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Dark Pegasus Video Review: Rob Van Dam: One Of A Kind 2-Disc

February 11, 2005 | Posted by J.D. Dunn

Old Business: Regarding my review of Eddie Guerrero: Cheating Death, Stealing Life and a response it garnered in my Rise and Fall of ECW review (Ha ha! Cheap plugs!)…

Ryan McNeil: To add a little more to what Baldo Flores was saying about the Art Barr-Blue Panther feud, Panther came back about a year later, and actually got to wrestle Barr a few times, once in a Mask vs. Hair match. It was an opportunity to try to get revenge on Barr, but Panther only got the win via DQ, when Jerry Estrada (I think it was him…) intervened to try to stop Barr from piledriving Panther again. Naturally, Panther was unsatisfied, because it’s a pretty serious, high-stakes match, and he didn’t get his revenge on Barr for trying to end his career a year ago. Plus, Barr tried to end his career again with the same move. That’s why the arena went rabid, when Panther finally got to directly cost Barr his hair. The way it was paid off was beautiful.

Thanks very much for that tidbit.

In the interests of full disclosure, I should note that Rob Van Dam was nice enough to autograph a Burger King crown for my nephew when they came through town in 2002. By all reports, he was pretty cool. Bradshaw, however, complained that they put mustard on his burger when he didn’t order it. Maybe it was pickles. I don’t remember. Also, Shawn Stasiak was with them. Perhaps applying for a job on bun detail.

Rob Van Dam: One of a Kind

  • Your host is Josh Mathews who talks about Van Dam’s flexibility and martial arts background.
  • Rob went to WCW in December of 1992. Then-promoter Bill Watts really liked him so they gave him a series of wins. They decided Rob couldn’t call himself “Rob Van Dam” because of “Jean-Claude”, so they came up with “Robby V” instead. We see footage of him against jobber Pat Rose. He went to All Japan Pro-Wrestling to fulfill his commitments, and when he came back, Watts was gone and Ole Anderson had replaced him. Anderson jobbed him out, including a loss to Vinnie Vegas (Kevin Nash). Rob knew it was time to move on.
  • Scotty Flamingo vs. Robby V. (WCW Worldwide — 2/13/93)

    Interesting that they have full matches within the main program instead of listed under the extras. Flamingo, you know as Raven. Flamingo shoulderblocks him down, but Robby back handsprings over him as he drops down. Robby sloppily springboards into a crossbody (the ropes were very loose). He tries to walk up the ropes, but Flamingo backdrops him to counter. Flamingo gets two off a reverse elbow. Robby V gets two off a backslide, but Flamingo dropkicks him for two. Scotty slows things down with a chinlock. Robby comes back with a spinning heel kick and slings Flamingo into the turnbuckle. A front powerslam and split-legged moonsault finishes Flamingo at 3:18. Brisk little jobber match. *3/4

  • Rob was intimidated by the crowd when he went to ECW. He was worried the crowd would eat him alive if he screwed up. He says that, while his first match with Axl Rotten wasn’t a classic, he was able to showcase some of his moves and get a win.
  • Rob Van Dam vs. Axl Rotten (ECW Hardcore TV — 01/05/96).

    Styles points out the obvious difference in styles here. Axl avoids some kicks and patronizes Van Dam. Axl stalls a lot and jaws with the fans. Van Dam reverses a whip, splits down, and delivers a Japanese armdrag. He springboards into Rotten for two. Van Dam does the back handspring into a should block that’s still part of his arsenal. A forward roll into a double chop (like Konnan used to do) gets two. Axl comes back with a headbutt. Van Dam backflips over a backdrop attempt but misses a spin kick. Axl throws him over with a reverse T-Bone and mocks Van Dam’s martial arts poses. Axl hammers him in the corner with forearms. Van Dam works in the Marty Janetty spinning sell of a clothesline. Axl goes up and misses an elbow. Van Dam sweeps the legs and gets two with a flying splash (not yet a Five Star). Rotten rolls to the outside, so Van Dam follows him out with a somersault plancha. Back in, Van Dam hits a thrust kick off the top and gets two off a standing moonsault. Axl misses a charge to the corner. Van Dam front powerslams him and finishes with the split-legged moonsault at 6:12. Decent showcase to debut Van Dam to the ECW crowd. **

  • Van Dam talks about going to The Original Sheikh to train in 1989. The Sheikh put him in with his nephew Sabu, who was a gifted amateur wrestler. Sabu showed Van Dam some amateur moves, while Van Dam taught Sabu how to be an acrobat. Great. So, instead of being the next Kurt Angle, Sabu became the next Jeff Hardy (or, I guess, the pre-Jeff Hardy). Rob talks about touring with Sabu and wrestling him everywhere they went. He credits Sabu for showing him how to treat fans. Talks about Sabu being the first guy to put people through tables regularly. Sabu was already known in ECW, so that really helped Van Dam get over when they faced off.
  • Rob Van Dam vs. Sabu (ECW Hardcore Heaven — 06-22-96).

