Rob Van Dam: One Of A Kind
Host: Josh Matthews.
We get a brief recap of RVD’s run in WCW. He’d already been wrestling in Florida for a year as Rob Van Dam before WCW hired him. At the time Bill Watts was the head booker, and didn’t like the “Rob Van Dam” name and wanted to use something different. As RVD had already gotten some mention in the wrestling press (I’m presuming Wrestling Observer and in Dave Metzler’s magazine) under the Rob Van Dam name he wanted to use something similar ultimately settling on the name Robbie V. Rob was apparently undefeated and didn’t particularly have any programs with anybody.
Now, before RVD was signed by WCW he’d agreed to do a tour in Japan with All Japan Pro Wrestling. Watts let Rob keep his commitments even though WCW currently had a talent deal with New Japan. RVD went on the tour with All Japan, it was great, the crowds thought he was great, and basically he felt that he could probably make a career there almost as long has he wanted to stay there. RVD got back and Ole Anderson was the head booker and Rob felt things were going downhill, with the writing on the wall being his getting his first defeat in the semi-final match in a World TV Title Tourney against Kevin Nash (who was then wrestling as Vinnie Vegas). At which point, RVD (who hadn’t been in WCW for a year yet) decided it was time to go.
Scotty Flamingo vs. Robbie V
Commentator: Tony Shiavone.
Scotty Flamingo is another ring name of Scott Levy, who you may now better as Raven. So, we have Rob Van Dam and Raven squaring off prior to ECW. Awesome. At this point in his career, Levy has won and lost the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship. Notable thing about Rob’s look in this match – same style of tights he wore the rest of his career, but they’re plain black – no name or anything. Also, he’s not wearing boots, but is wrestling barefoot with some sort of sock thingie to cover the soft part of the foot and ankle. Fast chain wrestling between the two men, with RVD seeming to be on top of things. Springboard splash by Robbie for 2. A lot of rest holds from Robbie. Scotty regains control and sends Robbie off the ropes and nails him with the point of his elbow for 2. Robbie rolls to the outside for a breather.
Robbie comes back in and Scotty tries to regain control with a backslide, but Robbie reverses to one of his own for 2. Scotty regains control with a drop kick for 2. Robbie gets sent for the ride, Scott tries to go for a Lariat, but Robbie reverses with a spinning heel kick, sends Scott to the turnbuckle, then hits a super kick. Robbie hits a sort of modified Samoan drop (with the victim in front instead of in back) and goes up for the Split-Legged Moonsault for 3!
Winner: Robbie V by pinfall with a Split-Legged Moonsault at 3:18.
Rating: ** – Short match, with potential, if the feud was given time to build.
We then go to Rob Van Dam’s career in ECW – what, no mention in his time in Japan? At least they mentioned his Benoit’s career in Japan on his DVD, and Eddie’s career in Japan on his DVD. They even had matches from Japan on their DVDs. Boo! Anyway, they give his thoughts on his first match in ECW.
Rob Van Dam vs. Axl Rotten
From: ECW Hardcore TV – 1-5-96.
Commentator: Joey Styles.
At: The ECW Arena
This is RVD’s first match in ECW. IIRC, this is after the Bad Breed broke up. (If I’m wrong, please let me know.) RVD is now wearing boots and came out in the ring wearing a black Gi and is now wearing wrestling boots and red tights with a dragon on the front. . Rotten comes to the ring wearing a black leather jacket, a heavy metal looking T-Shirt, and black and purple (sorry, violet) pants.
Quoth Joey Styles, “Rob Van Dam (is) a black belt, I’m not sure in what discipline. The only belt Axl Rotten carries is a studded one he will whack you in the mouth with.”
