dreamer to dislocate his finger.
Dreamer brushed off the ringside doctor from ending any championship aspirations. Dreamer took it upon himself to pop his finger back in place and continue the fight. He was in it to win it.
At first, I couldn’t tell if the finger injury was legit or not. As the drama played it, I’m suspecting it was all part of the plan. It was effective in demonstrating Dreamer’s heart and intestinal fortitude.
Swann focused his attack on stomping Dreamer’s hand to get an edge, while Dreamer targeted Swann’s knee to slow down the speedster. Dreamer hit a reverse DDT then applied a Texas Cloverleaf. After trading heavy forearm blows, Dreamer tackled Swann to tumble through the ropes crashing to the floor.
Dreamer lifted Swann for a piledriver onto concrete, however, Swann flailed his feet to kick Dreamer in the eye. Swann escaped to bounce back for a handspring cutter.
Back in the ring, Dreamer catapulted Swann into the turnbuckles. Swann landed safely then hopped back for a flying attack. Dreamer anticipated the movement and had a cutter at the ready.
Whenever Swann thought Dreamer was toast, the veteran still had more gas in the tank to pull out a surprise counter. Swann was able to lock in the Rings of Saturn, but Dreamer powered up to his feet to hit a DVD.
Swann showed his championship spirit to continue the fight. He tweaked Dreamer’s fingers as an opening to set up a variety of kicks. Low to the knee, high to the head, and direct to the face. Swann even did a step-up back kick. Swann finished Dreamer with a Phoenix splash for the 1, 2, 3.
Swann displayed respect by helping Dreamer off the mat. Dreamer presented the Impact belt with honor to the champ. It was a fitting moment considering the battle they just went through. Too bad it was promptly ruined by Moose.
Impact management made sure the main event would not be wrecked by threatening Moose with a suspension should he interfere. That policy did not cover Moose attacking after the bell. And that he did. Moose smashed both men with uranage slams. He also speared Dreamer and bashed Swann’s knee with a chair.
That business with Moose will have to be settled another day. For now, we can celebrate the great performance from Dreamer on his 50th birthday. The match was paced right for him to shine in one last shot at glory. This was a performance that Dreamer fans will enjoy.
It wouldn’t be right to celebrate Dreamer without some words from his rival Raven in a funny message.
Did this bout live up to your expectations for Tommy Dreamer? What would you like to see next in his career?