    Sabu is wearing a neckbrace. This whole feud started at Hostile City Showdown when Sabu defeated Van Dam, but Van Dam refused to shake his hand. Van Dam won a return match, but there was interference, so we get this rubber match. Sabu dives at Van Dam’s legs and stomps on them. Van Dam sells like he’s in his 59th minute with Ric Flair. A springboard into a leg lariat gets two. Sabu chinlocks him for a bit. The ropes snap again (as they did in an earlier match). Sabu improvises by grabbing a chair and throwing it into Van Dam’s face. He botches the triple jump moonsault but gets it right on the second attempt. Crowd chants for a table spot. Hey, there just happens to be a table at ringside. Van Dam tries to suplex Sabu through it, but Sabu counters by crotching him on the railing and hitting a suicide dive out onto him. They fight into the bleachers where Van Dam sets a chair on his face and legdrops it. Silly spot there as Sabu had to hold the chair on his face because it kept sliding off. Sabu appears to hurt his wrist as he makes it back to the ring. Van Dam grabs another chair and goes up top. He comes off with a somersault, smashing the chair into Sabu (who had to stand there staring at RVD for a good three seconds while Rob got positioned). That gets two. Sabu comes back with a dropkick to the knee. He springboards off a chair into a leg lariat in the corner. The ropes look like we’re at a Stampede show. RVD monkey flips Sabu onto a chair for two. A cross armlock doesn’t go anywhere. A standing moonsault gets two. Sabu dropkicks the knee again and delivers a slingshot bulldog. Van Dam flips out of a backdrop suplex attempt, and they fall through the ropes. Sabu gets that convoluted legdrop to a guy hanging in between the ropes thing that was en vogue during the late nineties. He ups the ante by making it a slingshot into an Arabian Guillotine. Van Dam kicks a chair into Sabu’s face and flies out on top of him with a somersault plancha. Van Dam misses a reverse elbow. Sabu sets up the table and runs across it into a flying leg lariat. He sets the table across the apron and the guardrail and lays Van Dam on top of it. Van Dam gets off, so Sabu hits a running springboard bodypress suicida. Sabu pushes him back on the table and gets a silly springboard into a DDT through the table. Impressive spot, but it’s like those “America’s Funniest Home Videos” tapes where the kid just happens to be carrying a pie towards a rake that is conveniently located under his dad’s crotch. In fact, a lot of ECW is like that. Back in, Sabu crotches himself trying the Triple Jump Moonsault. Van Dam springboards and kicks him off the ropes. Rob sets a chair up in the corner of the guardrail and suplexes Sabu on it. That gets two. Sabu blocks a superplex and comes off the top with a DDT. Rob gets his foot on the ropes. Rob catches Sabu going up and catches him with a SUPER FISHERMAN’S BUSTER! It only gets two because partial paralyses isn’t enough to stop the man from Bombay. Sabu comes back with his own Fisherman’s Buster. He delivers a somersault into an Arabian Facebuster. ONE, TWO, THREE! Sabu picks up the win at 19:40 (apparently clipped from 20:33). Sabu is stretchered out. A lot of people like this match, but I just couldn’t get into it. Way too many meaningless spots, psychology that was dropped at their whim, and general sloppiness here. They did do some nice stuff, though, so give them credit there. **3/4

  • Van Dam says that he and Sabu were like family. He talks about the Eliminators (Saturn and Kronus) and how Sabu would take him aside and tell them how to work with them. Rob’s glad Sabu had his back.
  • ECW Tag Titles: The Eliminators vs. Rob Van Dam & Sabu (ECW Crossing the Line Again — 02/01/97).

    Saturn starts with RVD. Van Dam drops him with a spinkick, but Saturn kicks right back. A dropkick gets two. Kronus wants in. Van Dam kicks the crap out of him and sets him up for a double slingshot splash from he and Sabu. Sabu springboards into a dropkick for two. Kronus comes back with a spinning wheel kick. A pump-handle suplex gets two. Sabu springboards into a leg lariat for two. Saturn tags in and the champs hit Van Dam with stereo spinning wheel kicks. Saturn stiffly clotheslines Van Dam down for two. Van Dam gets a flying Pedigree to set up Kai-en-tai’s camel clutch to a dropkick in the face. Van Dam puts Saturn in a Mexican surfboard. Sabu flies off the top, hitting the exposed Saturn. Kronus makes the save. Saturn pops up and hits a flying heel kick. Van drop toeholds Saturn and tags out to Sabu. Saturn hits Sabu with a Falcon Arrow for two. Van Dam and Kronus brawl on the outside as Saturn delivers the Diamond Cutter to Sabu. Saturn tries to help his partner on the outside, but RVD reverses his whip, sending him out into the crowd. Sabu springboards into a suicida onto Saturn. Back in, Sabu throws a chair at Saturn’s face, but that only serves to piss him off. The challengers doubleteam Saturn with a single leg crab and springboard legdrop. Van Dam hits Saturn with a somersault splash for two. Saturn delivers a spinning back kick and makes the tag to Kronus. Kronus splashes him for two before Sabu makes the save. Saturn comes in with a frogsplash. Kronus gets two from that. Van Dam and Sabu return the favor with a simultaneous splash and legdrop on Kronus. For no real reason, Kronus recovers first. Sabu reverses a chinlock into a hammerlock. Saturn sets up Sabu for a Kronus spinning enzuigiri. Sabu misses a clothesline. Saturn doesn’t. Kronus kicks Sabu in the back of the head, knocking him into a Saturn thrust kick. Kronus springboards into a senton. Sabu backdrops him over. He tries to springboard into a suicida, but Saturn kicks his legs out from under him. Van Dam planchas onto him instead. Van Dam and Sabu set up a table in the ring, but Saturn jumps them before they can do anything with it. Saturn brings in a ladder (a shoddy one too, like you’d see a 70 year-old man named “Vern” using to paint the top of his shed). Sabu missile dropkicks him off of it. Sabu and Van Dam double legdrop the ladder on the Eliminators. They go one better by slingshotting into a somersault legdrop on the ladder. They set the ladder up and both Sabu and RVD go up. The Eliminators recover and hit Total Elimination on the ladder, knocking RVD and Sabu down. Saturn has the bright idea to set the ladder on top of the table and climb it. Sabu springboards into a thrust kick, knocking Saturn off the ladder. Sabu gets the Triple Jump Moonsault, but Saturn knocks Van Dam into the way. Sabu takes out his own partner. Total Elimination finishes Van Dam at 20:00 (20:07 announced). As over-choreographed spotfests go, this was pretty good. ***3/4

  • Onto ECW’s first PPV. He wasn’t booked on the show, which offended him and sent him running to Eric Bischoff. Bisch offered him more money to leave. Paul Heyman went into overdrive to try and keep Van Dam, coming up with an angle for him. Chris Candido was injured, so Van Dam substituted and got a victory over Lance Storm. After the match, Van Dam bitterly informed the crowd that he was not their bench warmer. He belonged on Monday nights.
  • Rob Van Dam vs. Lance Storm (ECW Barely Legal — 04/13/97).

    Storm backs him into the corner off a waistlock. Storm avoids a monkey flip and clotheslines Van Dam down. Van Dam kicks him in the face and armdrags him down. He throws Storm to the outside and somersault planchas out on top of him. Back in, Van Dam slams him and drops a leg off the top for two. Storm delivers a springboard into a back elbow out of nowhere. He dropkicks Van Dam off the apron into the guardrail. A Storm pescado misses. Van Dam moonsaults him off the railing. Van Dam tosses Storm back in and hits him with a 90 mph chair throw to the face. Van Dam dropkicks the chair into Storm’s face. Van Dam’s flying Pedigree sets up the Five Star Frogsplash. ONE, TWO, TH-NO! Van Dam throws another chair at his head. Rob sets up the chair in the middle of the ring, but Storm avoids the monkey flip and reverse powerslams RVD into the chair! Storm avoids a spinning wheel kick and hits one of his own. A cartwheel splash sets up a crossbody by Storm. That gets two. Storm slides between Van Dam’s legs and comes up with a Single Leg Crab. Van Dam backdrops Storm to the apron. He pulls Storm down and slingshots into a guillotine legdrop. Van Dam tries the Van Daminator, but Storm ducks and delivers the lamest chairshot you’ll ever see. Van Dam barely sells it. Storm makes up for it with a Tigerbomb on the chair for two. Van Dam starts to set up the chair, so Storm goes up and legdrops Van Dam’s head right into it. They fight over a waistlock. Van Dam crotches him on the top rope and springboards into a back elbow. Storm comes back with a Bridging German Suplex for two. Storm lays in some more bad chairshots. Van Dam makes him pay with the Van Daminator. A standing moonsault finishes Storm moments later at 10:10. After the match, Van Dam tells everyone in ECW he doesn’t owe any of them respect. Crowd chants “You sold out!” throughout his whole promo. **1/2

  • Van Dam says everyone expected him to show up on “Nitro.” Instead, he showed up on “Raw,” represented by Jerry Lawler who dubs him “Mr. Monday Night.” RVD defeated Jeff Hardy, giving ECW exposure. Of course, now it’s “Mr. Thursday Night.”
  • Rob Van Dam vs. Jeff Hardy (WWE Raw — 05/12/97).

    Lawler gets on the stick and runs down ECW. He says we no longer have to take his word for it because former ECW star Van Dam has been there. Van Dam does his splits into a monkey flip and nearly kills Hardy with the flying Pedigree. A spin kick sends Hardy all the way to the outside. Van Dam follows him out with a somersault plancha. Back in, a spinning legdrop sets up a slam and Five Star Frogsplash. The front powerslam and split-legged moonsault finish at 2:29. Hardy never even got a move in. 1/2*

  • Rob talks about “the Van Dam lift.” Van Dam does the splits across two benches and lifts up a dumbbell. After the event, he says he never wanted to be called the “showstopper,” he’s the whole f’n show. A nickname was born.
  • Flag vs. Flag: Rob Van Dam (w/Bill Alphonso) vs. Tommy Dreamer (w/Beulah McGillicutty) (ECW November to Remember — 11/30/97).

