Rob Van Dam is a legend in ECW history and the new WWE Hall Of Famer recalls seeing the brand on television for the first time.
RVD was a recent guest on Out Of Character with Ryan Satin and talked about his first impression of ECW before he started working there. ECW had rebranded from Eastern Championship Wrestling to Extreme Championship Wrestling in 1994, but RVD didn’t join the company until 1996. He told Satin about the appeal of seeing the show on TV and explained why it was a bit intimidating at first, too.
“One time I saw ECW, and I was so drawn to the car crash appeal of it. I saw Sabu jump off a chair in the middle of the ring up to the top rope in the middle and dive off into the crowd. I saw a ball of fire go out of the tiny, under the guard rail, into the crowd. Everything I was seeing, it was almost like—how is that ‘pro wrestling’ if what I’ve been doing is pro wrestling? It was intimidating because it was all adults, no kids, and they all wore black shirts and listened to this hard rock music. It was so adult-themed, you know. I was glued to it.”
RVD also explained why winning the WWE title is his crowning achievement because what it stood for as an ECW alum.
“That was my crowning moment, obviously, and not just because I reached a number one spot, having the WWE Championship. There’s so much more to it than that because that moment, that night, all of that, was me sticking to my guns. I went to Vince [McMahon] with the idea of bringing ECW back for a pay-per-view because I said you got so many guys wrestling on your roster right now that are former ECW alumni. And we loved ECW, we could go one night, ECW style, just let us pay tribute to ECW. And so knowing that I was fighting for what I believed in and everybody, everyone in that crowd… they were so 100% behind me, my beliefs, everything that I stood for. They shared that passion with me and they were 100% against everything that Cena stood for in their mind.”
“So it was really a [one of a kind night] out of my whole career experience. Winning that night really felt like a victory, not just for me but for all the hardcore fans, it really did. It felt like everyone that had been supportive back in the day of ECW, that had continued to support the ECW alumni, everyone that really preferred and missed that style, they were all rewarded that night.”
The full episode is available below: