Ranking the Best Moments of Every Member of 2020, 2021 WWE Hall of Fame Class

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistApril 6, 2021

Ranking the Best Moments of Every Member of 2020, 2021 WWE Hall of Fame Class

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    Credit: WWE.com

    WWE will honor its legends Tuesday night with a special presentation of its 2020 and 2021 Hall of Fame classes, featuring the likes of Rob Van Dam, Kane, John Bradshaw Layfield, The British Bulldog and the New World Order.

    Members of the latest star-studded intake will take their place among the icons of the sport, but before they do, relive some of the epic matches and moments that have helped define their careers.

'British Bulldog' Davey Boy Smith

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    The long-overdue induction of "The British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith brings a happy ending to his story, almost 19 years after his death at just 39 years of age.

    One of the most recognizable stars of Vince McMahon's WWE in the 1980s and '90s, one can only imagine what he would have accomplished had he not come and gone from the company as often as he did.

    Smith leaves behind a legacy of epic matches, an iconic character, and he remains one of the most beloved Superstars of his era, thanks to matches such as these all-time greats:


    1. SummerSlam 1992: vs. Bret Hart for the Intercontinental Championship

    The greatest match, and most monumental victory of his career, the intercontinental title match against Bret Hart at Wembley Stadium in London represents Bulldog at his peak.

    The most popular star at the event due to his nationality, the Englishman entered the match the overwhelming favorite to dethrone The Hitman.

    And he did. On that night, he outwrestled the best in the business, countering a Sunset Flip into a pinning combination to claim the title. The five-star classic may have been a testament to Hart's excellence between the ropes, but Bulldog hung with his brother-in-law to prove his value as a singles star.

    To this day, the match itself and the emotional victory reflect the best of the SummerSlam pay-per-view and WWE as a whole.


    2. Raw, March 3, 1997: vs. Owen Hart for the European Championship

    Smith always did his best work with his family members, further evidenced by his performance against Owen Hart in the finals of the European Championship Tournament in 1997 in Berlin.

    The classic encounter between brothers-in-law culminated with Bulldog etching his name in the history books by becoming the first Superstar to capture the newly created championship.

    While the consistency of the title's booking was anything but stellar, the match sure was as the British fighter again proved his ability to match move-for-move, hold-for-hold with the best in the business.

    It was another magical moment in front of European fans for a Superstar they had adopted as their own and a landmark one for a wrestler who had more than earned the feat.


    3. WrestleMania 2: vs. The Dream Team for the WWE Tag Team Championship

    When Smith and tag team partner Dynamite Kid left Stampede Wrestling for the bright lights of WWE, it was only a matter of time before management recognized their greatness and booked them for a title run.

    That run began at WrestleMania 2 when Bulldog willed his team to victory over Greg "The Hammer" Valentine and Brutus Beefcake despite an injury to Kid. The popular tandem defeated the defending champions, while celebrity guest Ozzy Osbourne and Captain Lou Albano watched from ringside.

    The triumph put the Bulldogs on the map, helping to make them household names during the much-heralded Rock 'n' Wrestling Era. It also marked the first of many championship victories for Bulldog, many of which would come without Kid by his side, making this one all the more special.

Jushin 'Thunder' Liger

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    To American fans, Jushin "Thunder" Liger is a huge star from Japan best known for his cameo appearances in the United States. He was never a consistent presence on any promotion's TV programming in the U.S., but when he was, he left an impression.

    His work in WCW with Brian Pillman Jr. helped revolutionize the business, as did his exploits in Japan, where he forever will be a beloved icon.

    His induction into the WWE Hall of Fame is recognition of his contributions to the evolution of the industry, even as his history with the company is incredibly limited. These are just a few of the matches that earned him his well-deserved induction:


    1. SuperBrawl 2: vs. Brian Pillman for the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship

    There are few matches more important to the aerial style that would take over pro wrestling in the mid-to-late 1990s than Liger's contest with Pillman at SuperBrawl 2.

    One of the best matches in WCW history, and a candidate for the greatest opener of all time, it left fans in awe of the dynamic, explosive styles they witnessed out of the young high-flyers.

    Liger would lose the match and title to Pillman, but the defeat did nothing to diminish what was a defining match and one of those incredibly influential bouts that would change the industry, even if no one knew it at the time.


    2. WCW Nitro, September 4, 1995: vs. Pillman

    There is a reason WCW selected the Liger vs. Pillman match to kick off its inaugural episode of Monday Nitro: It knew the performers would give fans watching for the first time a display of athleticism and aerial ability the likes of which they would not see elsewhere.

    With only six minutes to work with, the match was nowhere near the classic from SuperBrawl, but it was still a significant bout in the careers of both men. They were trusted by Eric Bischoff and the higher-ups in WCW to set the tone for this revolutionary new Monday night broadcast and they did just that.

    Like any great opening match on a pay-per-view, it gave fans a taste of what they could expect, and Liger and Pillman proved WCW would be destination viewing for fans of reality-based and athletic pro wrestling.

Celebrity Inductee: William Shatner

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    One of two celebrity inductees this year, William Shatner joins the likes of Pete Rose and Snoop Dog in the most notorious wing of the Hall of Fame for his work in guest-starring spots over the years.

    The 90-year-old first popped up on WWE television in the January 9, 1995 episode of Raw as a guest on Jerry "The King" Lawler's King's Court talk-show segment.

    In the years that followed, he would make a few more appearances, including guest-hosting Raw and performing spoken-word renditions of WWE Superstar theme music, and even narrate Breaking Ground, the NXT-centered documentary series that was a highlight of the early years of the WWE Network.

    He inducted Lawler into the Hall of Fame in 2007 and takes his place alongside his on-screen nemesis this year.

Warrior Award Winner: Titus O'Neil

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    Titus O'Neil is not joining the WWE Hall of Fame because of his wrestling career. He is the 2021 recipient of The Warrior Award because of his incredible charitable work in and around his hometown of Tampa, Florida.

    The former Florida Gator, tag team and inaugural 24/7 champion earned his place because he has set an example for everyone on how to give back to their communities.

    Whether he is helping student athletes, taking the time to read to elementary students, ensuring students have access to breakfast, donating thousands of toys, or visiting young children in hospitals, he has proved an exemplary figure whose star burns brighter for that than anything he could accomplish between the ropes.

    It is fitting, then, that his induction comes on the weekend that WWE returns to Tampa for WrestleMania, an event he will co-host with fellow Hall of Fame inductee, Hulk Hogan.

John Bradshaw Layfield

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    There is no better place for a wrestling god than the Hall of Fame, and former WWE champion John Bradshaw Layfield takes his place alongside legendary tag team partner Ron Simmons on Tuesday.

    A wrestler who battled back from lackluster gimmicks, embraced a tag team with Simmons and rose to new heights during the Attitude Era as one-half of the beer-drinking, ass-kicking APA, Layfield shook off the "tag team specialist" label and became the top heel in the business as a millionaire New York businessman.

    JBL would feud with the likes of Eddie Guerrero, The Undertaker, John Cena, and Batista, all while firmly establishing himself as a top star in the mid-2000s. Injuries would ultimately cut his career short, leading to a 2009 retirement, but not before Layfield ensured his place in WWE history with these unforgettable moments:


    1. WWE Great American Bash 2004: vs. Eddie Guerrero for the WWE Championship

    After a bloody battle with Guerrero at Judgment Day, Layfield finally knocked off the WWE champion a month later at Great American Bash, just barely touching the fourth turnbuckle during a Texas Bull Rope match to capture the title.

    The win was the culmination of a lifelong journey to the top of the pro wrestling industry and a testament to JBL's persistence. After years of hard-hitting, highly physical in-ring action, he finally proved doubters wrong (and Guerrero, who always believed in him, right) by developing a heel persona fans hated and capturing the top prize the industry had to offer.


    2. Judgment Day 2005: vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship

    Much like Guerrero did for him, JBL had the opportunity to help elevate a new champion and solidify their position as the top star in the company at the 2005 Judgment Day pay-per-view, when he challenged John Cena for the WWE title he lost to the young star at WrestleMania 21.

    Cena had gotten himself over as a rapper, but he needed that one defining match to prove he had what it took to be the top guy in an ever-changing WWE. He got it, thanks to the physicality of JBL, a crimson mask, and a Match of the Year candidate.

    Without JBL working overtime to help make him, who knows what might have become of the 16-time world champion.


    3. The Not-So-Friendly Tap

    There was nothing more the APA loved than a good, old-fashioned bar fight and they got it every time they stopped by The Friendly Tap in Rhodes Island, a local bar owned by referee Tim White.

