Current TNA X Division Champion and former ECW and WWE Champion Rob Van Dam is one of the most decorated stars in wrestling history, but his career is far from over.
RVD is still just trying to show off.
The boys of Ring Rust Radio sat down for an exclusive interview with Van Dam and talked about everything from his wrestling career to returning to Philadelphia to thinking about retirement.
With Impact! Wrestling traveling to the City of Brotherly Love on January 5 for a stop at the Tower Theater, the multi-time world champion was ready to discuss everything with RRR, including how the setting of a show can make the atmosphere completely different.
The ECW legend started as an independent wrestler, and RVD describes what it is that makes the smaller venues so unique, especially when a company like TNA puts on a house show there:
You said it right there when you said ‘intimacy’; that connection that we have with the fans is irreplaceable. Back in the ECW days, the fans were part of the show, they were a big part of the show, and it was our connection, and relating to them and them relating to us, that made the whole show.
The best part of the ECW shows back in the 90s, or even Indy wrestling events now, is just how personal the venue feels and how close you are to the action; it’s great to see that RVD still shares that same enthusiasm for the smaller crowds.
It appears you can take the wrestler out of the Indy scene, but you can’t take the Indy scene out of the wrestler.
Now that Van Dam is in the latter stages of his career, there have been wholesale changes to the kind of competition he is squaring off against on a weekly basis. While there was a time when RVD won gold in every major federation (TNA, WWE and ECW), his role is much different now.
Van Dam is showing off to get people over.
When asked how he feels about being the X Division champion and if he misses the World Heavyweight title chase, the always honest RVD shared his thoughts:
Well, I’m having fun as the X Division champion right now. I do find myself wrestling a lot of the younger, newer guys; guys that I haven’t been wrestling all over the world for many years. I do notice a big difference in the chemistry, but I accept my position. These guys modeled themselves after me and watched me stand out, and they wanted to stand out that way; that’s what the X Division is about. Once I had someone else explain that to me besides me just assuming that’s what it was, I really felt more obligated to take control.
While Van Dam has found the niche that he is comfortable with in TNA, the fact that he is 42 years old proves that the end of the wrestling line is coming sooner rather than later for the veteran.
As always, the candid RVD isn’t worried about retiring, but he does know who he'd like to face in the ideal retirement match already:
I haven’t given this question any thought, but my initial reaction when you asked me was Sabu. I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather wrestle than Sabu, and if I was in that predicament where it was my last match, Sabu would probably same the same thing.
It’s uncertain how much time Van Dam has left in the wrestling business—judging from his incredible work ethic and workout regimen, though, there are likely plenty of good years in the tank still—but the impact he made on the sport is undeniable.
The man has dominated the biggest companies in the world and has reached greatness in each.
RVD and the character he portrays ooze confidence, but it is his ability to back it up in the ring with some of the most daring and unique moves that have made him a legend and continue to make him one of the biggest draws in the sport.
Whether you’re a hardcore wrestling nut or just a casual fan, it’s easy to see why RVD is one of the greatest stars to ever grace the business.
Check back for more on the World Wrestling Entertainment as it comes, and visit Bleacher Report’s wrestling page to get your fill of WWE/TNA. For more wrestling talk, listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot topics you just can’t miss (some language NSFW).
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