Rob goes for a couple kicks, misses, and Axl mocks him. Rotten backs in the corner to avoid a much deserved boot to the mush. Axl and Rob lock up, but Axl’s got Rob outmatched in the sheer power department. They lock up again, and Rob gets a thumb to the eye. We finally get some chain wrestling and some fast moves between the two, with Rob hitting a Japanese Arm drag and a spring board cross body. Rob proceeds to work over Axl in the breadbasket with a series of fists, shoulder slams, and a shoulder tackle. RVD sends Axl for the ride and brings him down with a double Karate chop to the gut for 2.
RVD works Axl into the corner, but Axl regains control with a double thumb to the eye and Axl starts brawling. Axl goes for a back drop but RVD rolls over and goes for a spinning heel kick that misses. Modified T-Bone Suplex by Axl. Axl taunts again, and continuing to work over Rob. Axl literally clotheslines Rob head over teakettle and corkscrews him as well! Jesus! Axl continues to make with the mocking. Scoop slam in the middle of the ring. Axl goes up top, goes for a big elbow and misses. Rob regains control with some nice kicks and leg sweeps. RVD goes up and hits a frog splash (but not the Five Star Frog Splash) for 2. Rotten rolls out for a breather, but RVD will have none of that – somersault tope connects!
RVD sends Rotten back in the ring, and goes up top – flying thrust kick! Standing moonsault for 2. Axl once again regains control with a thumb to the eye. RVD regains control with a power slam near the corner. Split-Legged Moonsault for 3!
Winner: Rob Van Dam by pinfall with the Split-Legged Moonsault at 6:11.
Rating: *** – Getting better. It feels like RVD’s expanded his moveset in the time since his match with Levy in WCW.
Rob talks about learning to wrestle with Sabu and the Original Sheik, and then working together in the past, and their common wrestling styles. He talks about Sabu helping him get his break in ECW, and how their styles meshed, and how Sabu helped RVD get over in ECW.
Sabu vs. Rob Van Dam
From: ECW Hardcore Heaven ’96 – 6-22-1996
Where: The ECW Arena in Philedelphia, PA.
Commentator: Joey Styles
Apparently this match was delayed by an hour due to a ring rope breaking. RVD’s entrance music has been dubbed over with his WWE Entrance music, and I’m not seeing any sign of Huka Blues for Sabu’s entrance music either. Boo! Sabu is wrestling in a neck brace – presumably the injury is kayfabe, but you never know with Sabu. RVD is now a full-fledged heel. Our referee is John Finnegan, poor bastard. We get a Sabu chant from the fans and Sabu is ripping off the neck brace.
Sabu takes control early on, taking him down with a dive, before stomping the crap out of RVD’s legs. I’m smelling a Pillmanizing in the future of this match. Van Dam manages to get to his feet with the assistance of the ropes. We get a series of audibly stiff strikes to Van Dam’s face. (Quoth Joey Styles – “That connected”, quoth the fans, “Oooh!”) Slingshot leg lariat by Sabu for 2.
Sabu applies a chinlock, into a side headlock. RVD breaks out of the hold and bounces off the ropes – and the ropes snap! Again! Well, that rules out springboard anything for both participants. Sabu rolls out of the ring, grabs a chair, and then rolls back in, and jabs it in RVD’s gut, and then throws it into RVD’s mush. Sabu sets up the chair, and does a Triple Jump Moonsault anyway! Forget what I said about ruling out Springboard moves.
Sabu and Van Dam are duking it out on the concrete next to a table. RVD goes for a suplex, Sabu reverses it and crotches Van Dam on the steel guard rail. Sabu goes back in the ring, goes for the ride, and dives through the ropes to spear Van Dam off the guard rail. Cue ECW chant. Van Dam gets a few more chair shots to the back as they brawl through the crowd. I happened to notice that a mailbox being held by a fan with “fuck” painted on it is blurred out… but not so much that you aren’t able to read the word. Whuups.
They’re brawling to the bleachers beneath the announce position.. Guillotine leg drop on a chair, on the bleachers by Van Dam. Ow. They continue brawling their way back through the bleachers. Van Dam beats the crap out of Sabu with an Umbrella., before throwing a chair at Sabu. All e men are back in the ring. Van dam is up top, and does a flying somersault plancha with a chair! Van Dam covers but only gets 2.