    Whether they were looking to unload on The New Age Outlaws or some mouthy fan who thought he stood a chance against the badasses, the APA took joy in busting glass, breaking faces and drinking beer.

    In the middle of the Attitude Era, when fans demanded edgier content, the no-nonsense ass-kickers worked extremely well and helped Layfield and Simmons carve out a role for themselves in a company that appeared to have passed them by not all that much earlier.

The Bella Twins

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    There are some who will argue the Bella Twins do not belong in the Hall of Fame or their accomplishments are somehow relegated to a reality show. In reality, Nikki and Brie laid the groundwork for what became the Women's Revolution.

    They became the face of Total Divas, a reality show that shed light on the female performers of WWE. They were as vocal as anyone about the #GiveDivasAChance movement after being repeatedly short-changed on ring time.

    The former collegiate athletes and models embraced professional wrestling, found tremendous success in it, and even more outside of it. They built a brand based on their accomplishments in WWE and helped change the role of women in the company forever.


    1. WWE Raw, September 14, 2015: Nikki Becomes Longest-Reigning Divas Champion

    Nikki Bella became the longest-reigning Divas champion in history by controversially retaining her title against Charlotte Flair (albeit in a DQ loss) on the September 14, 2015 episode of Raw.

    The match itself was nothing special, and the finish annoyed fans waiting for the peaceful transition of power from the torch-bearers of a previous era of women's wrestling to the revolutionary crop that would forever change things.

    In hindsight, Nikki's reign was incredibly important to the overall health of women's wrestling. She carried the mantle at a time when the division had no identity. She was champion throughout a time of transition, propping up a division for the Four Horsewomen of NXT to eventually run with.

    She worked extremely hard to improve as a wrestler and gave of herself for an industry that didn't always respect what she accomplished, including breaking her neck for her sport. Nikki, in that regard, is one of the more underappreciated performers of her generation.


    2. SummerSlam 2014: Brie vs. Stephanie McMahon

    The biggest match of Brie's career, and arguably the hottest of the 2014 SummerSlam card, saw her battle Stephanie McMahon. The match, hardly a classic workrate match, was a brilliantly booked bit of sports-entertainment.

    There was drama, great babyface fire from Bella and heel heat from McMahon. The closing moments of the match saw Nikki betray her sister, allowing McMahon to win the match.

    While the sibling rivalry probably should have been better and produced at least one major match between them, there is no denying the Bellas were probably at their peak in popularity that summer, as evidenced by McMahon returning to the ring to work with them.


    3. Evolution 2018: Headlining with Ronda Rousey

    The main event of Evolution may have been Nikki vs. Rousey for the Raw Women's Championship, but it was really the culmination of a career's work for the sisters. After dedicating themselves to the women's revolution, they headlined a card devoted to it.

    Nikki again proved her in-ring ability against the champion while Brie interfered and bumped throughout to put over the babyface's offense. It was a strong main event and a nod to the twins for all they had done to get women's wrestling to that point.

New World Order

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    The New World Order revolutionized professional wrestling in 1996, becoming the hottest act in the industry and the faction fans tuned in every week to see cause chaos on WCW Nitro.

    Led by Hollywood Hogan and featuring Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Syxx, The Giant and others, the group fueled WCW to an 83-week victory over WWE in the Monday Night Wars.

    Their highlight reel is one that could support its own wing in the Hall of Fame, but these are just a few of their greatest exploits:


    1. Bash at the Beach 1996: Hulk Hogan is the third man

    There are a few moments in time when people know exactly where they were when an event happened. For wrestling fans, Hogan's heel turn at the 1996 Bash at the Beach pay-per-view is one such moment.

    From the leg drop to Randy Savage through to his scathing promo in which he told fans to "stick it," the moment was surreal for those longtime fans who remembered Hogan telling them to take their vitamins and say their prayers.

    The moment ignited the hottest era in professional wrestling history, reinvigorated Hogan and created a faction whose reach is still being felt today.


    2. WCW Nitro, July 29, 1996: Assault at Universal Studios

    The wild and unpredictable nature of the NWO was on full display on July 29, 1996, when Nash and Hall made their way through the Universal Studios back lot, attacking WCW stars and leaving them in need of medical assistance.

    They beat down Arn Anderson and, in the most unforgettable moment of the ordeal, tossed Rey Mysterio head-first into a production trailer like a lawn dart.

