Former WWE star says depression left him considering committing murder-suicide at WrestleMania 17

Depression is a topic that is not nearly talked about enough, especially in overtly masculine sports like professional wrestling.

Former WWE and ECW star Tommy Dreamer is the latest athlete to open up about his struggles with depression, as he shared a harrowing story on his House of Hardcore podcast.

Although the title of the article gives away the key part, the story is not for the faint of heart.

Dreamer’s story begins at the turn of the century when the ECW went out of business. Dreamer felt slighted by head ECW booker Paul Heyman, who previously begged Dreamer to not leave the company, lest it fold. But when Heyman later left for the WWE, Dreamer felt screwed out of an opportunity, leaving him spiraling into a depression.

Heyman eventually offered Dreamer a spot at Wrestlemania 17 but then reneged on the deal. That enraged Dreamer and left him wanting revenge.

Related: 10 highest-paid WWE stars in 2018

10 highest-paid WWE stars in 2018
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10 highest-paid WWE stars in 2018

10. Kevin Owens — $2 million (£1.43 million). This is Kevin Owens' first ever appearance on the Forbes list of top-earning WWE stars, but the 33-year-old's activity in the ring and reign as Universal Champion helped him crack the top 10 in 2018.

Source: Forbes.

(Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images)

9. Dean Ambrose — $2.2 million (£1.57 million). Dean Ambrose is one of the most charismatic wrestlers. He is also one of the busiest WWE athletes and was the second most active wrestler last year.

Source: Forbes.

(Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

8. The Undertaker — $2.5 million (£1.79 million). The Undertaker has been around for almost three decades and is beloved for his spine-tingling ring entrances. He is a smash hit with WWE fans, which means he hardly has to wrestle to feature in the top 10 as his merchandise sales still earn him a pretty penny.

Source: Forbes.

(Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images)

7. Seth Rollins — $2.7 million (£1.93 million). Seth Rollins is a staple of WWE main events and overcame knee injuries to return to the big matches last year. Forbes says Rollins' popularity with fans means he gets a good salary from merchandise sales.

Source: Forbes.

(Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images)

6. Randy Orton — $2.9 million (£2.07 million). Sports entertainment is clearly in the family blood as Randy Orton is a third generation professional wrestler. A nine-time WWE champion, Orton has one of the most iconic in-ring poses and made 11 pay-per-view appearances in 2017.

Source: Forbes.

(Photo by Andrew Toth/FilmMagic)

5. Triple H — $3.2 million (£2.29 million). Triple H now wrestles less frequently than he has in previous years, but the 48-year-old, an executive vice president since 2013, receives a base wrestling salary as well as a $1.7 million executive salary, including bonuses and stock awards.

Source: Forbes.

(Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)

4. AJ Styles — $3.5 million (£2.5 million). AJ Styles has featured for many professional wrestling brands like Ring of Honor, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, and New Japan Pro-Wrestling. He moved to WWE in 2016, worked more WWE dates than any other wrestler in 2017, and is the current WWE champion in his second reign.

Source: Forbes.

(Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images)

3. Roman Reigns — $4.3 million (£3.08 million). Roman Reigns is one of the biggest names in WWE and this alone means he polarises fans. Some loathe him, some love him, and others love to loathe him. Regardless, he has headlined four WrestleMania events in a row — an impressive feat.

Source: Forbes.

(Photo by Ron ElkmanSports Imagery/Getty Images)

2. Brock Lesnar — $6.5 million (£4.65 million). After a stint in UFC where he became world heavyweight champion, Brock Lesnar returned to WWE in 2012. Lesnar is a five-time WWE world champion and has headlined some of the biggest events WWE has staged, including the most recent — WrestleMania 34.

Source: Forbes.

(Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images)

1. John Cena — $10 million (£7.15 million). A 16-time world champion with WWE, Cena has followed The Rock to Hollywood. He still competes in the Raw and SmackDown brands for WWE, but has featured in movies like 'The Marine,' 'Trainwreck,' and 'Ferdinand.'

Source: Forbes.

(Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)


“I remember I did a show there, and I saw a sign that said, ‘Guns Welcome,’ and I was in Houston. I did an indie show, and I said, ‘What is this?’ I’m from New York, what do you mean, ‘Guns welcome?’ and they said, ‘Oh you are allowed to bring a firearm into the venue.’ I was across the street from the Astrodome. When I tell you it resonated in my head so, so much. That I’ll tell you what I wanted to do. It’s sick that I think this. At Wrestlemania, I was gonna hop the rail and I was gonna whack Paul E. in the back of the head right at the announce table, then I was gonna whack myself. The ultimate martyr, I was gonna hit my pose crack, boom, pull the trigger. Because I was that insane. Don’t know if I would have went through with it, but that’s what I was thinking about everyday. I was like, ‘I will go down in history.’ Pop, boom. First they’d think it as an angle until I shot him. I was so severely depressed and so mental with rage, I needed help.”

Fortunately for everyone involved, Dreamer received a call from wrestling commentator Jim Ross, who calmed the then-29-year-old wrestler. He assured Dreamer that they were still thinking of him and wanted to keep him involved.

“Think of how stupid I would have been, how dumb and how messed up my thoughts would have been if they would have come to fruition. I am so happy I didn’t do it, I am so happy that I did get that phone call, from someone who was a stranger, I barely knew the guy. There was another day, there has been a lot of other days.”

Not only did Dreamer keep from harming himself and others, but he appeared in the main card of a Wrestlemania six years later, winning as a part of the ECW Origins team. To this day, he continues to be involved with the sport on Major League Wrestling and as a commentator.


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