Vince McMahon says there will always be a bond between himself and Rob Van Dam.
Rob Van Dam has never headlined WrestleMania and his only WWE Championship reign was cut short due to legal issues. Despite this, Rob Van Dam is one of the most popular superstars in WWE history, and throughout his many different runs with the company, he formed a lasting bond with WWE Chairman, Vince McMahon.
Rob's relationship with WWE first began in 1997 when he was “on loan” from Paul Heyman and ECW. Speaking about this brief moment in time on the new WWE Icons special covering Rob Van Dam's life and career, Vince McMahon stated that WWE had potentially been eyeing Rob Van Dam as a name to sign anyhow and this allowed ECW and WWE to continue their working relationship.
“At that time no one knew that WWE was subsidizing ECW to a certain extent and even though it wasn't a written agreement or anything, Paul [Heyman] would loan us or allow us to take some of his talent.
“So, we had our eye on RVD. We wanted to bring him over anyhow from ECW. He was able to take some of the wild west ECW things and be able to incorporate that in more of a WWE logical form. So his style and his look [were] very different from anything we had and he was able to stand out because of that.”
Even though the initial relationship was short-lived, Rob would eventually become a WWE Superstar via the “InVasion” angle in 2001. Becoming one of the very few standouts to make the jump from either ECW or WCW, Vince McMahon commended Rob Van Dam's ability to grow as a performer during this turbulent time.
“Rob was able to grow. He came from ECW, adapted his style, but then continued to evolve. Very few people can do that but Rob was one of them,” beamed Vince, who would later credit Rob Van Dam as a smart individual for his idea for the initial ECW One Night Stand event.
“Rob is a smart man and he has really good ideas. Rob suggested let's do a reunion of sorts and we did, and it was... It was very interesting.”
Eventually, after several runs with the Intercontinental Championship and Tag Team Championships, Rob Van Dam would capture money in the bank in 2006. Vince McMahon states that this was the company completely giving the audience what they wanted as the audience stood by Rob Van Dam.
“Rob captured the imagination of people that had never seen that style before,” said Vince. “Rob's charisma began to grow and he became more confident in the ring and we're confident in his promos. Timing is everything, so to speak. It's one of those things where everybody reads the tea leaves and wonders what the audience wants and I think they wanted [RVD to win Money in the Bank] and that's what they got.”
Rob Van Dam would eventually capture the WWE Championship and be given the inaugural WWE ECW Championship during the week of One Night Stand 2006. However, both championship reigns would last less than a month as Rob Van Dam was arrested for possession of marijuana at the start of July, leading to him immediately losing the championships and being suspended for 30 days.
Speaking of this incident, Vince McMahon openly stated how disappointed he was in Rob and how he thought Rob was smarter than to allow this to happen to him.
“It was so disappointing, you know?” Vince began. “I was personally upset over Rob's actions because I thought he was above that. Obviously, when something like that happens, you have to be concerned with how the company looks and Rob was not champion for much longer.”
Eventually, after a few more runs with a company, Rob Van Dam would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2021. Vince McMahon proclaimed how proud he was to be able to see Rob have this moment, knowing just how much the audience has always appreciated RVD.
“There are very few Rob Van Dams, there's only one. People love Rob. To this day, they love his style and the way he talked and the way he thought, and some people love him for his personal habits, as well, but he is one of a kind. So we welcome Rob back and we are really privileged to put him in the Hall of Fame this year.”
The documentary also showed Rob Van Dam gifting Vince McMahon some RVD CBD rolling papers to which Vince let out a laugh only comparable to Ted DiBiase’s notorious “Million Dollar Man cackle.”
RVD really gave Vince McMahon rolling papers. Build him his own Hall of Fame immediately pic.twitter.com/t9k5fuPzSW— Wrestling Travel (@WrestlingTravel) May 16, 2021
“There's always been a bond between Rob and myself. It's just the way you feel about someone and you know they feel the same way. It's just there. We've always had that.”
Throughout nearly a quarter of a century, RVD and WWE have had a relationship full of ups and downs but through everything, Vince McMahon and Rob Van Dam remained true to themselves and now hold a bond that has stood the test of time because of their convictions.
"As he grew physically, his style grew, it all grew. His personality started to grow and the person on the inside started coming out and the person on the inside is a wonderful human being who loves to have fun and you just want to wrap your arms around him."
Recently, Rob Van Dam stated that he would like to see Sabu one day be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Learn more about that here.
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