Sabu drop-kicks Van Dam’s knee, and goes back to stomping the crap out of Van Dam. Sabu also appears to have injured his hand some where, as he starts clutching it and prancing a little bit after delivering a punch to Van Dam. Sabu sets up Van Dam in the corner and hits Air Sabu. Sabu appears to be taping his finger with… duct tape! Piffany must be part of Damage Control (their on-site medic team). RVD set up Sabu in the corner, sets up a chair – badly, and monkey flips him onto the poorly placed chair partially unfolded, legs up). Ow! Cover for 2.
Van Dam tries to apply an armbar on Sabu, but Sabu manages to get near the ropes. RVD is visibly limping as he gets back to his feet. Van Dam savagely chair shots Sabu. Standing moonsault for 2. Sabu continues working over Van Dam’s legs. Slingshot bulldog by Sabu. Cover by Sabu for 2. Sabu goes for a belly-to-back suplex, but RVD breaks out, tumbling through the ropes – not the wisest move. Sabu drags Van Dam on the apron, balances him on the ropes, and hits an Arabian Press Guillotine for 2. Sabu brings in another steel chair, but Van Dam kicks the chair into Sabu’s ribs, sending him to the outside. I’ve noticed nobody’s gone through a table yet. Somersault Plancha by Van Dam on Sabu.
Sabu gets whipped ribs first into the steel. Sabu responds with sending Van Dam on the steel. Sabu sets up a chair, leaps off the chair, runs across the timekeeper’s table, and hits an Air Sabu on Van Dam. Unfortunately for Sabu, that’s only a 3-dice stunt. Sabu bridges the guard-rail and ring apron with the table, and sets Van Dam up on the table. Sabu goes in the ring and sets up a chair, bounces off the ropes, hopes to the top rope, sees that Van Dam has scooched his dooch off the table and out into the fans, and goes for the Plancha Suicida instead. Cue ECW chant #2. Sabu gets to his feet first and gets Van Dam back on the table. Once again, Sabu goes for the ride. Van Dam is now standing on the table, Sabu just does what I could best describe a flying DDT through the table and to the floor! OH MY GOD! Cue ECW chant #3!
Van Dam eventually gets to his feet, and gets in the ring. Sabu covers, but only gets 2. Sabu sets up the chair again, bounces off the ropes, goes for the Triple Jump Moonsault, and Sabu crotched himself. Van Dam kicks Sabu off the top rope to the outside. Van Dam follows Sabu to the outside,. Van Dam balances a chair on a corner of the guard rail, and suplexes Sabu on it. Sabu gets tossed in by Van Dam and cover for 2. Sabu is set up on the top turn buckle and Van Dam goes for the superplex, but Van Dam gets shoved off and Sabu hits a DDT but only gets a 1 count. Sabu goes back up again, but Van Dam stops him, and hits a Fisherman’s-buster superplex but only gets 2. Van Dam goes for another Fisherman’s-buster but Sabu counters with one of his own. Sabu grabs a chair and goes up top – Atomic Arabian Facebuster! 1! 2! 3!
Winner: Sabu by pinfall with an Atomic Arabian Facebuster at 21:38
Rating: **** – That was Extreme!
Following the match, Sabu and RVD are removed from the ring in stretchers. Styles has gotten very somber, as has the crowd in the Arena. The crowd gives (basically) a standing ovation for Sabu, after he gets to his feet (against the on-site medic’s wishes) briefly, and is finally stretchered to the back. We then return to the interview footage with RVD talking more about Sabu, and it’s looking like they’re getting to RVD & Sabu’s tag team period, talking particularly with their programs with the Eliminators (Perry Saturn and John Kronus), the Dudleyz, and The Gangstas.