    So, RVD is the WWE-turncoat. Dreamer is the ECW loyalist out to defend the honor of Philly. Dreamer’s leg is in a cast, so RVD goes right after it. They fight over an overhand knucklelock. Van Dam delivers a corkscrew legdrop but stops to mug for the camera. Dreamer walks up behind him and Russian Leg Sweeps him. RVD avoids the DDT and ducks out. Van Dam jaws with the fans long enough for Dreamer to hit him with a sliding dropkick. Van Dam springboards off the guardrail into a somersault plancha. Dreamer crotches him on the guardrail and hits him in the head with a chair. Back in, Tommy ties him into the ropes. He’s about to give him that Raven-esque chairshot, but Alphonso trips him up. We’re clipped to Van Dam bleeding from the eye on the outside. Alphonso assists as Van Dam springboard thrust kicks the chair into Dreamer’s face. Back in, Van Dam dropkicks the chair into Dreamer’s face. Fonzie even gets a few shots in. Van Dam dropkicks the chair into his face again and delivers a leg drop. Van Dam goes up, but Dreamer catches him and crotches him on the top. Dreamer delivers a hangmen’s neckbreaker for two. Dreamer ties him in the tree-of-woe and gets a chair from Beulah. He dropkicks it into Van Dam’s face. “Payback is a bitch,” says Styles. Dreamer goes up, but Fonzie gives him a chairshot. Van Dam delivers the rolling splash for two. Van Dam tries the split-legged moonsault, but Dreamer gets the knees up. Dreamer goes for the DDT, but Van Dam gives him an STO into the chair. Van Dam gets cheeky with a splits on the ropes. Dreamer kicks him in the nuts and DDTs him. Alphonso pulls the ref out and hits him over the head with a road sign. Referees Jim Molyneaux and John Finnegan run down to take over. Meanwhile, RVD wakes up and clocks Dreamer with a chair. RVD tosses the chair to Dreamer to set up the Van Daminator, so Tommy just WHACKS him in the head with it. ONE, TWO, THR-Evil ref Jeff Jones breaks up the count and takes out Molyneaux. Dreamer is about to DDT Jones before RVD attacks with the chair. Dreamer blocks it and schoolboys him. Finnegan tries to count, but Jones breaks that up. Jones picks a fight with both Finnegan and Molyneaux. Beulah gets involved, kicking Jeff Jones in the nads. The babyface referees double DDT him and do the Dreamer pose. Fonzie runs in and punches them in the giblets. Beulah comes back in and low blows Fonzie! Let’s see, that’s eight (8) balls hit in the last 30 seconds. Van Dam goes after Beulah, but Dreamer schoolboys him again. Beulah counts (?!?) but it only gets two. Van Dam does the best sell EVER of a piledriver, bouncing a foot into the air. Unfortunately, that only gets two. Dreamer DDTs him and grabs the ECW flag. Doug Furnas and Phil Lafon of the WWF run in. Dreamer takes them out but falls victim to the superkick by Steven Richards. They set a trash can on Dreamer’s chest, and Van Dam Frog Splashes it into him. Furnas, Lafon, Fonzie and Richards count the fall at 15:29. Fonzie hangs the WWF flag, despite no official verdict from the referees. Typical ECW-ish goofy fun with everyone and everything getting tied together at the end. ***3/4

  • On to Bam Bam Bigelow. Van Dam says that the things that stick out from their TV Title match were the dives out into the crowd. He reminds us that there’s not much margin for error in those kinds of spots. He says that match was his peak of popularity.
  • ECW Television Title: Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Rob Van Dam (w/Bill Alphonso) (04/04/98).

    The idea here was for Van Dam to soften up Bigelow so that Sabu could take the title a few days later. Bigelow heel picks him and stiffs the hell out of Van Dam’s face with forearms. Van Dam comes back with a spinning wheel kick and a Tiger Wall Flip. Bigelow catches him and powerbombs him down. Van Dam takes a breather and mugs with Fonzie out on the floor. Bigelow avoids an enzuigiri and rams Van Dam into the turnbuckle. Van Dam comes back with a thrust kick and crossbody off the top. A top rope thrust kick sets up the somersault splash. Van Dam charges, but Bigelow low bridges the ropes, spilling Van Dam to the railing. Bigelow rams Van Dam’s back into the ringpost. Van Dam hits him with a springboard kick off the rail. Van Dam tries to headscissor him, but Bigelow throws him into the crowd. Van Dam snaps Bigelow’s face into the guard rail. He springboards off into a huracanrana. Van Dam goes to the top rope and dives out onto Bigelow in one of the most famous spots in the match. Van Dam goes back up and tops himself with a somersault plancha into the crowd. Bigelow starts to crawl over the railing, so Van Dam drops a guillotine legdrop across his back. Bigelow floors him with a desperation clothesline and powerbombs him on a table. An elbow drop from the apron finally breaks the table. Bigelow tries to suplex him in, but Van Dam snaps his neck off the ropes. Van Dam tries a huracanrana, but it’s countered to a powerbomb. Bigelow misses the moonsault. Van Dam goes up and gets two off a Five Star Frogsplash. Bigelow catches him with a Samoan Drop for two. A sickening brainbuster gets two. Bigelow picks Van Dam up for the Greatings from Asbury Park (Fire Thunder Driver). Sabu runs out and makes the save. Sabu and Van Dam try Poetry in Motion, but Bigelow catches Sabu and throws him into Van Dam. Sabu stabs Bigelow in the eye, enabling Van Dam to hit him with the Van Daminator. Bigelow trips over Sabu and gets Jackknifed by Van Dam. ONE, TWO, THREE! Van Dam wins the ECW TV Title at 14:38. As usual with ECW, lots of insane spots, lots of crazy booking, not much else. ***

  • Van Dam says if he had to show someone a quintessential Van Dam match, he’d show one from his series with Jerry Lynn. When they first started, it was just on syndication but they still went out and gave PPV-like effort. He tried to help Lynn elevate himself. The RVD vs. Lynn series was more about wrestling than brawling and they brought the most out of each other.
  • ECW TV Title: Rob Van Dam (w/Bill Alphonso) vs. Jerry Lynn (ECW Living Dangerously — 03/21/99).

