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RVD TALKS POTENTIAL RETIREMENT TOUR, WWE STATUS, TNA RUN, WWE REVIVING ECW, THE ELKS LODGE, HEYMAN AND MORE: COMPLETE COVERAGE OF ROB VAN DAM Q&A AT MID-ATLANTIC LEGENDS FANFEST

By Mike Johnson on 2015-07-31 12:02:20
Welcome to PWInsider.com's coverage of Rob Van Dam's Q&A Session at the Mid-Atlantic Legends Fanfest!

Rob Van Dam was asked about a 1998 ECW show at the Elks Lodge where the "Whole Fn' Show" show chant started and how it impacted his career.  Van Dam said he remembered the Queens Elks Lodge events being the first place where everyone was really behind him.  He saw the first RVD 4:20 sign there and that's where the chant began.  He said the term came from when he did a promo after doing the Van Dam Lift where he said he was the "f***ing Show."    He said ECW had all these different categories of Extreme and fans saw what he did as true and genuine.  He said that to represent in that arena, in ECW and to be considered one of the best athletes in the business but at the same time, a stoner, it was different.  He said that we now have 4 States where marijuana is legal and 23 where it's medicinal.  He said he was happy to shine a light on things.

RVD was asked about memories of the Golden Dome in Monaca, PA.  He said that was where he first started seeing the growth of ECW with those shows.  He said ECW was growing but that venue was the one where they really saw growth and they had 5,000 fans there.  He said it's associate with Shane Douglas because he lived and promoted there and you saw the potential when you see that sort of growth.

Van Dam was asked about working independents in Georgia.  Van Dam said he came up the traditionl way.  Now, wrestlers can go to a school and they can be in the business and two years later say, "This is my house!"  He said that wasn't his time.  You couldn't even act like a fan in the locker room anymore and if you did, you'd be hazed and have your eyebrows shaved.  He said it's so different now that he often feels like he doesn't belong in the locker rooms anymore.  The old wrong is the new right and it doesn't compute with his old school values.  "They get tattoos of the day they win the championship on their neck?  What?"  He said that sort of thing wouldn't have worked in his day. 

Van Dam told a story of a promoter Ben Masters asking Rob to do a spot with a watermelon as they were running in the watermelon capital of the world.  RVD didn't know what to do so he broke the watermelon against the corner post.  He said that a lot of stars came from that promotion and worked there - Van Hammer, Mick Foley, Raven and Paul Orndorff.

RVD was asked what he preferred, ECW or WWE. He said ECW was his favorite style and he felt that was where he was at his best. He's very durable and has good genetics and has the knack for taking a lot of punishment in his matches. He said that putting so much out in every match made others realize they couldn't survive doing what he does and he got off on that. ECW allowed him to do things outside the box and that creativity was great. He said that, however, once you go up, you don't want to go back down. He said in ECW, he didn't need to make all the money that he made later. In WWE, it's a different world when it comes to the audience watching globally and that's something guys don't realize. RVD said he had a sense of pride in not wanting to sell out and if he stayed where he was, he would have been fine. Lucky for him, he was going to end up at the upper level. When he was in TNA, there were guys who had an attitude that they didn't need to go further and if you have that chance and don't take it, you've shorted yourself. WWE allows you to be a hero in countries you've never visited. He's had the chance to go to countries that didn't have pro wrestling live before and to go to a place where they are so excited to see them live, that's amazing. He said in ECW, there wouldn't have been that chance, at least, not until Vince McMahon gave ECW that spotlight. He's proud of what he did in ECW and he likes to be a showoff. He said it's not as easy to do that in a four minute match.

Van Dam was asked his thoughts on his TNA run.  He loved it at first because the schedule was fly in Sunday, arrive Monday and leave Tuesday, then come back two weeks later.  It was a good business deal for him.   He said he started to see the style changing in that there are guys who thought they were well rounded for their standards but what they do, it wouldn't have worked a few years ago.  Van Dam said that he would work with guys and where their mind was, was so far from where his mind was.  He would feel like the young, green, inexperienced kids would argue over the matches and they'd get an agent involved.  He would finally just say he was going to sit in his car and wait for his music.  He had a three year deal and they had everything set except a start date and TNA never got back to him.  He felt TNA wasn't appreciating him, so he met with Hunter after going to the WWE Hall of Fame to see Booker T inducted and that was the story of his return.

Sabu walked in and got a huge pop.

Van Dam was asked about mentors and inspiration.  Van Dam said The Sheik was his mentor and he said there were no others who can really explain what RVD went through.  He said everyone thought The Sheik was the real deal.   His style was so different from Rob's but he gave Rob the great advice of "Don't listen to anyone else.  They don't know wha the f*** they are talking about."  Rob said he's proud to be a non-conformist.  He said he went through bullying like everyone else and finally said "F*** I don't want to be like them" and was happy to be his own man.  He said that he's never really fit in, even in WWE and felt he was never their guy as much as they felt the fans really liked RVD for some reason, so they must do something with him.

As a wrestler, he enjoyed and was inspired by Lanny Poffo, Owen Hart and Brady Boone for doing outside the box maneuvers.  He said he's had different mentors but is now at a point where he's his own man and doesn't want advice.  He said experience is by far the best teacher so you should have open ears.  The fans inspire him too.

RVD was asked about "punking out Taz" in ECW.  Rob said he and Taz didn't like each other when Rob came to ECW.  They began building the Sabu-Taz story where they never touched each other and then RVD came in and beat Sabu and Taz didn't like it.  For a long time, there were all these tiny little issues that would build up.  Taz would call Sabu and said he was going to kick his boy's ass and Rob would hear it and would think he's going to have to do something.  He said he feels bad even talking about this, because Taz is a great guy now, and Rob joked that he had something to do with that.  They were going to fight once but it didn't happen.  They had words after Taz got "lumped up" in a Philly bout and they had words but nothing happened.  Then they had a six man tag at the November to Remember 1998.  RVD was busted in the nose by Taz and didn't get the consideration of an apology like Rob did when he nailed Taz.  Taz came in the back and threw a cinder block at the wall and said he was going to kick Van Dam's ass.  Van Dam was told by Paul Heyman and Tommy Dreamer but Taz had left already.  The next time he saw Taz, he decided they were going to fight.  He saw Taz and said "Pick a hand" and hit him.  Van Dam thought they were going to fight but in reality, Taz and he had a heart to heart and they became closer because of it.  He said Taz changed after that. Looking back, it was almost like a mob takeover where you moved up the hieracrchy.  He said it was something that went on for over a year and they had an old school issue and handled it.  He said he loves Taz and he was great asset for the business.

Van Dam was asked his WWE status.  He said he's in between WWE contracts and going to TNA or ROH would breach the deal.  He has a valid merchandise deal with the company and intends to return, but doesn't feel like he's in a big hurry to go back.  He and Chris Jericho are the only ones who have this sort of deal.  He said Jericho has the deal for his band and "because he's close with Hunter, which I'm not."  When he returned in 2013, WWE did an amazing job building his return.  He had a 90 day deal and did 66 matches in that time, so think about the travel involved.  He said that in a regular WWE deal would mean he'd have to keep going.  He came back and did a five month deal where he picked the dates that he wanted to do.  He could go back at any time. 

It's possible he could do a "retirement tour" but there's no plans right now.  Van Dam said he doesn't want to be on the road full time and doesn't enjoy it as much as the younger guys do.    The younger guys want it so much more than he does and are hungrier.  He said that's a problem because he doesn't want to come off bitter and is appreciative, but he's older and in a different place.  He'll wrestle until an undisclosed time that "probably isn't too far off."

RVD was asked about his memories of the USWA run.  He said he wasn't even old enough to drink then.  They would split a $28 a night hotel among four guys.  They would eat at buffets and try to stay for lunch and dinner.  He said they would find girls waiting for them with beer to bribe them to hang out with them.

RVD was asked how he feels being a legend.  Rob said that to him legends are guys like Junkyard Dog, Hulk Hogan, Ricky Steamboat and it's hard to see himself on that level, but others might have a different perspective on him.  He said that the RVD character on TV is legend to them because they are allowed to fill in the blanks in that character.  He said the character wants to win the belt but in real life, this guy, wants to go home.  He's never enjoyed doing promos that talk about the belts are the most important things because he doesn't want to lie.  He said the way fans look at him strike a good chord in his ego and his soul and he's grateful that anyone would consider him a legend.  He has no expectations of the WWE Hall of Fame.  It would be great but he has no expectations.

Rob was asked if there was someone he could go to in the WWE locker room for feedback and advice.  Rob said he was already a veteran when he got there but there was one guy.  He said Undertaker was a locker room leader and there were guys like HHH, Shawn Michaels and JBL but the one guy he always trusted when it came to feedback was Paul Heyman.  In his days, you weren't allowed to feel comfortable among the boys until the locker room decided you were allowed to.  Today, it's like a class all came up together and want to be friends and get along.  In his era, they would have to deal with being charged with crimes against the locker room behavior.  He said it's way different now.

RVD was asked for any good Bill Alfonso stories.  He said he thinks Fonzie was put with him to be his mouthpiece because fans liked his moves but he didn't feel comfortable doing promos.  He said that Fonzie being with him pulled things out of him.  Fonzie took being the manager of Sabu and RVD to heart in the locker room and trying to get them the best hotel rooms, etc. 

Van Dam told a story of being at CAC in Las Vegas and Fonzie getting him a free room and then the next day the hotel called and wanted to know who was in the room and why he was there.  Fonzie wanted to split but RVD wanted to finish a "granola bar."  As they went to leave, the door knocked and it was five cops and a woman from the hotel pissed they were in the room.  They grilled him and finally let him go.

Van Dam was asked about his style.  He said he tries to do every move as hard as possible and hit the mat as hard as possible.  He said that even though he's older, it's still the same for him.  He said if you were hit by a truck at 24 it would hurt just as much as it would if he was hit at 44. He's always wanted to do things that were outside the box and even in his first match wondered if he could do the split-legged moonsault. He wanted to be a pro wrestler and learned of someone who had a ring and it was someone who was a martial artist and he got into kickboxing that way. He would train with them and then when the martial artists would leave, he could train as a wrestler. He did a lot of martial arts to supplement the Kickboxing, feeling that if wrestling didn't work out, he had a chance with the marial arts. All of them ended up becoming part of his style. 

Rob was asked about the return of ECW.  He said he went to Vince and asked him about a ECW reunion PPV and Vince said he hadn't thought about it, but could make a lot of money with that.  Rob said, "I got a hard on."  He would follow up with Vince and show him a list of guys who were there that worked for ECW and Vince didn't even know they were in ECW.   He'd go to Paul and Paul said he would go to work on it on his end.  Van Dam was so excited he would go to all the guys to see if they would be interested.  He and Paul would be going to bat to knock down all the bad ideas that were suggested and said they killed 16 of the 19 bad ideas.  He said it was heartbreaking to be hurt and not be able to work that night but "we can't let go of" that ECW style and heart.   Van Dam said when it launched as a third brand, he thought it was going to be good.  He saw Vince was going to destroy it and worked to try and delay it.  When he saw it couldn't be stopped, he finished up his contract and left.

Van Dam was asked about whether John Cena was on board the night he won the WWE title.  He said he doesn't know what WWE's office had planned but Cena doesn't get enough credit for being on board with everything and take all the criticism and more.  He talked of a night in Wales where Cena, with one speech, took the crowd from hating him to loving him and that was the night he realized Cena was the right guy for that position.

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