ECW Tag Team Title Match: Rob Van Dam & Sabu vs. The Eliminators (Perry Saturn and John Kronus) (c)
When: ECW Crossing The Line Again on 2-1-1997.
Where: The ECW Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Commentator: Joey Styles
Sabu and Saturn seem eager to start off – while John Finnegan tries to start things off with some degree of order. We get Saturn and Van Dam starting off. Both men lock up, and Van Dam backs Saturn into the ropes and starts working him over but van Dam regains control. Saturn gets a 2-count off a drop kick. Kronus asks for the tag and gets it. Kronus wants a piece of Sabu, but Kronus gets distracted and hits a big kick combo. Sabu gets tagged in and both guys hit a double team splash on Kronus. Sabu gets a 2-count off a springboard drop-kick, but Kronus regains control when Saturn breaks up the tag. Kronus gets a 2-count off a pump-handle plex.
Slingshot leg lariat by Sabu for 2, and Van Dam is taged in, only to get Ricky Mortoned by the Eliminators. Double Leg Lariat for 2. Lariat by Saturn for 2. RVD hits a double under hook slam for 2. Sabu hits a springboard leg drop, applies a camel clutch, and then Van Dam hits a baseball slide to da face! Van Dam bows to the crowd, but Kronus cheap shots him.
Van Dam locks on a surfboard on Saturn, and elevates him, and Sabu drops the elbow on Saturn! Van Dam covers, but Kronus breaks it up at 2. Saturn has regained control. Van Dam gets the crap beat out of him, and Saturn kicks Van Dam to the outside casually. Saturn works over Van Dam some more, until Van Dam hits a drop toe hold allowing him to tag in Sabu, who hits a springboard legdrop again. Saturn still retains control though, hitting the Saturn Bomb for 2, until Sabu breaks it up. Kronus comes in and we have mayhem! RVD and Kronus brawl to the outside, while Sabu and Saturn fight in the ring. Sabu eats a cutter from Ssaturn, who then goes outside to help Kronus.
Saturn gets sent to the fan area after Van Dam reverses a whip, leading to Kronus and Van Dam brawling on the other side of the ring, when Kronus reverses a reversed Irish Whip by Van Dam (or, as they’d put it in Disgaea, a counter-counter-counter). Not to be left out, Sabu hits a triple-jump Plancha Suicida on Saturn. Saturn and Sabu get back in the ring. Sabu throws a chair in Saturn’s face, and Saturn hits a lariat that sends Sabu sprawling. Van Dam is now back in the ring. Saturn makes a brave show of it but is over-powered by Sabu and RVD. Sabu locks on a single leg Boston Crab, and Van Dam drops a leg on Saturn. Saturn kicks out at 2.
Slam on Saturn, somersault splash by Van Dam with a Leg Drop assist by Sabu for 2. Kronus gets tagged in and levels Van Dam. Kronus slams Van Dam and goes up top. Kronus is over half-way across the ring from Van Dam. Frog Splash for 2. Saturn hits a splash of his own on Van Dam for 2. Van Dam slams Kronus and goes up top as well. Me (singing), “Anything you can do, I can do better – I can do anything better than you!” Sabu’s up top as well. Sabu splashes, Van Dam drops the leg. Saturn comes in and cleans house quickly, before Van Dam can cover. Sabu gets the blind tag, but and regins control over Kronus, and applies a hammerlock on Kronus, but Saturn comes in and The Eliminators shut Sabu down quickly. 2-count off an Perry Saturn leg drop.
Kronus gets the tag and Saturn quickly blocks Van Dam. Enziguri and Cross Kick by the Eliminators for 2. Sabu gets slammed and Kronus hits a moonsault senton but doesn’t capitalize. Kronus bounces off the ropes but Sabu back-drops him to the outside. Saturn and Van Dam brawl in the ring, while Sabu bridges the guard rail and the ring apron with at able and places Kronus. Sabu goes for a triple-jump something, but Kronus gets off the table, and Saturn kicks Sabu off the top rope. Fortunately for Sabu, he falls back into the ring. Now Sabu’s on the inside with Saturn, and Van Dam is on the outside with Kronus. Sabu rolls outside and with Van Dam moves the table into the ring – this can’t be good (for somebody). They set up the table, and from the looks of things, Kronus is inside the ring now with Van Dam and Sabu, and Saturn is on the outside looking on.
