– Brian Fritz has conducted an interesting interview with Rob Van Dam at Fanhouse.com. Here are a few highlights:
One thing that has jumped out since you joined the company is the chemistry you have with Jeff Hardy as a tag-team. I know you see yourself as a singles guy but is seems like there is something special between yourself and Jeff?
Yeah, I’ve always really liked Jeff and vice versa if I can speak for him. I think it’s just because we’re like minded. We both have similar visions of what a good match is and we also have similar likes and dislikes about the j-o-b. When it comes right down to it and when it comes time to do promos and people giving us words to talk about. We’re both rolling our eyes like ‘oh man, can’t we just get out in the ring and show off’ because that’s what we really like to do and that’s when we’re shining. That’s when we’re having fun. We can have fun doing all the other stuff too. We enjoy each other’s company but we also both feel like we rose to the top of the business against the odds, against the preconceived notions of the promoter that actually did try to hold us down. We did it through connecting with our fans in such a way that the fans brought us to the top. When I was in WWE, there was no way I was ever going to be WWE Champion. There’s no way that ever went through Vince’s (McMahon) mind or any of those guy’s minds. For Jeff, same thing but eventually through sticking to our guns that happened. We manifested it. We understand that and we vibrate in a similar fashion. Yeah, we click. It’s so natural it’s organic and we like that out here in Cali.
You mentioned the TV show iMPACT! which is now on Monday nights from 8:00-10:00PM ET on Spike TV and just moved up an hour. A lot of people look at the ratings and compare them to the WWE. How much do you pay attention to something like that?
Not at all. Since I started with TNA I quit reading any of the newsletters all together because there’s just so much negative energy out there. Somebody had sent me an email talking about ‘oh, watch your back there with the Hogan guys and their sabotaging’ and I said whatever. I’m happy. You have to be a (blank) to (blank) which you’re there. It’s a great working environment. People on the outside can (blank). But this guy actually said ‘you debuted and then the ratings were down like 20% the next week so that could affect your asking price in the future’. I’m like oh my God, what a mark! Do people really think that much about all that stuff? The other day, I looked at my first newsletter since I started wrestling there and that’s because I wanted to find out some information on Chris Kanyon which I still don’t know that much about. I’m just feeling the universe and it feels good. I think things are going to pick up. I think more and more good stuff is going to happen on the show that’s relevant that people care about.
You’ve been so closely associated with (former ECW owner and booker) Paul Heyman over the years. Would you like to see Paul there at TNA and how often do people ask you about him because I believe you and Paul stay in touch?
Paul and I do stay in touch, we’re friends. Of course, I would be thrilled to have him there and I think that he really, I know that he really has a way of staying on the pulse of people and staying really connected in what they want. He’s a little bit ahead of them. He knows what the people want next week, what they’re going to be listening to next, what kind of music is going to be coming around. That’s something that is really important and he would make it cool. His name does come up a lot by fans or some of the other wrestlers or by people that curious, wondering if he is going to come in. To the best of my knowledge, no. I don’t know if he is. That would be nice but I have no reason that he is. I was saying before about letting babyfaces shine – this is definitely worth adding since you brought Paul Heyman up – when I was with the original ECW and I was the television champion I had like a two year run. It’s hard to argue the success of the company back then which, of course, Vince (McMahon) will knock it. I’m sure a lot of the promoters will knock it but the rate that ECW was growing at the time from 400 fans to 600 to 800 to 7,000 fans for our pay-per-views. It was growing and the formula we used was RVD is different, he’s an exhibition. So let him go out there and do his stuff. They would bring in opponents from Japan, Mexico or wherever and I was always going to have the most outstanding match on the card. Everybody else was not held back. I was like go ahead and try and do your best but I’m going to have the best match out there. That was the formula that we used. Obviously, one thing that RVD has is I’m one of a kind. I’m an original – I stand out. But promoters don’t know that. They try to put me in a formula for everyone else. In the 20 years of my career, there’s only been one promoter that understood to just let me go out there and do my thing and that was Paul. In fact, he taught it to me.