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Rob Van Dam On Considering Himself ‘Semi-Retired’, Working And Training With Sabu (Exclusive)

Rob Van Dam recently spoke with Wrestlezone’s Kevin Kellam about his new documentary ‘Headstrong’ which is available on iTunes and other digital retailers now.

RVD talks about considering himself ‘semi-retired’ from wrestling, working with Sabu and much more. You can read a few transcribed highlights below:

(Transcription credit to Anthony McGlynn for 

RVD on his status as a wrestler: 

“I consider myself semi-retired. The last three years I’ve had about 10-12 matches a year, most of them overseas, and I’m really not looking to do more than that. But good business is good business, if somebody talks.. I can’t see myself going back to full-time, that’s really not a possibility, not the way full-time was defined in the past anyway. Yeah I got this Impact match coming up, I’m looking forward to tagging with Sabu [at IMPACT Wrestling’s United We Stand]; it’s been a long time since we’ve tagged, so I’m looking forward to that because he’s my mentor. He brought me into the business, he was the first guy I was the ring with, he helped train me, not counting Ted DiBiase when I kissed his foot.”

IMPACT Adds Jimmy Havoc vs. Sami Callihan To United We Stand; Rob Van Dam vs. Sabu From Last Stand 2010 Added To YouTube

Rob Van Dam comments on his chemistry with Sabu: 

“Well you know we have this chemistry, so when we met it was just under all the right ingredients and factors. It was the original Sheik, and he’s a legend, very original, one-of-a-kind, he was the first one to bring a snake to the ring, first one to throw fire in the ring, and he wrestled in a time when people, they respected wrestling in a way that they looked at it like a fight. They believed it back then, and they believed in the Sheik, and he was extra believable because he never broke kayfabe. The whole time that he trained me, he never once, never once said here’s how to move somebody without hurting them or here’s how you take care of somebody in a suplex. It wasn’t about that. I got trained as if it was a complete shoot. There was five of us, that was as big as the class ever got, we could not be stiff or rough enough for the shoot.

So I trained so stiff those first few years that everybody around Ohio and Indiana, they didn’t want to work with us, one of the guys in like 1990, was instrumental in saying “whoa whoa whoa, lighten up.” He and his partner had me and Dango, Sabu was always kinda stubborn and staying to himself, always, still does. We lightened up a little bit. And when I went to Japan I thought they were disrespectful because they weren’t selling my light shit ever at all and they were beating the shit out of me. Specially [with one opponent], he would kick me so hard, I’d be going ‘tap, tap, tap’ with my foot on his neck and he’d be going ‘wham!’ and putting it in my face. Then eventually it pissed me off so much, I brought it back, I was like “well I’m going to kick him” bam, that’s when he started selling my shit. And that’s when I learned outta respect for the business, he can’t sell shit that’s not real laid in, and that’s the way they want it.

So there’s a lot of, Sabu and I are snug but there’s also we trained that it’s real so we’re in a state of mind that it is real out there so we’re all about the competition and that’s what a lot of the young guys forget. Because they learn how to do all these fancy moves before they learn how to really pin a guy and get a guy’s shoulders on the mat. And for us that’s the foundation, we can experience and add it on to a good match, but it never replaces a good match. That’s what one of the big mistakes is nowadays. And then what I brought to the table by the way, when I met Sabu, started schooling with him and the Sheik I was already a kickboxer and I was already acrobatic, so I helped Sabu learn how to do some backflips and stuff, and then he taught me how to wrestle, and he was crazy and always hurting himself.”

Related: Rob Van Dam On Sharing His Personal Life In On ‘Headstrong’, Feeling Energized By Comedy