After years of a very proud hardcore style in the ring, Rob Van Dam is now very open about his battles with concussions. Once a believer and not putting his hand up in defense of a steel chair shot to the head, Rob credit Vince McMahon for being the first to tell him to protect himself.
Speaking to Stone Cold Steve Austin on Austin's podcast, Rob recalls Vince McMahon's early interaction with him regarding the proper way to take a chair shot, with Rob crediting his training and his stubbornness as factors that played into him not wanting to defend himself against what used to be a strong staple of professional wrestling in the late 90s and early 2000s.
“I got trained to really believe in that, really believe in the moment and so I'd like to think that's reflected in my work. So, that's part of it. I still believe in what I'm doing when I'm out there. That's what it is. I wouldn't recommend anyone else do that,” Rob admitted.
Continuing on, Rob Van Dam would recall very stern advice from Vince McMahon with Vince even going so far as to refer to himself as a father figure in Rob's life in order to allowed Van Dam to connect with the seriousness of the situation at hand.
He continued, “By the way, when I first got to WWE, one time, I was coming through gorilla and Vince McMahon said, 'when you take those chair shots, you put your hands up.' And I was like, 'no, that's cool. That's everybody else, Vince.' He said, 'no, you listen to me. You put your hands up.' I go, 'but I do this all the time.' And this is the only time we ever had any this kind of [interaction] anything remotely like this. He goes, 'now, listen, I'm your father. I'm telling you. Put your hands up. And then it finally got through. I was like, 'whoa! Alright, He's the boss. He's paying me to put my hands up. I think I can do that.' And that was probably after I'd been there and went through the [WWE Hardcore Championship] era, ECW era. Yeah, I might have been there a minute. I don't know. But I'm just saying, he did say that, Vince, in his defense, like right off the bat. And I was stubborn. But I think it did affect me, though. I don't know if I did every time afterward, but I remember, you know, thinking I probably should.”
Nowadays, Rob is a part of the IMPACT Wrestling roster, playing a villain on television for the first time in decades alongside real-life girlfriend, Katie Forbes.
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