    The brutality and chaos caused by The Outsiders sent a message to the locker room and set the tone for what would be a three-year stretch of pain and suffering for anyone standing between the group and industry domination.


    3. WCW Nitro, December 22, 1997: We're Taking Over

    Just days before Hogan was slated to defend his WCW world title against Sting in the most anticipated bout in company history, the NWO staged a hostile takeover of Monday Nitro.

    They tore down banners, constructed new pieces of the stage and reminded fans that while they had hung their hat on the vigilante Sting, it was the NWO that remained in power.

    It was a show of unity, toughness and numbers ahead of the monumental PPV showdown.

Molly Holly

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    Molly Holly was never the flashiest professional wrestler, but she may well have been the best during her time with WWE.

    A technician as likely to work a ground-based submission as she was to toss her opponent overhead with a suplex, she brought real wrestling to a division that desperately needed it at the turn of the Millennium.

    As a result, she helped usher in a golden era of women's wrestling in WWE alongside the likes of Trish Stratus, Lita, Jazz, Ivory, Jacqueline and Victoria.

    These matches and moments help explain her induction in this year's class:


    1. WWE Raw, July 28, 2003: Two-Time Champion

    Holly had been champion before July 28, 2003, winning her first title at the 2002 King of the Ring pay-per-view, but it was the second win that solidified her as the top heel in a burgeoning division.

    Holly defeated Gail Kim to capture gold a second time, ending the newcomer's title run rather prematurely and re-establishing herself as the standard-bearer in women's wrestling.

    Over the course of her reign, she would successfully defend against the likes of Kim, Stratus, Lita, Ivory and Jacqueline before dropping it to Victoria the following February.

    In that span, she had some great matches and reaffirmed the beliefs of her most passionate fans that she was the best women's wrestler on the roster.


    2. WrestleMania X8: Mighty Molly Goes Hardcore

    Moments after The Hurricane swooped in from out of nowhere to capture the WWE Hardcore Championship in a backstage brawl at WrestleMania X8, trusty sidekick Mighty Molly proved no friendship could withstand the allure of gold.

    She blasted her hurri-hero partner and won the gold, taking off backstage with it. Eventually, she would walk into a swinging door and be pinned by Christian, but the setup and execution of the segment was so good it remains one of Holly's shining moments in WWE.


    3. WrestleMania XX: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

    Not every memorable moment of Holly's Hall of Fame career was a championship victory.

    At WrestleMania XX, she was so determined to win back the title she had lost to Victoria weeks earlier, she put her hair on the line. It proved to be a huge mistake as Victoria picked up the win via backslide.

    Try as she might, Holly could not avoid the barber's chair, becoming shackled to it before Victoria brandished the clippers and buzzed her opponent bald. The moment, one of the most memorable from a packed card, remains the most immediately recognizable of Holly's career.

Eric Bischoff

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    Eric Bischoff is, arguably, the most controversial figure in wrestling history.

    A young executive who saw an opportunity to topple the giant and lead his company to glory, he resurrected WCW and made it a profitable company within two years. He signed big stars, featured them prominently, and brought in young stars to fill out the undercard and ensure WCW remains the destination for fans of pro wrestling.

    Oh, and he was the on-screen leader of the New World Order and the Raw general manager. Just in case his credentials didn't already speak for themselves, these moments will:


    1. WWE Raw, July 15, 2002: He's Back

    No one in their right mind ever expected to see Bischoff on WWE programming. Not after the intense rivalry between him and Vince McMahon at the height of the Monday Night Wars, during which Easy E won 83 consecutive weekly battles with The Chairman of the Board.

    The July 15, 2002 episode of Raw proved anything can happen, though, as Bischoff stepped through the curtain and revealed himself to be the new general manager of Raw. From there, he would enjoy a three-year reign as one of the better authority figures in WWE history and a prominent part of storylines throughout.

    What could have been a miserable failure turned into a lucrative and successful one for both parties, proving Bischoff is willing to swallow his pride and do business if the right opportunity presents itself.


    2. WCW Nitro, November 18, 1996: Bischoff is NWO

    We should have seen it coming. There were just some things the NWO was able to accomplish that they could not have without an insider working on their behalf. An insider with the most stroke in WCW.

    Enter Bischoff, who was revealed by Roddy Piper to be a part of the NWO from the beginning. It was a logical storyline development and one that made Bischoff one of the most unlikable guys on television. A smarmy executive who pulled the strings, allowing the faction he worked for to infiltrate the company he was in charge of, he thrived in the role and was one of the best characters on Nitro.

    Lost in the narratives often told by WWE is that Bischoff beat McMahon to the punch and was the first executive of that magnitude to turn heel and become an on-screen character. He was a heel before the evil Mr. McMahon ever uttered "Bret screwed Bret" and for that, he never gets nearly enough credit.


    3. SmackDown, September 12, 2002: Billy and Chuck's Wedding Ends in Three Minutes

    There was something about the preacher's voice that sounded familiar as he stammered through the wedding ceremony for Billy and Chuck. He didn't look familiar, though. He was, by all accounts, an old preacher hired to serve over the proceedings.

    Then, the reveal.

    The pastor removed layers of makeup straight out of Mrs. Doubtfire and revealed himself to be Bischoff as part of a battle for brand supremacy between Raw and SmackDown. Rosey and Jamal attacked, laying out the grooms-to-be, much to the delight of Bischoff.

    His plan had succeeded and, for WWE, one of the greatest swerves in blue-brand history had come to fruition.

The Great Khali

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    The Great Khali becomes the latest big man to enter the Hall of Fame.

    A former world champion who became a fan-favorite comedy act later in his career, he left audiences in awe of his massive size and ability to turn a smile into a devastating chop.

    Some will argue his inclusion into the Hall of Fame, but these are a few moments that landed him there:


    1. SmackDown, July 20, 2007: World Heavyweight Champion

    Khali's defining moment came as a result of a major injury suffered by Edge and desperation on the part of SmackDown's creative team. With no credible heel to carry the mantle after The Rated-R Superstar went down, Khali got the call.

    He captured the title by way of his win in a Battle Royal, in which he eliminated Batista and Kane to emerge victorious.

    His reign would be relatively short-lived but reintroduced the concept of a monster heel around whom a championship picture revolved.


    2. SmackDown, April 7, 2006: A Monster Debut

    After defeating Mark Henry in a Casket match at WrestleMania, The Undertaker found himself confronted by the massive newcomer. The Great Khali marched to the ring and made an immediate impact, coming face-to-face with The Deadman before leaving him lying in a heap.

    It was as strong a debut as one could imagine. Things would only go up for Khali in time for his first match.


    3. Judgment Day 2006: Dominating The Deadman

    Khali manhandled and destroyed Undertaker in his first match with the company, pinning The Phenom with a single foot on the chest.

    It was the culmination of an introduction to the WWE Universe that had the giant looking like the next unstoppable force in pro wrestling. We know now that his career would transition into that of a midcard babyface, but that initial entry into WWE was as impressive and dominant as we have seen, especially considering the ease with which he defeated The Deadman.

Celebrity Inductee: Ozzy Osbourne

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    Ozzy Osbourne and pro wrestling just go together perfectly.

    The dark prince of rock and roll first appeared in WWE in 1986, seconding The British Bulldogs for their tag team title win over The Dream Team at WrestleMania 2.

    It would be a long journey back to WWE, but Osbourne returned in 2007 for a live performance of his hit song "I Don't Wanna Stop."

    Ozzy and wife Sharon would return to guest host the November 5, 2009 episode of Raw.

    A larger-than-life personality co-starring in an industry full of them, the former Black Sabbath frontman thrived in ways other celebrities did not and has earned his spot in this year's class.


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    It is difficult to find a character that exceeded expectations to the extent that Kane did.

    Debuting in 1997 as The Undertaker's long lost brother, he would enjoy a 20-plus year career as The Big Red Monster. Involved in some of the most enduring angles, and most horrifically bad, he proved to be Teflon, remaining immensely popular with new and old fans alike.

    A timeless character, Kane still pops up from time to time as a guest in the Royal Rumble or selling for the latest supernatural persona.

    His aura, epic backstory and ability to remain relevant have helped earn him a spot in this year's class, as did these unforgettable moments:


    1. Badd Blood: In Your House: That's Gotta Be Kane!

    The Big Red Machine first stalked toward the ring at Badd Blood in October 1997, paying off Paul Bearer's claims that Undertaker's brother was alive. The masked menace confronted his brother, then dropped him with a Tombstone, allowing Shawn Michaels to earn the win inside Hell in a Cell.

    The presentation of the character ensured Kane would resonate with fans for weeks beyond the event while the execution of his debut was flawless.