Kronus is laid out on the table, but Saturn comes in and ejects both of the challengers. Van Dam comes back in, and Saturn goes back out. Saturn is taking a ladder into the ring. Now, it’s not a big ladder, but it’s a ladder. Van Dam is held by Kronus while Saturn goes up the Ladder, but Sabu goes on the turnbuckle and drop kicks Saturn off the ladder and onto Kronus. Sabu and Van Dam double clothesline the Eliminators with the Ladder, leg drop the ladder on them, and then hit a double slingshot somersault legdrop on the ladder, Double cover for 2! Van Dam sets up the ladder, Saturn is slammed and both challengers go up the ladder. Saturn and Kronus hit Total Elimination on the ladder! Sabu’s down, Van Dam’s down, and The Eliminators are standing tall.
Sabu is ejected from the ring by the champs, and The Eliminators set up the ladder on the table?! You’re kidding. Now Saturn’s got a chair, Kronus is slamming Van Dam. You must be kidding. Saturn is going to the top of the ladder, but Sabu saves Van Dam by springboard kicking Saturn off the ladder, blocking what would have been a 4-dice stunt. Van Daminator for only 2! Sabu sets up a chair, Triple Jump Moonsault. Saturn tries to stop the pin, but Sabu manages to toss him through the ropes to the outside. Van Dam covers for 2. Standing moonsault with a chair for 2. Kronus slams Van Dam. Sabu slams Kronus. Sabu sets up the chair and goes for the Triple Jump Moonsault, but Kronus moves out of the way, and Van Dam gets shoved into the way! Total Elimination for 3!
Winners: The Eliminators (Perry Saturn and John Kronus) by pinfall with Total Elimination at 20:01. The Eliminators retain the ECW Tag titles.
Rating: ***** – That was a hell of a match, and I saw some stuff there that I have never seen before, and I may never see again. Wow! I’d call that one of the best tag team matches I’ve ever seen, in terms of psychology, teamwork, and overall skill.
Going back to the interview footage, Van Dam talks about the Barely Legal Pay Per View, and how he felt about not being on the card (He felt mad, he felt mean mad, he felt – ow, stop hitting me!) So, Van Dam talked to Eric Bischoff, who had a job offer for him. Ultimately, Van Dam got a spot on the Pay Per View when Chris Candido was injured (after rumors of Van Dam leaving for WCW got out). Paul Heyman, Mad Scientist of Pro Wrestling that he is, came up with the “I just love working Mondays” angle.
Rob Van Dam vs. Lance Storm
When: ECW Barely Legal – 4-13-1997
Where: ECW Arena
Commentator: Joey Styles.
Van Dam and Storm chain wrestle, lending a but more towards technical wrestling, and progressively accelerating, leading to Storm going to the outside, and Van Dam hitting a somersault plancha onto Storm. 2-count off a top rope leg drop. Storm sent for the ride, counters into a springboard back elbow. Van Dam is drop-kicked off the apron to the outside. Storm goes for a pescado but misses. Van Dam and Storm brawl on the outside. Moonsault press off the guard rail by Van Dam. The fight goes back in the ring, after Van Dam gets hisself a chair. Ooh, it’s nice and shiny too. Storm is trying to catch his breath in the corner. Storm is whipped into the corner, bounces off, and gets a chair thrown at his face. Van Dam bows for the approving crowd, before surfing the chair into Storm’s face.
