Legends of Wrestling: Rob Van Dam
Rob Van Dam – Mr. Monday Night – Mr. Pay Per View – The Whole F’N Show – was a breakout star in the hardcore promotion ECW… Extreme Championship Wrestling. He, along with the “Homicidal, Suicidal, Genocidal, Death-Defying” Sabu, held the ECW Tag Team Championships, but it was Rob Van Dam’s 23 month reign ECW Television Champion that set him above all the rest. His greatest rival may have been Jerry Lynn, who was dubbed by many as the “The New F’N Show.” Unfortunately, the promotion went out of business before RVD had the opportunity to become the ECW Champion.
RVD arrived in the WWF in 2001 when several former ECW and WCW competitors incomprehensibly banded together to form an anti-WWF “Alliance.” As bizarre as the circumstances were, RVD was instantly embraced by fans for his brazen personality and world class athleticism, eclipsing the popularity of more well known superstars. RVD won the WWF Hardcore Championship three times that year, battling the likes of Jeff Hardy, Chris Jericho, and The Undertaker. After the misbegotten invasion came to a merciful end, RVD won his first of six Intercontinental Championships from William Regal at WrestleMania XVIII in Toronto. The WWF was then re-branded as the WWE. RVD was drafted to Monday Night RAW and contended with Eddie Guerrero for not only the Intercontinental Championship, but to also see who the true master of the “frog splash” was.
Additionally, RVD retired the WWE European and Hardcore Championships during the transitional period. RVD was defeated by Brock Lesnar in the finals of the 2002 King of the Ring tournament and, at the time, was considered one the greatest superstars to have never won any world championships. It seemed like that injustice would finally be rectified at Unforgiven 2002 when he challenged Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship, but “Nature Boy” Ric Flair interfered in that match and cost RVD his long awaited opportunity.
RVD formed an odd couple tag team in 2003 with the “Big Red Monster” Kane. These two raised the ire of RAW General Manager, Eric Bischoff, and were actually bumped from the WrestleMania XIX card in Seattle to make room for the Miller Light “Catfight Girls.” Though RVD and Kane eventually won the WWE Tag Team Championships, fending off many of Eric Bischoff’s hand picked challengers along the way, they never bonded and Kane turned on his partner, defeating RVD in a “No Holds Barred” Match at SummerSlam 2003.
RVD successfully defended the Intercontinental Championship against challengers such as Chris Jericho and Christian before being defeated by Evolution’s Randy Orton at Armageddon 2003. RVD then formed another partnership in 2004 with Booker T and together they defeated Evolution members Ric Flair and Batista for the tag team titles. After their successful title defense in a Fatal 4-Way at WrestleMania XX in Madison Square Garden, RVD and Booker T were drafted to SmackDown!, but their partnership did not carry over. RVD formed yet another team, this time with Rey Mysterio, and they too won tag team gold. The RVD / Rey Mysterio combo came to an abrupt end when a severe knee injury sidelined RVD for most of 2005. He made a surprise return at ECW One Night Stand and vowed to make a significant impact when he returned to the ring fulltime.
RVD fulfilled that promise in 2006, once again as a member of the RAW roster, by winning the “Money in the Bank” Ladder Match at WrestleMania XXII in Chicago. He cashed in his guaranteed title shot at ECW One Night Stand II. It was the crowning moment of his hard fought career, defeating John Cena for the WWE Championship and being awarded the ECW Championship by Paul Heyman. The man who had been branded as the greatest superstar to have never won a world championship now held two at the same time. RVD lost the WWE Championship to Edge on RAW in a Triple Threat Match which also involved John Cena, then lost the ECW Championship to The Big Show after surprisingly being double crossed by Paul Heyman. RVD never received a one-on-one rematch for either title. In 2007, RVD banded together with fellow ECW Originals and they were victorious in an 8-Man Tag Match at WrestleMania XXIII in Detroit with RVD scoring the winning pinfall. It was the final PPV victory of RVD’s WWE career for several years as he allowed his contract to expire in the spring of that year, but he was a surprise entrant in the 2009 Royal Rumble Match.
RVD signed with the “boutique” TNA Wrestling in 2010. It wasn’t too long before he won the TNA World Heavyweight Championship from “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles. He was then forced to vacate the title after being injured by “The Monster” Abyss. RVD never regained the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, but did have a reign as the TNA X-Division Champion before leaving the company in 2012. He then returned to WWE at Money in the Bank 2013. RVD defeated United States Championship Dean Ambrose at SummerSlam, but it was via a DQ, so the title could not change hands. Rob Van Dam is currently setting his sights on Alberto Del Rio and the World Heavyweight Championship.
Posted on August 27, 2013, in Pro Wrestling, TNA, WWF/WWE and tagged Abyss, AJ Styles, Alberto Del Rio, Batista, Booker T, Brock Lesnar, Chris Jericho, Christian, Dean Ambrose, ECW, Eddie Guerrero, Edge, Eric Bischoff, Evolution, Jeff Hardy, Jerry Lynn, John Cena, Kane, Paul Heyman, Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, Ric Flair, Rob Van Dam, Sabu, The Big Show, The Shield, The Undertaker, TNA Wrestling, Triple H, William Regal, WWE, WWF. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.