Rob Van Dam appeared on SportsTalkCleveland.com’s Pro Wrestling Insider show last night and spent over 40 minutes discussing several controversial subjects such as Vince McMahon’s new ECW, "one of the boys, that’s married to one of the boss’ daughters", and much more. The following are some excerpts from the interview:
On whether he is bitter over his WWE run: "Honestly, I don’t feel I am bitter at all. When I went to WWE, in the summer of 2001, I didn’t even want to go. It was never my favorite style of wrestling, even since I was a little kid and it was the only style of wrestling that I knew. So, when I went there in 2001, it was all business. At that point in my career, it was all business, and I was already tired of traveling. I already really peaked my interest in ECW, as an artist. In the original ECW, I felt like I was an artist out there, and I had the freedom to display my ability, my talents, and to show what I wanted to show, and win the fans over. It was in my control."
On the ECW revival in WWE moving away from the original ECW concept: "When they squashed the spirit of ECW, I was still kicking on the way out. I would tell Vince, "If you do this, the ECW fans aren’t going to like this, that’s not what this is about." That’s when I realized (it was doomed) because he told me, exactly "Rob, I never intended this to be like the old ECW. Nobody remembers the old ECW." I’d say, "You’ve got to be kidding me! You don’t think anybody remembers it? Why do you think the Pay-per-view was so successful, and the DVD! Isn’t that why you’re bringing it back?" (Does Vince McMahon voice) "Rob, for all I know, those 2500 fans at the Manhattan Center were the last of the old ECW fans."
Vince McMahon’s reason why fans still chanted "ECW": "I said "Vince, why do you think they still chant ECW?" (Does Vince McMahon voice) "Because I’ve trained them to do that over the last five years." Seriously, how do you argue with that? You don’t, eventually you throw in the towel, which is what I did."
On Rob’s appreciation of his fans: "I would be the only person who would go out behind the building and … oh wait, that was something else I used to do (laughs). I would go out back and I would sign autographs for the fans that are waiting out there, and they would say "Oh Rob, you’re the only one who has come up to us all day!" and I would say "Of course, it’s pouring rain, and you’ve been standing under a tree all day, you don’t expect wrestlers to come out here, do you?" But I would usually do it, because I would get energy out of that, and know that they would remember that."
On his WWE Title win: "WWE never planned on pushing me, they had no choice because the fans demanded it. I was told, when we were talking about bringing ECW back as a third brand, and when Paul (Heyman) was talking about putting the World Championship Title on RVD to kickstart ECW, I was told that one of the boys, that’s married to one of the boss’ daughters, actually said that "RVD just doesn’t have that connection with the crowd". Now, is that a genuine comment, or is that a back-stabbing, throat-slicing comment to try and keep yourself from feeling threatened by somebody else?"