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Rob Van Dam Discusses If He Liked Working With Brock Lesnar in WWE, Praises John Cena

September 4, 2020 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Rob Van Dam John Cena

Speaking with Jeffrey Harris in an exclusive interview for the 411 Wrestling Interviews Podcast, Impact Wrestling star, ECW/WWE alumnus, and former WWE World champion Rob Van Dam discussed working as the first major opponent for Brock Lesnar in WWE, his WWE Championship victory over John Cena at ECW One Night Stand 2006, and his thoughts on Cena as a top guy in WWE. You can check out the highlights and full audio below:

Rob Van Dam on if he liked working with Brock Lesnar in 2002: “I did. I didn’t know him that well. But Paul [Heyman] was really high on him, so Paul was like the middle man that was standing there when I was talking to Brock earlier in the day. And Paul was talking about, ‘Brock is going to give you his finishing move, the F-5.’ I went, ‘What’s that?’ And Brock looked at me and goes, ‘I’m going to have you up here on my shoulder,’ and then he reaches up, ‘No, I’ll have you like — Like I’m gonna,’ and then he goes, ‘I’ll just get you. Don’t worry about it.’ And I was like, ‘Huh.’ My whole career, I’ve noticed that people expect me to be lighter than I am because I’m always, always close to 235. It goes up or down a little bit, but I’m always around 235. And I’ve had people say, ‘Do a crossbody. I’ll catch ya,’ and then they blow their knee out and then they’re mad at me because I’m heavy. So, I remember thinking, ‘Wow. This guy. OK, let’s see what he can get,’ and he picked me up for that F-5, he made me feel like I weighed five pounds. He’s the strongest guy I’ve been in the ring with. And I do enjoy working with him. I’m a fan of his athleticism. I’m a big fan of his in general, so I love it when he’s got like a UFC fight or whatever.”

Rob Van Dam on his win over John Cena at ECW One Night Stand being a special moment for him: “I think when I beat John Cena at One Night Stand, and then, like I didn’t know all the wrestlers were going to come out and pick me up on their shoulders and celebrate. I didn’t know all that was going to happen. I knew I was going to go up, that I going to go through the crowd and go up and find my ex(?) because that was something that Paul had talked about. But I think that, like when I was in the ring and everyone was picking me and stuff, I probably felt that some because I remember totally not believing that that was going to happen until it happened because that’s part of the business. I’m pretty sure there’s no expectations to this to this rule that you’re gonna get your heart broken. You’re gonna get promises made to you that aren’t gonna actually reach fruition. You’re gonna have people say, ‘Hey, we’re gonna do this with you and this with you,’ and all of the sudden, they’re not, and they’re doing that with somebody else. And so you you have to deal with, you know, That’s part of, for sure when you make it to the top, that’s part of the business there. So, you have to learn to deal with it. You can either really, really care a lot and then have a really stressful life, but maybe be able to get to the top. Or you can not give a crap, which is kind of what I did, but I did not think that that was going to happen, that I was going to be holding up the championship belt until it actually did happen.”

RVD on how during training it was ingrained into him not to act like a fan: “So, I probably for sure had that feeling there. Most of my career, that was stripped away from me because of the fact that I wasn’t allowed to be a fan anymore by the time I first stepped into a dressing room. Like Sabu and Sheik, the first time I actually got in a dressing room, they were like, ‘You’re not a fan. You’re one of the boys. Don’t talk to anybody, unless you’re going to introduce yourself. Then they shake your hand, introduce yourself. Don’t say anything else unless someone talks to you, and because of that being pounded into me so early in my training, most of my career, I didn’t enjoy as much as a lot of wrestlers nowadays do. It was a different time. If I would’ve gotten a tattoo of the day of when I won the belt or something like that, I would’ve been beaten up and kicked out of the dressing room. So, most of my career, I need someone like you to actually point out to me how full circle things would come, and I’m like, ‘Oh, yeah!'”

His thoughts on his One Night Stand opponent John Cena as a top guy and worker in WWE: “I think he’s great. I love working with him. I loved him during that match. He’s such a professional. That’s not the first time I’ve seen a crowd be 100 percent against him. I’ve seen it happen like in Wales, Cardiff, Wales was the first time I saw it, and he got on the microphone, and he said, ‘Hey, you know. That’s great. That’s great. I’m glad you’re having a good time reacting. That’s what we want.’ And he was just like, ‘That means you’re enjoying the show. I don’t care if you boo or cheer as long as you make some noise!’ And man, he turned them around, and then they were cheering him. I knew John when he was still working at Gold’s Gym at Venice Beach. He would check me in when I would come in to work out. And to see him go where he went, it was cool to see that. But also, he stayed there [WWE] for a long time because he is that good in the ring, in the office, everywhere.”

Rob Van Dam on if he thinks Cena will become a star that can rival The Rock in Hollywood: “I think that he’ll have his own path, and I think that he’ll do very well. He’s already doing very well. I think that Rock has carved out his own path that’s probably gonna be just for The Rock.”

In the full interview, Rob Van Dam discusses his new mobile game Celebrity Slots, which is out now for Android and iOS devices, his feud with Sami Callihan in Impact Wrestling, developing his unique in-ring style, wrestling during the pandemic and adapting his in-ring work to fit without fans, and more.

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0:00: Intro
2:53: On his new Celebrity Slots mobile game, customizing the game, available prizes.
5:38: On his favorite voice lines in the game, possibly adding new content in later updates.
7:00: On the possibility of new prizes like video chats and more.
7:49: On the appeal of fan interactions on platforms on apps like Cameo, the appeal of his authenticity.
9:55: On how Cameo protects its celebs from the dangers of stalkers and trolls, his reaction to Sonya Deville’s attempted kidnapping.
12:19: On the current era of wrestling during the pandemic and companies doing shows at this time, how he’s handling lockdown.
14:31: On the challenge of adapting to in-ring work without fans.
16:57: On his feud with Sami Callihan, Callihan saying he’s in RVD and Katie Forbes’ head.
18:06: On Impact Wrestling recapturing its buzz, how it’s managed to gain momenum .
20:26: On if there was any truth to all the backstage stories of strife backstage in TNA under previous managements.
21:52: On developing his unorthodox character and in-ring style.
24:23: On working with Brock Lesnar as one of Lesnar’s first big feuds in WWE, Paul Heyman being the middle man for the feud.
26:26: On his win over John Cena at One Night stand being a particular career highlight.
29:54: On working with John Cena and his opinion of Cena as a top guy in WWE, Cena’s film stardom.
31:31: On backstage politics being his least favorite part of wrestling, looking back on how he reacted to it.
33:48: On his RVDCBD line of CBD products, and his documentary Headstrong and where to find him online
37:51: Outro

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