    Mat wrestling sequence to start, to show that they’re equal and stuff. Lynn slips over Van Dam’s shoulder. Van Dam moonsaults over him, but then Lynn springboards into a crossbody block. Van Dam misses a somersault legdrop. Van Dam catches Lynn with an atomic drop, but takes a moment to mock him. Lynn clotheslines Van Dam out. Lynn counters the splits with a legdrop to the neck and clotheslines Van Dam over. Lynn hurls himself off the top onto Van Dam. Lynn springboards into a crossbody into the crowd. Back in, Van Dam dropkicks him in the face. Van Dam tries a springboard move, but Lynn dropkicks him in the back and sends him into the railing. RVD whips him into the railing and guillotines his head. Lynn appears to injure his knee. Van Dam drapes him across the apron and springboards off the railing into a legdrop across the chest. Fonzie tosses a chair in. RVD puts it on the ground and puts Lynn in a Mexican Surfboard while laying on the chair. That’s pretty clever, seeing as how we’re programmed to think the attacker will have to break the hold because his shoulders are down. Not as clever as just hitting Lynn over the head with it, but clever nonetheless. RVD sets up for the monkey flip onto the chair, but Lynn avoids it and springboards into a sunset flip, crashing Van Dam’s head down on the chair. Ouch! That only gets two. Van Dam counters a piledriver attempt by backdropping Lynn over. Lynn powers into a bridge, but his DDT is countered to an atomic drop. Van Dam goes for a Northern Lights Suplex, but Lynn slips over and drops him with a reverse DDT on the chair. That gets two. Fonzie gets involved, and they do an incredibly complex Jackie Chan sequence with the chair. It ends with Van Dam missing a leg sweep and Lynn dropping a leg on the back of his head, driving him facefirst into the chair. That only gets two. Lynn goes up with the chair, but Fonzie distracts him long enough for RVD to recover. They fight over the chair on the top rope. Van Dam springboards and dropkicks the chair into Lynn’s face (with Lynn holding it in place while Van Dam got ready). Lynn falls backwards through a well-placed table. Back in, it only gets two again. Van Dam front slams Lynn and puts the chair on him. Lynn grabs the chair and gets his knees up to counter the split-legged moonsault. Van Dam counters a sunset flip with a chairshot. They go through the token sunset flip reversal sequence that they always manage to work in. Van Dam misses a clothesline, and Lynn hits him with a Bridging German Suplex. ONE, TWO, THR-NO! Lynn backdrops Van Dam to the apron. They fight on the turnbuckle again and Lynn Tornado DDTs Van Dam into a table. The table doesn’t give! Back in, Van Dam counters a Northern Lights Suplex and clotheslines Lynn down. Van Dam slams him down and hits Rolling Thunder for two. Lynn goes for a Tornado DDT. Van Dam counters to a Northern Lights Attempt. Lynn then counters THAT and gets his DDT. Time expires at 20:00. Crowd chants for five more minutes, so Finnegan grants it. Lynn dropkicks Van Dam at the bell and drops him with a piledriver. Fonzie tosses Lynn a chair. Lynn swings at Van Dam but misses. Van Dam hits the Van Daminator and finishes with the Five Star Frogsplash at 22:58 total time. I’m a sucker for Lynn/Van Dam. ****

  • RVD broke his leg on a simple baseball slide. He had to forfeit the title after nearly two years of holding it.
  • Most memorable spots: Sabu and RVD set Bigelow on a table and dive off into him. The table broke jaggedly and sliced through his eyelid.
  • The Van Terminator: RVD and Fonzie hyped a move called “the Van Terminator.” He tells Scotty Anton that he’s going to debut the move against him for trying to injure him. The crowd started chanting for the move even though they didn’t know what it was. Van Dam springboarded all the way across the ring to dropkick a chair into Anton’s face.
  • Rhyno quickly disposes of the Sandman and issues an open challenge to anyone who wants to take the title. Van Dam answers but immediately gets punked out by Jerry Lynn. So,…
  • Jerry Lynn (w/Cyrus) vs. Rob Van Dam (Guilty as Charged — 01/07/01).

    Lynn avoids a legsweep. RVD avoids the legdrop on the back of the neck. Lynn tries to backdrop him, but RVD lands on his feet. Van Dam goes out and shakes hands with the crowd while Lynn consults Cyrus. After an eternity of playing to the crowd, they work off a wristlock. Van Dam sweeps the leg but misses a legdrop. Lynn crossbodies both of them to the floor. Van Dam moonsaults onto him from the guardrail. Van Dam sets Lynn on the guardrail and hits a corkscrew guillotine legdrop. Back in, Lynn slips out of a suplex but gets press-slammed. Van Dam moonsaults onto him kips up and springboards into another moonsault. Van Dam goes for the somersault into the monkey flip, but Lynn levels him with a clothesline. Van Dam backdrops Lynn to the apron and tries to ram him, but Lynn jumps over him and drops a leg on the back of his head. Back in, Lynn gets two. Van Dam reverses a whip but runs into a sunset flip for two. They go through the usual reversal sequence. Lynn kicks him in the nuts and gets two off a bad schoolboy rollup. Van Dam hits him with Rolling Thunder for two. He dropkicks the chair into Lynn’s face. They repeat the spot from Living Dangerously ’99 where Lynn avoids the monkey flip and sunset flips Van Dam onto the chair. Van Dam charges into a boot. Lynn goes for the Tornado DDT, countered to a Northern Lights by Van Dam. Lynn slips out of that, but Van Dam snapmares him over. Lynn German suplexes him for two. Cyrus slides in a chair. Van Dam tries to backdrop him over, but Lynn counters to a DDT. Van Dam gets a boot up to counter a charge. He springboards into a sidekick and goes up for the Five Star Frogsplash. Cyrus distracts him long enough for Lynn to avoid the splash. Lynn rolls him up for two. Joel Gertner runs in and DDTs Cyrus. Van Dam ducks a chairshot and nails the Van Daminator. Gertner holds the chair while Van Dam delivers the Van Terminator. One, two, three. Van Dam avenges the ECW name at 19:39. Not nearly as fun as their Living Dangerously match. The run-in by Gertner didn’t help. ***

    DISC TWO:

  • It was difficult to adjust to the WWE-style. Early on, he went after the hardcore title so he was able to disguise his flaws. He doesn’t say it like that, but read between the lines. He says they got rid of the Hardcore title because no one could keep up with him. He wants them to bring it back.
  • WWF Hardcore Title: Jeff Hardy vs. Rob Van Dam (Invasion — 7/22/01).

    Obviously, Jeff is much more of a player here than he was when they met in 1997. Jeff misses a legdrop on the neck, and they both miss somersault legdrops. Crowd chants “RVD” so he poses for them. Jeff sneaks up behind him and dropkicks him in the back. Van Dam misses a charge in the corner. Hardy dropkicks his face into the turnbuckle. Hardy reverses a monkey flip to his legdrop into a rollup. Van Dam charges into an atomic drop but ducks Hardy’s crossbody dive and nails him with a moonsault for two. Van Dam delivers the flying Pedigree (notice how quickly he dropped that once he entered the WWF). Rolling Thunder gets two. Van Dam goes up, so Hardy pushes him to the floor. A baseball slide sets up the rail run clothesline. Van Dam cuts him off and knocks him into the crowd. RVD moonsaults off the second section barrier onto Hardy. He sets Hardy on the apron and delivers the corkscrew guillotine legdrop for two. Hardy sunset flips him off the apron into the outside mat. He pulls a ladder out from under the ring and goes up. Van Dam scurries into the ring and tips the ladder over, giving Ross the opportunity to bust out the “How do you learn to fall off a twenty foot ladder!” and “How’s he even able to stand is what I wanna know” soundbites that you hear on every WWE DVD. Van Dam grabs a chair, but Hardy takes it away from him. Jeff tries to use it but takes the Van Daminator. The corkscrew legdrop gets two for Van Dam. Back to the ring, Van Dam dropkicks the chair into Hardy’s face. Hardy blocks the split-legged moonsault by getting his knees up. A DDT gets a series of two counts. Hardy drops him with a backdrop suplex, but that only gets two. Jeff goes up for the Swanton, but RVD rolls out of the way. Van Dam puts the Hardcore belt on Jeff and finishes with the Five Star Frogsplash at 12:32. ***1/2

  • RVD talks about his Five Star Frogsplash not being the most original move. WCW wanted him to come up with something with more impact than the split-legged moonsault. He decided he’d just throw his body in the air and come down with all the force he could. He says that makes his the best. I was always partial to the Low Down myself.
  • Rob Van Dam vs. Chris Jericho (King of the Ring — 06-23-02).

    These is the infamous semi-final match. They battle over a wristlock early on. Both men miss clotheslines. Van Dam delivers a reverse elbow and they both go for dropkicks. Jericho slaps him in the face, so Van Dam returns the favor with the side of his foot. Van Dam delivers a monkey flip. Jericho comes back with a flying forearm. Jericho springboards but misses the crossbody. Van Dam follows him out with a somersault plancha. Back in, Van Dam hits a sidekick and goes up for the Frog Splash. Jericho kicks the ref into the ropes, crotching Van Dam on the top rope. Jericho double-arm superplexes him for two. A leg scissor rollup gets two for Van Dam. Jericho clotheslines him for two and unties the top turnbuckle. Van Dam small packages Jericho for two, but the ref is busy trying to repair the turnbuckle. Jericho drops Van Dam with the Breakdown. It only gets two, so Jericho unties his wrist tape and chokes him with it. Jericho misses the running vertical splash against the ropes. He comes back with a surfboard stretch. Van Dam avoids a charge in the corner, and Jericho’s shoulder goes right into the post. A springboard kick nets two for Van Dam. He cartwheels into a moonsault for two. Jericho avoids the leg sweep and drops Van Dam with an enzuigiri. That gets two. Van Dam avoids the bulldog but takes a German Suplex. It only gets two. Van Dam hot shots Jericho on the ropes and delivers a split-legged moonsault. That gets two. Van Dam reverses the Walls of Jericho to a rollup for two. Jericho misses a dropkick but avoids going into the exposed turnbuckle off a slingshot. Van Dam goes into it instead. Jericho gets the bulldog, but the Lionsault misses. Van Dam spinkicks him and goes up for the Five Star Frogsplash. IT MISSES! The Lionsault hits. ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Van Dam goes for a huracanrana. Jericho counters to the Walls of Jericho. Van Dam easily makes the ropes. The fight on the turnbuckle. Van Dam kicks Jericho back into the ring and finishes him with Five Star Frogsplash at 14:32. Not as bad as some said at the time, but not as great as other said. ***1/2

  • When Van Dam came to the WWE, he had to adjust to the rules and the WWE storytelling style. He says he can tell the difference between his old ECW fans coming up to him and the newer WWE fans. He says the ECW fans have to realize he has to make a choice about when to use those moves and when not to. You know, Van Dam acts really smarmy throughout these interview segments. They’re nuts if they don’t turn him heel when he comes back.
  • Intercontinental Title, Ladder Match: Rob Van Dam vs. Christian (Raw — 09/29/03).

