Brian Gewirtz explains what it was like to try and present Rob Van Dam to the WWE Universe and the internal conflict that existed behind the scenes because of Rob Van Dam's natural state of being.
Many times in WWE babyfaces, especially when they're angry, are flooded with emotion and present a hyperbole of a pissed-off action hero. Rob Van Dam goes against all of those cliches.
Rob, inside and outside of the squared circle, believes in being chill and giving off the best vibrations possible in any given scenario. Because of this, there were some in the creative team who believed at the time that Rob simply lacked passion.
Speaking on the WWE Icons special covering Rob Van Dam's career, former WWE head writer Brian Gewirtz explained how there were two schools of thought regarding Rob Van Dam's presentation and how those two camps regularly clashed.
“He cut a promo like no one else in the company. Sometimes to the audience, it was awesome. Sometimes backstage, it was to his detriment,” Gewirtz began. “It was like, ‘Well, does he not have any passion? Does he not care?’ He would have Paul [Heyman] on his side saying, No, man. ‘He's just RVD.’”
Brian continued, “There was a certain segment backstage that believed you could be laid-back, but you can still have passion. There was another segment that said, ‘No. He has passion. It's just different than how you or I express our passion,’ those two sides clashed a lot.
“There's a certain kind of expectation of WWE babyfaces being ready and eager to go and wanting to fight for what's right. Then, there's the guy who just likes to get high and chill, basically. He seems like a regular person who just happened to be a WWE Superstar. There's just this natural effortlessness to him, this charm to him that made him extremely appealing.”
Rob Van Dam would eventually reach the mountaintop in WWE and become WWE Champion but would ultimately lose that championship in less than a month because of an arrest that occurred during his championship run.
Elsewhere in the documentary, Vince McMahon described his relationship with RV Dee and Rob Van Dam surprised Vince McMahon with a special gift on the night of his Hall of Fame induction. Learn more here.
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