As Storm tries to get to his feet, Van Dam is assailed with chants of “Sell out”. Van Dam hits a double underhook slam. Van Dam goes up top and hits a Frog Splash for 2. Van Dam goes back outside and gets another chair, which he once again tosses at Storm. Van Dam goes to somersault splash Storm in the corner, but Storm evades that and hits slam on the chair. Chain wrestling by Van Dam and Storm. Storm ultimately regains control with a float over into a Boston Crab. More chain wrestling leading to Storm on the Apron and Van Dam on the inside. Van Dam pulls Storm’s legs out from under him, leaving his head out in empty space – Slingshot Guillotine Leg Drop!
Van Dam and Storm get back in the ring. Van Dam goes for the Van Daminator, but Storm dodges it, chair shots Van Dam, sets down the chair, and then Tiger Bombs Van Dam on the chair for 2. Van Dam goes to set up the chair while Storm goes up top, but isn’t fast enough as Storm leg drops the bent over Van Dam, causing his head to go *ping* off the seat of the chair, but only for 2.
Van Dam gets back to his feet using the ropes. Storm tries to do something out of a wastelock, but Van Dam evades it, ultimately kicking Storm between the uprights. Van Dam then crotches Storm on the top rope, and then hits a springboard back elbow, for 2. Bridging German Suplex by Storm for 2. Storm hits a really weak chairshot, and the crowd is now against Storm. Storm tries it again, but it’s still really weak. Van Dam finally hits the Van Daminator, making a nice, satisfying “clank” and the crowd goes nuts. Standing Moonsault for 3.
Winner: Rob Van Dam by pinfall with the standing moonsault at 10:11.
Rating: *** – Okay. It was a decent match, but frankly, it’s possible to not work stiff enough, as Lance Storm demonstrated in this match. Storm was and is good, but Van Dam really carried this match.
After the match, Van Dam grabs a mike, and decides to respond to the “You Sold Out” chants, with the “See You Monday Night” promo. Come next Monday night, and RVD is on… Raw! Leading to Lawler introducing him, and nicknaming him “Mr. Monday Night,” and leading to his first match against Jeff Hardy., as well against matches against Flash Funk, and the general ECW invasion of WWF.
“Mr. Monday Night” Rob Van Dam vs. Jeff Hardy
When: WWF Monday Night Raw, 5-12-1997.
Where: Newark, Delaware.
Commentators: Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler.
Prior to the match, Jerry Lawler cuts a heel promo on ECW (referring it to Extremely Crappy Wrestling). We’re getting a pop at the mention of ECW, and a boo at his re-definition of the acronym. I noticed that as camera panned across the crowd we got a glimpse of Hat Guy.
Speed chain wrestling by Jeff and Rob, before Rob regains control and kicks Jeff out of the ring. Somersault plancha Suicida onto Jeff. Van Dam pulverizes Jeff for a bit, before mugging for the crowd. Van Dam slams Jeff, and goes up top and hits the Frog Splash. Powerslam near the corner into a split legged moonsault and cocky cover for 3.
Winner: Rob Van Dam by pinfall at 2:26.
Rating: *** – Normally, I’m not the biggest fan of one-sided squashes, but this one had a very specific purpose coming in, and it met (and I might even say) exceeded that purpose.
Going back to the interview, Van Dam talks about the origins of his nickname “The Whole Fucking Show,” and how it ties into the Van Dam Lift.
Flag vs. Flag Match: “Mr. Monday Night” Rob Van Dam (w/ Bill Alfonso) vs. “The Innovator Of Violence” Tommy Dreamer w/ Beulah McGillicutty
When: ECW November To Remember ’97, 11-30-1997
Where: The Golden Dome in Monaca, PA
Commentator: Joey Styles
This was in the midst of the ECW/WWF ’97 Invasion thingie. The way this match works, is the winner of the match raises the flag of the company they represent – Dreamer for ECW (natch), Van Dam for WWF. As this DVD I’m watching was released in the WWE era, the irony of the WWF flag being raised but having to be blurred out does not escape me. Dreamer’s right foot is currently in a walking cast, leaving the toes exposed.