    Van Dam misses an enzuigiri but hits a reverse giri. He goes out and gets a ladder. Christian cuts him off. Christian brings in his own ladder. Van Dam dropkicks it into him and flies out on top of him with a somersault plancha. Christian sets the ladder up between the ring barrier and ringsteps. Both men avoid being whipped into it, but Van Dam plants Christian on the ladder and delivers the corkscrew legdrop. Van Dam sets the ladder up in the corner. Christian reverses an Irish Whip, sending Rob into it. Christian sets it across the second rope and slingshots Van Dam’s face into it. Christian climbs for the belt, but Van Dam pushes it over. Van Dam press slams Christian onto the ladder and moonsaults him. Van Dam rams him to the outside and goes up. Christian catches up with him and delivers the Inverted DDT off the ladder. Christian sets up the ladder in the corner, but the cruel hand of irony intervenes as Rob monkey flips him into it. Van Dam delivers Rolling Thunder onto Christian on the ladder! Van Dam sets up a ladder but Christian yanks him off it. Rob Van Daminates the ladder into Christian’s face. Van Dam comes off for the frog splash, but Christian avoids. Van Dam crushes his own ribs against the ladder. Christian goes up, but Van Dam recovers. He comes off the ropes and dropkicks the ladder out from under Christian. Christian hits his face on the edge of the ladder, bloodying his lip. They both go up, battling on the ladder. The ladder tips over, sending Christian spill into the canvas. Van Dam sets to the other ladder that has been set up and delivers the Five Star off the ladder. Van Dam sets the ladder on top of Christian and climbs the ladder for the win and the title at 13:40. ***3/4

    Extras:

  • Before They Were Superstars: Rob’s mom says he was without fear. His dad says kids used to make fun of him because he wore glasses. Mom says he cried a lot. Both parents say he did a bunch of stupid stuff on the diving board. He used to write stories. One of his teachers said he was “academically gifted.” Did I put in the wrong DVD? Apparently Rob got bored with school and started goofing off.

    His teachers tell stories about all the stupid stuff he used to do. He got suspended for backflipping off the top of the school. That leads to The Million Dollar Man. Van Dam, as a teenager, accepts Ted Dibiase’s offer of $100 to kiss his smelly foot. Rob accepts.

    He took up kickboxing when wrestling didn’t work out. He turned down a scholarship and instead went to work out with The Original Sheik. That led to a job in Florida for $10/night. Van Dam was intimidated going to ECW because of the reputation. As such, he adapted his repertoire to their style. Van Dam says he’s an inspiration to those who think they can’t do it.

  • Airbrush Artist: Rob says that Giant Baba told him to do something to make himself stand out. Rob got his buddy, who was an airbrush artist, to paint some cool designs on his tights.
  • Frog Splash: Van Dam and Eddie Guerrero talk about the frog splash. Van Dam says its as close as you can come to flying. Van Dam says his is way better because he goes higher. Eddy says he’s the original. Eddy says he gets more impact, but RVD’s prettier.
  • Jakk’s Pacific Tour: Okay, we’re stretching it for content. He checks out his toys. Hey! One of them talks. **push** “Wanna smoke some paht!” Funny thing: The lady explains that they get enough images to last them several years but the one they show is Jamie Noble.
  • Fantasy Matchup: Everyone discusses a match-up between Jimmy Snuka and Rob Van Dam. They give Jimmy the strength advantage and Van Dam the speed advantage. It’s hard to say who would be the crowd favorite. They lean slightly towards RVD. Spike Dudley says Superfly has a harder splash. He also thinks that if Van Dam took Snuka to the floor, Van Dam would have the advantage. Most of the guys think Snuka could take Van Dam if they were both in their prime.
  • WrestleMania Moments: His friends got him hooked on wrestling. He went to WrestleMania III and was one of the many who watched Hulk Hogan slam Andre. In 2002, he made his WrestleMania debut. It was kewl.
  • Outside the Ropes: Name as many words as you can, in ten seconds, that rhyme with “dude.” Van Dam comes up with seven. Knowing RVD he meant “lude,” but the WWE family-friendly crew interpreted it as “lewd.” Many more drug jokes follow.
  • RVD Vignette #1: This vignette portrays him as the bastard child of Jeff Spicolli and Bruce Lee. I guess it’s fairly accurate.
  • RVD Vignette #2: Pretty much the same, only this one goes for the ironic.
  • Behind the Scenes: Van Dam helps out shooting the video for Breaking Point’s “One of a Kind,” which also serves as his entrance music.
  • Invasion Promo: Van Dam says he was always an action fan. There were always a bunch of big guys when he was growing up, but the guys who stuck with him were guys like Brady Boone, Lanny Poffo and Owen Hart..
  • ECW Television Title: Rob Van Dam (w/Bill Alphonso) vs. Balls Mahoney (Anarchy Rulz — 09/19/99).

