Whether or not it excited you as a fan, Tommy Dreamer's return to WWE last night when he (and a trash can full of weapons) arrived to assist his "family", The Dudley Boyz, against Bray Wyatt's clan was noteworthy.
In the midst of ongoing debate between Daniel Bryan & his doctors against Vince McMahon & the company's about whether or not Bryan will be cleared to return to WWE after the latest in a string of concussions this past Spring, the Innovator of Violence is a curious choice for nostalgia pop.
That's because Dreamer has been very open about his own concussion history. As he told Steve Austin on a podcast last July, the ECW legend believes he's had "probably had anywhere from 13 to 16 concussions".
In discussing his history of hardcore matches dating from the 1990s to today in his House of Hardcore promotion, Tommy describes his brain health in scary terms:
I have a few regrets. My one regret is at times my memory... I can remember anything about wrestling, anything, but before... I don't know what year I got married. I would have to call my wife and say 'what year did we get married?' Or my wife will say 'you already asked me that' and I'll be like 'really?' Or, the other day I came home from wrestling, I pulled my bags out, I went -- it was about 3 o'clock in the morning -- I got home and the next morning my wife comes up and goes 'are you okay?' I said 'yeah.' She goes 'did you get hit in your head or anything?' I said 'no, why?' And when she first comes into your room and goes 'can I talk to you' you're like 'oh god, what did I do now, am I in trouble?' And she's like 'well, I went outside to throw out the garbage and you left your trunk open and it rained. Why didn't you close your trunk?' I said 'I can't tell you that. I don't know why.' Or I've left the refrigerator door open. Now I have an alarm on my refrigerator door that goes off if it's open. That scares me. Or even with my daughter, 'how was school, blah blah blah,' and then I'll ask them something and 'dad, you already asked me that.'
That's shockingly similar to stories that Mick Foley tells, and he's a guy who you'd never expect to see taking sideslams from Luke Harper in 2015 the way Dreamer was last night.
I'm not a doctor or medically trained in any way, and what lay-knowledge I have of concussions and head trauma tells me that every individual situation is different. Tommy Dreamer has not been booked into a tables match for the upcoming TLC pay-per-view (PPV), and PWInsider is reporting that they don't believe he's even signed a deal with WWE for anything beyond this week (he's scheduled for tonight's SmackDown taping in Hershey, PA).
So it's entirely possible that he was cleared by the same doctors who are lobbying against Bryan wrestling, and that we'll never see him take another bump in a WWE ring after the November 30 Raw.
But on a night when commercials aired throughout your own show for a movie called Concussion, which features your Medical Director, Dr. Joseph Maroon, as an antagonist working against the film's lead character's efforts to shed light on the chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) issue in the National Football League, bringing Tommy in to bolster a mid-card feud seems like a high-risk, low-reward proposition.