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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Up In Smoke. Has RVD Blown it"
September 21, 2006 by Paul Smiles


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Many Years ago in a time where three wrestling companies were producing the best TV wrestling fans could imagine I turned on a little show called ECW Hardcore TV. Here I saw a performer that would lodge himself in my mind as one of my favorite wrestlers and today he still is. This man is Rob Van Dam. RVD spent most of his career in ECW as THE most over (popular) wrestler in the organization and took a second string title (TV title) to the point where it nearly eclipsed the world title. From stealing the show be it with 23 month title runs or mesmerizing and innovative moves every night he impressed me. Van Dam finally landed in the WWF (at the time) in June 2001 in time for the now infamous invasion angle. This is where Van Dams Struggle began.

After a blistering debut to the big companies PPV against Jeff Hardy, RVD seemed in good favour as he was thrust into the main event 5 months after his debut. He was locking up with Kurt Angle and Steve Austin for the WWF title and returned to the main event the following month to help his team in the winner takes all survivor series match between Team WWF and The Alliance. After this RVD slumped down into mid card and was still having good solid matches and amidst various Intercontinental and later on Tag Team Title runs he rarely reached the main event pinnacle to which some people thought he deserved. With circulating stories that certain people didn't like his style most fans believed he would never lift "the big one". In 2002 Rob returned to the main event picture with a singles outing with Triple H in which many believed would be his time (and wasn't) and also as a member in the Elimination Chamber in November at the Survivor Series. As the years clicked on Van Dam would not return to the top tier matches and slipped into his usual regime of Mid card titles and feuds. Being frequently billed as the most talented athlete Never to lift a world title even the announcers were making it obvious that Van Dam had not reached the promise land. A move to Smackdown! didn't help his cause but while he was on the injured list with a torn ACL, something happened to RVD that would start the ball rolling towards the big one.

An emotional appearance at ECW One Night Stand in June 2005 was just the start as a normally subdued and heavily scripted promo giver, Van Dam delivered a blistering shoot promo about his love for ECW and his WWE misuse. This was followed up by a draft to RAW and left people anticipating his return to ring action. Even the WWE made a big deal of compiling vignettes and promoting the return of the once billed "Whole FN Shown". In January RVD returned to action in the Royal Rumble match to a huge ovation and was part of the final four in the ring along with Triple H, Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio. Although Rob didn't win the rumble he was involved in the road to WrestleMania tournament and reached the final alongside Triple H and Big Show. After this latest set-back RVD qualified for the Money in The Bank ladder match at WrestleMania and fans started to take notice. When RVD grabbed that briefcase they started to realise they could very well be looking at the next WWE Champion. RVD gained more and more momentum leading up to his homecoming and the place where he was going to utilize his title chance at ECW One Night Stand 2006. A year after his emotional speech to his loyal fans he was now wrestling in front of them for the biggest prize in wrestling. In what turned out to be an amazing night for not just Rob and wife Sonya but all the RVD and ECW fans that knew Rob was good enough to carry the world title. The moment still lives with me as RVD celebrated with the ECW faithful on the biggest win of his career. RVD was now at the helm of the company and was both WWE and ECW World Champion, he started on his run that would prove all his detractors wrong as he had very solid title defenses of both belts against Kurt Angle and a very impressive WWE title victory over Edge at Vengeance this year. The wave RVD was riding was about to crash as on July 2nd after an ECW House show the police pulled over RVD and charged him and his long time partner and friend Sabu with possession of drugs (marijuana and pills). Both men were fined by the WWE but for RVD he lost both his World titles and in two nights he lost the two things that he had spent his whole career trying to achieve. For those among the WWE and wrestling that were willing Rob to mess up as champion they had their moment, Rob served a suspension and has only recently returned to ECW television. After years of amazing matches and memorable moments cumulating in his big win over Cena, then his fall from grace at the hands of his social hobby and the law one must think if RVD can ever retain his world title push again. True RVD fans and some won over skeptics saw first hand RVD is capable we can only hope it's a matter of time before Rob climbs the ladder of success again to once again reclaiming the world title that many people said he would never win.

by Paul Smiles..


Mike Timko wrote:
Rob is going to be in the dog house for a while, but I think he'll make a comeback. There are guys that have done worse things than getting caught with some herb, and they went on to have good careers. Everyone deserves a second chance.
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