Interview with Rob Van Dam





At the European Invasion Tour of the American Wrestling Rampage, Sheppard of the American Culture Scope had the pleasure to interview Rob Van Dam, a quite popular wrestler,  a former WWE superstar and ECW Original.

The interview is available in handwritten Version.


RVD with Richard and Sheppard

Handwritten Version:



American Culture Scope: You belong to one of the few wrestlers to have known several major federations, WWF, WCW and ECW, back in the 90s. Today that time is over, can you explain to the many nostalgic for that time, the major differences between the three big federations?

Rob Van Dam: There are huge differences. At some point around 1998 or 1999, somewhere around there, these federations captured the attention of wrestling fans. Now this is no longer the case because the WWE controls everything, they say that's wrestling, and you have to believe them. But we have TNA, we can hope that it will be another alternative to WWE.

The ECW has never been as important as the other two but still managed to create the event. WWE then called the WWF, has helped the ECW to be exposed, such as making appearances on Monday Night Raw in 1997. That and other things really helped us at the ECW. WCW came from the southern United States. How to wrestle in the south is very different than anywhere else, it's in the mentality, in stories, in what fans are accustomed to seeing.

WWF is originally from Connecticut, even if everyone in the business refers to it as coming from New York, they are just behind the border, but everyone spoke Atlanta for WCW and New York for WWF. For a moment the two federations have engaged in a fierce competition for supremacy. Before the competition, the WWF had no real challenger, which allowed them to have a fairly simple style, relying on characters, such as "Doink the Clown" for example, a wrestling child-oriented.

And then there was the ECW, which it was for adults. It was extreme, there was action, violence, vulgar language, nudity, alcohol, to be brief. ECW was the opposite of the WWF, "Doink the Clown" and the child style of WWF. It was really the opposite. It was then that Eric Bischof of WCW, watched ECW and says "Hmmm." It took a lot of our ideas and hired many ECW wrestlers. And he made once again the WCW looks cool. Now young adults men could watch again wrestling because it was cool again, with the NWO that broke all the rules. People loved it. They were more afraid to do this because their audience were adults. It was then that the WWF had to change its style to compete against the WCW. Both had to adapt their styles and steal ideas from one another because the ECW was the real actor.




RVD:  It was cool to wrestle for all these federations even if you doubt my favorite by far was ECW. How could I say otherwise.



ACS: It was a good federation.

RVD: Yes. 




ACS: Don’t you think today’s TNA resembles to yesterday’s ECW?

RVD: Yes they have many things in common, primarily because they are trying to be different. When you see the TNA’s six-sided ring, you see directly they try to be different. You say this is not the WWE. I think it's important. The X division, or I don’t know how they call it, the federation’s high flyers were quite influenced by ECW, Mexican and also Japanese wrestling. From what I have heard about this federation, by the fans, the style is more wrestling oriented, and the other half of the fans tell me they prefer to see me in TNA rather than in WWE; because my matches would be more free and as you said, their style is closer to ECW in terms of athletics wrestlers and public expectations.



ACS: Would you be interested in a contract with TNA?

RVD: Umm, not necessarily, but it can be. Currently I am in negotiations, I speak with TNA, Dixie Carter and Eric Bischof. At the same time I talk with WWE. But at the same time, I don’t call them, and I'm not trying to have a job with one of these federations. So I don’t know what the future holds for me, it’s quite possible that after this tour with the AWR, something could happen with one of these two federations, but honestly it’s also likely that nothing happens at all. Maybe you'll see me in the next AWR tour.



ACS: I hope.

RVD: In any case I can tell you one thing, none of the two federations want me to sign with the other. It's not a bad thing to be RVD. It's a good position.



ACS: You are known to be a big fan of comics, what is your favorite period?

RVD: Hum I think the 80s. I was young in the 80s I think I started reading comic books at the age of 7 years. My mother went shopping at the grocery store and I took the opportunity to go to the stand of comic books. I don’t know why but I have always been attracted to this place, I still love it but the comics seem to be placed a little less in height than when I was little (laughs). I remember especially Ghost Rider, which is one of my favorite and also Conan. He had a larger size than the others, "extra". Violence was amazing, I remember that Conan plunged his sword in the middle of the head of a person. It was really impressive, it looked more real than others. I was really hooked on it and I became a big fan. In the 80s I kept all the comic books I bought, and my father was worried. He wanted me to go out, that I meet people. He asked me to sell some of my comic books, and when I did, I was filled with remorse and I bought them back. I always liked comic books and I also have a project concerning comic books.



ACS:  A store ...

RVD: Oh my comic book store is closed. Nobody knew where it was. That’s why it’s closed because nobody knew it was open. Every day I meet people, even in California, who tell me "Rob one day I would go to your shop," one day "and I say," yes that’s why it’s closed. "

My comic book store was opened for 3 years. He hasn’t made money but it was really fun. Many wrestlers and celebrities came to sign autographs and fulfill a lot of children's dreams. It was cool. I opened this shop because someone gave me the idea, and I'm a big fan of this kind of store. Even on tour, I will always see comic books, even if I buy anything I always will. Sometimes I buy, I try to see what's cool, what I like. But I am not loyal to a particular title, let’s say that I am not a big fan anymore, it’s not part of my life as before.

