On the latest episode of his own House of Hardcore podcast, longtime wrestler Tommy Dreamer revealed that he been infected with COVID-19. Dreamer, feeling a responsibility to explain how this effected him, recounted every single detail of his ordeal. In the Impact creative member’s own words, the experience has left him sicker than he had ever been in his life.
“Long story short, I went to Alaska (to work WrestlePro) and I was exposed on that Friday,” Dreamer said. “To get into Alaska you get COVID tested. The company I went for did everything, everyone got tested. Everyone had tested negative, which is awesome, and kudos to WrestlePro and Kevin Matthews for testing all his talent. They were there though about a week before I came in, and somewhere along the line someone tested positive.”
Dreamer said the wrestler in question immediately went home but by that point exposure had already occurred. On top of that, a fan at one of these shows had also come down with COVID, making the scenario even riskier. Dreamer revealed he took the booking due to financial reasons and wanting to work in Alaska, as well as the moment he realized it was a mistake.
“I’ve wrestled for thirty one years, never got to Alaska, wanted to go to Alaska,” Dreamer said. “Things were awesome, I can’t speak higher of the promotion and my experience there, except for the fact that I got deathly ill. But that’s not the promotion’s fault. As soon as I stepped into the ring to sign autographs, I looked around the crowd and there were so many people not wearing masks. And I said to myself ‘I made the wrong decision.’
“I did it for selfish reasons. Because I wanted to check Alaska off my bucket list to say I wrestled in every state. And financial reasons. There was a good financial deal for me. But in the long term I think it’s going to have long term effects on my health.”
Dreamer then went into detail on how he himself was exposed. He believes it wasn’t from the initial wrestler that tested positive, but another worker who shared a ring with said performer.
“The wrestler who had tested positive, I drove in the card back from the show that night, about thirty nights, with the person he wrestled,” Dreamer said. “Both of us felt fine. The next morning I woke up with a headache, an annoying headache. I took some aspirin and once the news broke about all the stuff, we all kind of tried to social distance but when you’re sharing a locker room and you’re wrestling people, this stuff is going to happen.”
“The next day the person who drove me back to the hotel, he started not feeling well. Weirdly his daughter wasn’t feeling the best either, so they left. They went back, he tested positive, his daughter tested negative. Me I just had a lingering headache all day. If you ever had one of those Five Hour Energy drinks, you chug that and get a caffeine headache, it felt like that times a hundred. The aspirin took care of it.”
The aspirin helped and Dreamer was able to work a match Saturday and fly home with no problem. It was only when he got back did the ramifications of the situation truly hit.
“I had a very good match that Saturday,” Dreamer said. “On Saturday night I flew home, I felt fine. I got home Sunday late, I couldn’t get tested because of all the places were closed. I stayed away from my family. I went and got tested Monday morning, I tested negative. Cool. And now reports are coming in that ‘hey, this person tested positive.’ I know twelve people who were on that tour that tested positive. And I guess myself would be thirteen.”
It was soon after the Dreamer would start feeling the effects of the virus. What followed would be a harrowing experience that, twenty four days later, still hasn’t entirely let up for the former ECW Champion.
“At about five o’clock I started not feeling right,” Dreamer said. “I just had to lay down. And then the sickness kicked in. When I talk about pain in my head, it was unbearable. I’m pretty tough, I’ve had plenty of concussions, I’ve wrestled through concussions. It felt like the time I got jumped and hit three times with brass knuckles, like I had a massive concussion. This nonstop throbbing in my head, I had it for seventeen days.
“Then came the fevers. My fevers were going up to 102, 102.3, 102.4 and I was like ‘I can’t deal.’ So I had that for about seven days. The chills. The chills were at one point, I remember, having four winter blankets on me and I felt like I was outside, naked in the snow. Shivering uncontrollably. That was for about four days. Sweats. I would be freezing for hours, like two or three hours, and then here come the sweats.”
Dreamer would describe the sweats as so strong that it soaked his sheets as if he had just laid on them coming out of the shower. He also revealed he suffered severe chest pains, and a combination of that and everything else at one point had him fearing for his life.
“There was one day, I think it was Friday, I was so sick I had chills and I was sweating,” Dreamer recalled. “And I just basically said, I said a prayer to God. I thought that was it, I thought it was over for me because I had never been so sick. And I did say ‘hey I lived a great life, I just don’t want this for my family. I don’t want to die like this, but if I do die I just don’t want people to go through this.
“I’ve had guns to my head. I’ve had a gun to my head and they pulled the trigger and it misfired, jammed, and then thankfully a cop came. I’ve been in riots, I’ve faced situations where you think you’re going to die. I’ve hit a deer; we’ve all been in those situations where you’re going to be in car accidents, freaky plane rides. And it’s one of those where you come to terms of what’s going on. My saddest part is I did this to myself. I was a healthy person, and I became a non healthy person.”
Among other effects Dreamer has suffered is incredible pain in his arm and hips, serious pain in his leg that has led to spider veins and a blue mark that has him scared its a blood clot or blown vein, fatigue and other ailments. At one point Dreamer, who has continued to appear on Busted Open Radio during this time, described being zoned out during commercials for the show.
But for Dreamer, the worst part is the effect this has had on his family. Dreamer has twin daughters with former ECW performer Beulah McGillicutty and all three have been affected by the virus, either from getting it or being forced to isolate because of it.
“I infected Beulah and I infected my daughter,” Dreamer said. “My daughter woke up one day and she had no taste or smell. As any parent would know it bothered the hell out of me because I gave that for her. And now she’s sick. She had a bad cough. I never had the cough.
“And the other part was Beulah. Beulah got very, very ill. It settled in her lungs, she had a horrible cough, her cough sounds like she smoked a carton of cigarettes’ a day. She never smoked a cigarettes or anything else in her life. Today, when I’m recording this, is her first day of feeling okay where her cough is gone. My daughter is two days removed. My poor other daughter, who felt nothing, had to quarantine and basically live in her room.”
Dreamer made it clear how tough this had been on his daughters and on him for infecting one and isolating the other from her family due to the virus. He had a message for other parents out there in the event they find themselves in similar situations.
“My daughters literally went from their sweet sixteen to a complete year not being around friends and doing a lot of things people my age or younger have experienced,” Dreamer said. “You want to check on your kids, check on their mental health if they quarantine and have to go through all of this. It’s very hard.
“Think about how hard, when you were sixteen or seventeen and then add schooling and COVID all that stuff on top of that. It’s rough. So you should have a more open dialog with your kids or being more understanding when they get super moody. The whole losing the taste and smell thing is hard. I think it lasted for her ten days.”
Dreamer, who had been on the fence about getting the vaccine, stated that now he will be getting vaccinated and will not work another event unless it’s outdoors, his opponent is fully vaccinated or has tested negative. He hopes his story will help others be no responsible.
“I don’t want anyone to go through this,” said Dreamer. “I know we’ve all lost people and I’m just trying to make it more aware. I want people to realize it only takes on person to spread this and it isn’t going to go away. And I know the world is going to be opening up so I would say I guess we have to get vaccinated, but you also have to be responsible. Promoters have to be responsible.
“For those non believers, I’m trying to tell you this s--t exists and it’s affected someone that you’ve watched on television, liked him, hated him, whatever. I’m giving you a firsthand account. For wrestlers, you have to be more responsible. If you’re wrestling every Monday, Tuesday or Friday you need to be more responsible. You have a ton of time in your life to party. This whole thing about is wrestling, yes, it’s to have fun but it’s to make as much money as possible because most of it is short term. Be that responsible person so you don’t get hit with COVID.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit House of Hardcore podcast and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription