When you ask a lot of fans who they would like to see return to WWE, some might say RVD and for good reason. Rob Vam Dam was the subject of Something To Wrestle With Bruce Prichard this week because it’s 4/20 and that made sense.
During the early years of RVD’s career, WWE noticed him while he performed in ECW leaving audiences thrilled time and time again. Prichard went into how WWE wanted one of ECW’s biggest stars and the methods Paul Heyman used to keep that from happening.
“Rob Van Dam was probably the star that we wanted we wanted the most and he was somebody who we felt we could bring in an actually capitalize on,” Prichard said. “So Van Dam was somebody that we were interested in. That is attractive and yet terrifying to Paul Heyman. Because Paul is now at the same time realizing ‘oh sh-t WWE is looking at Van Dam, I don’t want to lose him and if they’re interested in him then I’ve got something here.”
“And Paul liked to have that control and Paul liked to manipulate the talent into thinking that he was the only one that could guide their career for them,” he continued.
Conrad Thompson brought up the fact that Heyman would tell the ECW talent that nobody in WWE wanted them there and they had to watch their bags so someone didn’t use them as a toilet. Then Prichard expanded on just how much the ECW guys were “drinking his kool-aid.”
“Yes [he did manipulate them] and it wasn’t even like it was hidden. There was Paul taking them and going to the corner and you literally see Paul looking over his shoulder to see if anybody’s watching them or trying to eavesdrop on them. But that’s how Paul got guys to do what he wanted them to do. Paul continually fed into their ego, Paul continually told them what he thought they wanted to hear and continually feeding this ‘us against them’ mentality even then and that’s what he needed to do to get that loyalty from the ECW locker room.”
Eventually, RVD would become a huge Superstar in WWE and even capture the WWE Championship until he was busted for possession of weed while driving through Ohio and then he soon dropped both the WWE and ECW Championships which he held at the time.
There was a time when Rob Van Dam was on top of WWE and it was evident from the start that he had the unique capability to achieve great things. But Paul Heyman really tried to keep it from happening for as long as he possibly good because he didn’t want to lose his golden goose to WWE and for good reason.
If you use any portion of the quotes in this article please credit Something To Wrestle With Bruce Prichard with a H/T to Still Real To Us for the transcription.