And my comic book project, I do not draw, I write, I like to write. I have a project of four comic books that have been written, designed and already in color and when I get back home I'll decide what I'll do with it.


ACS: On your website, your fans can see RVD TV, can you tell us more of this concept? what is it?

RVD: Yes RVD TV is like a reality TV show but there are no ads and no story line to follow. We bring a camera and we record. As we do now. In this round, we will sit down with Sid vicous and X PAC and we will talk about different issues from our past. Sometimes it's just me at the gym, or at the beach or while in a preview of a movie. Me at home or on tour. I filmed a lot in that round. My favorite episode is the last day in the previous round, where we had this game on the bus because we had a five-hour drive to make. We were too tired to even sleep, read or write. We had fun going back and forth inside the bus, by preventing another. X-Pac, Sabu and myself attended, Kid Kash made comments, it was fun. I just have a camera and I make these little episodes 15 to 20 minutes. On here are hundred of episodes, and recently we have moved from a paid viewing, to a free viewing. So now you can go watch the episodes and I will add many more I hope.



ACS: This is good news.

RVD: Yes, and it's pretty fun.



ACS: What is the title that have impressed you the most during your career?

RVD: I must say the WWE world heavyweight champion because although I prefer the RVD at the ECW, it was the most important moment of my career. Everyone will remember me as a WWE champion. This title is special to me because it's a victory, I worked very hard to get there because they did not have the project to make me champion. I helped bring back the ECW, they tried to clear the hardcore side, but they never could get it done. And the fans asked for it, so they tried to exploit it, they were forced. They asked me what they should do and I answered them "bring back the ECW." So it's really a culmination for me. It was a time of significant business for me, to be at the same time, the ECW and WWE champion was important. It was special. But I had more fun with the ECW TV Title, these two years were entertaining. I really had fun. I like setting myself challenges, risks and not just be a show off. During my matches for the ECW TV title, I put myself challenges, I had the best matches of my career either with Spike Dudlyez, Little Grido or Sabu, no matter my opponent.



ACS: What was it like to learn the judgment of the original ECW?

RVD: When I heard the judgment of the ECW, I had already left, we saw that the ship was going to sink. It was not a surprisse, we were all surprised that it continued to exist. But a lot of wrestlers were not paid and there wasn’t even a phone number anymore, it was surprising how Paul had people believed that if we would stay a little longer, things would eventually improve. But staying was worse than leaving. I left ECW I think 4 shows before it stops. So we expect it all, the only sad thing was for Paul to see that so many people went to Monday Night Raw.



ACS: Speaking of Paul Heyman, can you tell us about the manager? What did he mean in your career?

RVD: Oh absolutely, of all managers and all bookers, Paul Heyman was the one who knew me best. He really took the time to understand what I liked and not just appreciate my work. He knew what I liked, what I didn’t like. It really helped me a lot, it helped me develop the character of MR Monday Night Raw. When I arrived in ECW in January 1996, I was really scared to do promos and interviews like this. He told me "go ahead and try to see." I was really shy, and he helped me and encouraged for this. He told me to believe in myself. And when he was in WWE, he was the only person I was sure he was taking care of my interests. It’s also a friend, at the same time he has no problem lying to you. This is a friend who has no problem telling you things, whether real or false, so long as you know  it, this is a good person to have on his side.

ACS: What are your impressions on this AWR European Invasion tour?

RVD: This was a very good tour. We really had a great time even though we have not slept much. We really had quite a trip, 12-hour bus, 9 hours, I can’t remember how many we got today. It's a little rough because the bus is not so comfortable. But we have very good matches at night, we do what we love, the public is always amazing. People don’t understand a word of what we say, that I noted. But they having a good time too, and of course we can see them at the end of the shows. It's always exciting to see their joy even if it still has the language barrier. They really seemed to enjoy the tour and it is reciprocal on our side. We still have I believe 2 or 3 weeks. It's really a very good tour.



ACS: Finally, can you say a few words for your french fans on CMP?

RVD: Yes of course. French fans are ... I confess that I have to change my way of seeing, in America we have these stereotypes, I don’t know if you know, but the Americans think that the French are rather rude and vulgar, and until now we were talking between wrestlers and we found it not to be true. And I'm not just talking about the fans because they are fans, but people on the street, they do not even know who we are and they are very nice, more than in some other parts of Europe. They are always friendly and nice. The people are really nice, the women are beautiful and the fans are really passionate, they give a lot of energy to this tour. I talk to fans, but they don’t understand what I say, I speak to the children and they "HUMM" they have absolutely no idea what I tell them. This is probably my favorite tour in France.



ACS: Thank you.

RVD: Goodbye.



RVD: Oh, no like in California. Do like this man.


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December 2009

American Culture Scope