    This match has alternate commentary with Heyman and RVD. Heyman tells us this was the largest crowd to ever witness an ECW live event (6,500) up to this point. RVD says the TV title was as important as the ECW World Title by that point. Balls takes him over with a backdrop suplex. He levels Van Dam with a clothesline off a back handspring. Heyman says that Balls was too rough to wrestle anywhere else. RVD avoids a charge and delivers a springboard sidekick. He gets two off a flying crossbody. A leg scissor rollup gets two more. They take it outside as RVD talks about how everyone was there to see him. Heyman goes into the history of ECW at the time. Taz and the Dudleyz had left. RVD’s contribution: Dude, I got chewing tobacco on my back. Fonzie tosses the chair to Balls, which backfires. Balls smashes beer into Rob’s head. Heyman rants against ECW detractors by hyping all these sell-outs that they had. Yes, but how much did it cost to go to those venues? Balls takes Van Dam over the top rope with a leg lariat. Pretty impressive. Into the crowd, Balls misses a chair swing and takes the Van Daminator. RVD somersaults from the top rope all the way into the crowd (which became one of images of “ECW on TNN’s” opening montage). You could see Balls directing traffic, though, which kind of ruins the effect. Van Dam credits Fonzie with providing a counterpoint to his cool persona. Balls gets caught going up. He pushes Van Dam off and drops a leg off the second rope. That gets two. Mahoney delivers a spinebuster as Heyman notes that Van Dam used to defend against faces and heels alike. Mahoney gets a frog splash for two. Van Dam catches Balls going up again and superplexes him off. Van Dam gets a silly springboard into a chaired dropkick. No reason for a springboard there. Van Dam gets caught going up but converts Balls’ bodyslam to a monkey flip. He tries to monkey flip Balls on to the chair, but Mahoney counters to a powerbomb on the chair. Van Dam tries a Northern Lights Suplex, but Balls counters to a DDT on the chair. A piledriver gets two. Balls superkicks him and grabs the chair. Van Dam misses the Van Daminator and takes a WICKED chairshot to the head. ONE, TWO, THRE-Fonzie breaks up the count with a chairshot. He hits Balls in the head with the chair. No effect. Balls misses a swing at Fonzie and gets Van Daminatored. ONE, TWO, TH-NO! FIVE STAR FROGSPLASH! One, two, three. (19:39). A lot of people hated this match at the time because Balls replaced much-loved Johnny Smith, but it’s not so bad for what it was. **

  • Rob Van Dam vs. Sabu (Hostile City Showdown — 04/20/96).

    Sabu intimidates announcer Joel Gertner into making it a “no time limit” match. Sabu dives at RVD’s legs. Van Dam keeps moving, though. Finally, he gets a single leg takedown. Van Dam misses a spinkick but delivers the guillotine. A bodyslam sets up the somersault splash. Sabu stretches him across the middle rope and drops a guillotine legdrop. It gets two. Sabu goes to the Camel Clutch. He drops that in favor of the single leg crab. Sabu dropkicks RVD in the knee. He backflips off a backdrop and dropkicks Van Dam in the leg again. He sets him on top and dropkicks Van Dam to the floor. Sabu follows him with a somersault plancha. They fight into the crowd and a chair gets involved. Sabu Triple Jumps into a springboard crossbody into the crowd. Sabu sets up a table between the guardrail and the apron. Van Dam gets out of the way. Sabu tries…something but slips up. Van Dam comes off with a sidekick to the ribs. He somersaults off the apron with a chair. Back inside, a powerbomb sets up the Mexican Surfboard. Van Dam locks in a side leglock. He lets it go and peppers Sabu with kicks. Sabu comes back with a DDT. Van Dam leapfrogs over a Sabu Triple Jump charge. He grabs the chair and misses a swing, accidentally throwing the chair into the crowd. A kind fan tosses it back to him. Van Dam sets the chair up and delivers a running somersault plancha. A jackknife gets two. Sabu catches Van Dam on top, but Van Dam pushes him through the table. Van Dam misses a double ax-handle. Sabu sets him on another table and delivers a somersault legdrop through the table. Back in, Sabu gets two. A springboard into a moonsault gets two. Sabu delivers a glancing blow but can’t capitalize. Van Dam gets a Bridging German for two. Van Dam drags Sabu across the apron and slingshots into a legdrop. That gets two. Van Dam tries to set up a chair but gets driven into it. Sabu sets him on the ropes and drops him down with a DDT. ONE, TWO, TH-NO! The Triple Jump Moonsault finishes Van Dam at 18:57. Van Dam refuses to shake Sabu’s hand, kicking off their 1996 feud. Typical ECW spotfest other than that important moment. **1/4

  • Underdog Challenge: Robby V. vs. Pat Rose (WCW Saturday Night — 01/23/93).

    This was RVD’s WCW debut. The idea here is you take a pair of jobbers and throw them out and hope one of them gets over. Rose was on the downhill slope of his career after a decent career in the southern territories. Rose shoulderblocks him down, but Robby comes back with a reverse monkey flip and thrust kick. Robby ducks under the ropes and delivers a springboard crossbody. Jim Ross and Larry Zbysko marvel at Robby’s quickness. V goes to the top rope and slingshots himself into a hiptoss. Rose blocks a charge with a boot. Rose goes into the usual mid-eighties heel tactics. Rose grabs a sleeper, but V rams him into the turnbuckle and gets his own sleeper. Rose gets out of it and rakes V’s eyes across the ropes. Robby finishes with the front slam and the split-legged moonsault 5:53. Garden variety jobber match with a number of cool moves for the time. *1/4

  • Dude, there are some totally cool screensavers at wwe.com.

    Final Thoughts: This DVD exposes not only how watered down Rob’s character in the WWE is, but how little he’s grown as a wrestler over the years. There’s no doubt he has the ability to mix in a little bit of psychology and mat wrestling with the spots, but he’s focused almost entirely on moving from spot to spot like some Michael Bay movie. That being said, his ability to get over solely on awe-inspiring spots can’t be denied. There are very few men that can do what he can do and do it as well.

    Marginal thumbs up to all but the ardent RVD fans.

    J.D. Dunn

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