Ranking Rob Van Dam's 10 Greatest Moments in WWE
RVD has not competed full-time for WWE in six years, and will be making his return at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view event on July 14 from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. As we found out on Monday Night Raw, RVD will be one of seven competitors in the Money in the Bank ladder match.
As we all anticipate the return of a man who has held 16 different championships in WWE. With that, here are the top 10 moments in Rob Van Dam's WWE career.
10. Defeating William Regal at WrestleMania X8
RVD kicked off WrestleMania X8 in Toronto by winning the intercontinental title from William Regal.
Regal tried to use the brass knuckles that had brought him many victories at the time, but Van Dam thwarted his efforts and hit the Five-Star Frog Splash to get the night started off with an exciting moment for the crowd.
9. Unifying the Intercontinental and Hardcore Titles
On the August 26, 2002 edition of Monday Night Raw, a unification match was set up between the intercontinental champion Rob Van Dam and Tommy Dreamer, holder of the hardcore title.
These two men had a lot of history due to their time in ECW together and made for a very hard-fought match. RVD would go on to win the match, and the hardcore title would be absorbed and never recognized again as an active championship.
This would not be the last title RVD would unify.
8. Winning Tag Team Titles with Kane
RVD also won the tag team titles with Booker T and Rey Mysterio, but it was his partnership with Kane that produced his first tag team title.
The two men battled teams such as Lance Storm and William Regal, La Resistance and the Dudley Boyz. They even got a win over the legendary Legion of Doom.
La Resistance would eventually take the belts from the duo, which led to a feud between Van Dam and Kane.
7. Going Coast to Coast on Kane
This is the kind of stuff that has made Rob Van Dam such a favorite among wrestling fans. RVD performed this maneuver long before Shane McMahon ever did, referring to it as the Van-Terminator.
In this match from Monday Night Raw in 2002, RVD has Jeff Hardy hold a steel chair up in front of Kane before he jumps from one turnbuckle to another, kicking the chair in Kane's face.
The crowd reaction alone puts this on the list.
6. Unifying Intercontinental and European Titles
Just about a month prior to successfully unifying his intercontinental title and the hardcore title, RVD was given the chance to do the same with Jeff Hardy's European title.
WWE began using the European championship in February 1997. Among the Superstars who held the title were British Bulldog, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Owen Hart, Eddie Guerrero and Chris Jericho.
On July 22, 2002, RVD became the man to help retire it as he outlasted Hardy in a thrilling ladder match. Much like the Hardcore title, it has not been used since that fateful night in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
5. Successfully Defending Tag Team Titles at WrestleMania 20
To that point, WrestleMania 20 was one of the biggest shows in WWE history. Though it probably wasn't the match Rob Van Dam and Booker T wanted to compete in, they did leave victorious and with their tag team titles still intact.
RVD and Booker T won a fatal four-way match that also involved the Dudley Boyz, La Resistance and the team of Mark Jindrak and Garrison Cade. The match ended when the champions used their skills together to put away Rob Conway, as you can see in the final moments of this match.
4. 8-Man Tag Team Match at WrestleMania 23
This was a moment RVD shared with some of his best friends in the business and a moment all four men will never forget.
At WrestleMania 23 in Detroit, in front of over 80,000 WWE fans, the ECW Originals were given their chance to shine. RVD teamed up with Sabu, Sandman and Tommy Dreamer to take on Elijah Burke, Kevin Thorn, Marcus Cor Von and Matt Striker, collectively known as the New Breed.
Though RVD had his moments at WrestleMania before, it was the first and only time the other three men would appear on the grandest stage. Fittingly, RVD secured the win for his team after landing the Five-Star Frog Splash on Striker.
3. Winning Money in the Bank
WrestleMania 22 was the site for the second Money in the Bank ladder match. After the wild success of the first one the year before, fans were on the edge of their seat for this one.
RVD would be surrounded by Superstars filled with talent and strength, and all six men had their chances to win. In the end, Van Dam was able to overcome the power of Bobby Lashley, the craftiness of Finlay, the never-say-die attitude of Matt Hardy, the sheer athleticism of Shelton Benjamin and an incredibly courageous effort by the ageless Ric Flair.
RVD's win in WWE's signature ladder match not only solidified his mastery of the ladder match, but also guaranteed him a shot at one of the major championships.
2. Defeating Jeff Hardy at Invasion in 2001
Rob Van Dam made his WWE debut in 2001 during the famous invasion angle. There was even a pay-per-view event given the name Invasion.
RVD and Jeff Hardy created a lot of memories for WWE fans during their time together in the company and that all started on July 21, 2001 in Cleveland, Ohio as the two put on an incredible match for the hardcore title.
Both men pulled out all of the stops in this match, going all out to entertain in what was definitely the best match that night. In the end, RVD reigned supreme after avoiding Hardy's Swanton Bomb and responding with the Five-Star Frog Splash.
1. Defeating John Cena to Become WWE Champion
This was an easy choice for No. 1, as it is one of the best memories in recent WWE memory.
RVD had decided to cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase which he won at WrestleMania 22 to challenge John Cena for the WWE title at ECW One Night Stand in 2006. After the success of the One Night Stand event from the previous year, this match needed to deliver.
The stage was set. RVD was in front of the old ECW faithful inside the Hammerstein Ballroom. Cena came in as the hated enemy, as a sign that read "If Cena wins we riot" hung prominently in the stands.
The crowd made this match what it was, giving it a feel that you are rarely privileged enough to be a part of. With interference from Edge and Paul Heyman lending his hand as a referee in the end, RVD defeated Cena to win the WWE title, setting off a frenzied response.
This was not only RVD's most memorable moment, it ranks up there with the best in WWE history.