The two men slowly circle up. Chain technical wrestling by Dreamer, with Van Dam working over Dreamer’s injured heel (the injury is apparently kayfabe). Van Dam takes a little control before he gets distracted mugging for the audience and gets hit with a side Russian leg-sweep. Dreamer appears to be using the walking cast to his advantage which, considering the injury is supposed to be to his heal, ought to really fucking hurt!
Dreamer and RVD take the brawl to the outside (a little slow today, the match is only 3 minutes old). The brawl goes along the guard rail, and out into the fans, and back in again. One of these days Fonzie’s gonna choke on that whistle. Van Dam gets crotched on the guard rail, and Dreamer takes a Chair and then smacks Van Dam right between the eyes. The fight goes back in the ring, and Van Dam gets dragged to his feet by his ponytail, and gets tied in the ropes. Dreamer goes to bounce off the ropes and nail Van Dam, but Fonzie grabs his heel, causing Dreamer to land face first on the chair. Springboard leg drop by Van Dam and… we get clipped! Come on! When we get back in, the match is on the outside, Dreamer was going to send Van Dam back outside the ring, but Van Dam counters by crotching Dreamer, and then doing a sort of modified Van Daminator. It looks like we’ve got ringside mats at this arena. Anyway, we’re getting a “Sit the fuck down” chant. I love ECW fans.
Dreamer gets tossed into the ring, set up in the corner, and then gets a chair surf boarded into his face. Fonsie tries to set Dreamer up for a guillotine legdrop across the apron, but the Ref stops him. Van Dam sets up a chair, backflips off the top rope and drop kicks the chair into Dreamer’s face. Dreamer is practically done. Slingshot guillotine leg drop for 2. Van Dam goes back up top but gets shoved off the top rope by Dreamer. Dreamer hits a hangman’s neckbreaker off the top turnbuckle for 2. Tommy hangs van Dam in the Tree of Woe. Dreamer sets up the chair, and Van Dam gets the chair dropkicked into his face. Van Dam is out. Dreamer goes up top, but Fonzie nails Dreamer on his injured foot. Van Dam hits the tumbling splash for 2.
Van Dam sets a steel chair on Dreamer, goes for the split legged moonsault but Dreamer gets the knee up. Dreamer goes for the DDT on the chair, but Van Dam counters out of it. Van Dam and Dreamer chain fight a bit in the corner, Dreamer goes up top and does the splits, and Dreamer rings his bell. DDT off the top and cover! Fonzie dragged the ref out of the ring! Fonzie clocked referee John “Pee-Wee” Moore with a street sign. John Finnegan and Bill Molenux (sp) are out at ring side, confronting Fonzie. Dreamer has broken the pin to find out what the hell is going on, but got blind-sided by RVD. Referee Jeff Jones is at ringside as well. Van Dam goes for the Van Daminator, but it’s reversed into a chair shot. Dreamer makes the cover, but Jeff Jones breaks up the 3-count. The Fuck? Jim Moleneux gets knocked cold by Jeff Jones! Dreamer’s had enough of this shit, and gets up and goes to DDT Jones, but Van Dam recovers so he’s got to deal with that. Dreamer goes for the cover and Finnegan goes to make the count, but Jones breaks it up again and calls out both Moleneux and Finnegan! And thought Finnegan was taking off more then he could chew the one time he tried to double clothesline the Dudley Boys. Now Beulah’s in the ring, and she kicks Jones between the uprights, and Moleneux and Finnegan double DDT Jones.
Me (singing): Instant Karma’s going to get you.