    What had plenty of potential to be the latest bad idea in a string of them from Vince McMahon's creative team was instead the start of a magical two-decade run that would catapult the former Isaac Yankem, DDS and Fake Diesel into the realm of WWE's all-time performers.


    2. WWE Raw, June 23, 2003: Unmasked

    After five years of wearing a mask, the decision was made for Kane to finally unveil the horrifically burned face he suffered as a kid. After losing a high-stakes match to Triple H, The Big Red Machine hesitated but then made good on his promise, pulling the mask and attached wig off to unveil...a half-assed makeup job and bad haircut.

    Sure, the reveal was underwhelming, but the moment remains one of Kane's most defining because fans waited so long for it.

    He would go on to wrestle unmasked for nine years, during which he strengthened his Hall of Fame resume by winning title after title and appearing in prominent story after prominent story.

    He would even add his second world title reign while competing without the mask.


    3. King of the Ring 1998: Champion

    Kane's first world title win was overshadowed by Mankind and Undertaker's brutal Hell in a Cell match earlier on the same King of the Ring 1998 card, but there is no mistaking the magnitude of his win in terms of his career.

    Yes, it came as a result of Vince Russo booking the character into a corner of sorts by stipulating he would set himself on fire if he did not beat "Stone Cold" Steve Austin for the title, but the fact that he was in that position in the first place was indicative of the character working to the extent that it did.

    After losing to Undertaker at WrestleMania XIV, Kane could have easily disappeared to wherever it is gimmicks go when The Deadman has dispatched of them, but he didn't. He remained relevant, stronger even, and was put in a position to succeed.

    He did and captured the gold. Even though he lost it 24 hours later, he was in a better position for having dropped it back to Austin. He was hotter, stronger and more credible than before and ready to embark on a journey that would take him back to the gold, even if it was 12 years later.

Rob Van Dam

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    Rob Van Dam is one of the rare ECW stars to find success in WWE.

    A dynamic, innovative and high-flying Superstar who never met a situation he could not turn into some offensive advantage, he got over with fans because of his arsenal of unique strikes and maneuvers, as well as his laid-back attitude.

    He wasn't overly aggressive, didn't threaten to kick ass and was never the biggest dog in any fight. But he was the Whole Dam Show, and these moments are responsible for him being the Whole Dam Hall of Famer:


    1. One Night Stand 2006: vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship

    The revival of the ECW brand, as well as his own Money in the Bank victory, landed RVD in a WWE Championship match against John Cena at One Night Stand in June 2006.

    Van Dam was the fans' choice to win while Cena was very much the hated product of Vince McMahon's marketing machine. Rarely was a crowd so one-sided, and Van Dam did not let the ECW faithful down.

    A dramatic, hard-hitting match gave way to Van Dam capitalizing on Edge's late interference and delivering a Five Star Frog Splash for the win.

    The victory, the post-match celebration and the joyous feeling would be short-lived due to Van Dam getting suspended after he was charged with drug possession, but it was still the sort of moment wrestlers work an entire career to attain.


    2. Invasion 2001: vs. Jeff Hardy for the Hardcore Championship

    You only get one chance at making a first impression and Van Dam seized it, delivering a show-stealing performance against Jeff Hardy at Invasion in July 2001.

    The former ECW TV champion entered the event with a ton of hype following his run in Paul Heyman's company. He easily could have disappointed, proving to be just like every other ECW Original who came out of Philadelphia to lesser success in McMahonland.

    He seemed to thrive on the pressure, though, matching Hardy's death-defying offense and defeating him to win the title.

    The win made RVD one of the hottest, most popular stars in the industry and the first real opportunity WWE had to do something great with a character not manifested during its own the Attitude Era.


    3. 1998-2000: ECW TV Champion

    By the time the late 1990s rolled around, the idea of a champion holding any title for two years was unheard of. It simply did not happen. The attention spans of the audience were far too low for any Superstar to remain that dominant.

    Or so it seemed.

    Van Dam completely turned those preconceived notions on their ear, turning in a long title reign that kept audiences engaged and invested because of the quality of his in-ring work.

    He was on a hot streak at that point in his ECW career, delivering classics with Jerry Lynn, stealing shows with Lance Storm and Chris Candido, and building his midcard title into a championship on-par with the ECW world title.

    It was an incredible feat that almost certainly would have ended with him capturing a world title, but a broken ankle forced him to relinquish the title, ending the last great story Heyman had to tell with the company.