John and Jim perform Taunt – Dreamer, but get it interrupted by a double-low blow by Fonzie, who in turn gets it broken up by Beulah. RVD attacks Beulah, but Dreamer rolls up Van Dam for 2. Can I Has Finish? RVD gets spiked but only for 2. Dreamer DDT! Dreamer preemptively displays the ECW flag, but Furgas and Lafon (or whatever their names are) from the WWF come in to distract Dreamer, allowing Stevie Richards to sneak in from behind and super-kick Tommy! No! No! Not like this! They set up a trash can on Dreamer, and Van Dam hits a five star frog splash on Dreamer. Furgas and Lafon count RVD’s pin, though it’s not official since they aren’t refs, and all our refs are out. Fonzie declares RVD the winner. The ECW flag is thrown out of the ring, and the WWF flag is displayed (and isn’t blurred out – I guess since it isn’t the Scratch Logo).
Winner: No Contest at 17:08 (on the DVD)
Rating: **** – For an over-booked no contest, from a storyline standpoint that was actually pretty good. I was still hoping Dreamer would win though.
Rob Van Dam talks about Bam Bam Bigelow, and his TV Title match against him in Buffalo NY, specifically his two big dives into the crowd (which ends up in the ECW introductory reel).
ECW Television Title: Bam Bam Bigelow (c) vs. Rob Van Dam w/ Bill Alfonso
When: ECW Hardcore TV on 4-4-1998
Where: Buffalo, NY
Commentator: Joey Styles.
Bigelow takes control early on and manhandles Van Dam, with shoulder blocks and power bombs. Van Dam has to roll to the outside to regroup, and for Fonzie, the “Verbal diuretic” as Joey calls him, to do his work. Van Dam returns to the ring. High Cross body and leaping side, into a rolling splash for 2. Van Dam ends up going to the outside when Bigelow pulls down the top rope. Bigelow smacks Van Dam around the outside. Van Dam regains control with a leaping side kick off the guard rail, but Bigelow regains control by reversing a ring post slam. Van Dem gets tossed into the 3rd row of the stands. The Whole Fucking Show flees across the audience, and the Beast From The East follows.
Van Dam manages to hit a Hurricanrana on Bigelow, I don’t know how, and I think at at least 3 wooden chairs have been reduced into sawdust. Van Dam rolls back in the ring, goes up top, Suicide Plancha to the 3rd row! Holy Crap! Van Dam gets back up, rolls back into the ring, and goes back up top. Hilo (Senton bomb off the top rope to the outside) to the 3rd row! Holy Shit! Bigelow is, somehow, getting back up, and crawling back over the guard rail. Guillotine leg drop off the apron onto Bigelow who is half over the railing. I think Bigelow is done… nope, Bigelow just clotheslined Van Dam. Bigelow power-bombs RVD on the timekeeper’s table, but the table doesn’t break. Bigelow goes on the apron, and elbow drops Van Dam through the table!
Van Dam manages to get to his feet first and nails Bigelow with chairs, pieces of the table, his feet, just trying to keep him down, but to no avail. Bigelow tries Van Dam into the ring, but Van Dam reverses it and snaps Bam Bam on the top rope. Van Dam gets back in only to get power-bombed once again. Bigelow goes up top for a moonsault but Van Dam rolls out of the way. Van Dam goes up top, connects with frog splash but Bam Bam kicks out. Fallaway slam by Bam Bam but Van Dam kicks out. Bigelow hits a brain buster suplex but manages to get the shoulder up. Bigelow drags Van Dam to his feet, and just tosses RVD to the corner. Bigelow goes for the splash, but Van Dam puts up a chair right in line with Bigelow’s face. Bigelow goes to slam Van Dam, but Jim Moleneux get’s caught with one of Van Dam’s boots. Now Sabu’s run in, and chucks a chair at Bigelow’s head. Sabu goes for Air Sabu at Bigelow, but Bigelow catches him and throws him at Van Dam. Bigelow goes to slam Sabu but Sabu gets the thumb to the eye. Van Dam hits the Van Daminator and floats over for 3! New TV Champion!
Winner: Rob Van Dam by pinfall with the Van Daminator at 14:40. Rob Van Dam is the new ECW Television Champion!
Rating: **** – Holy Shit. Bigelow beat the crap out of Van Dam and vice versa. Damn.
In the interview, Van Dam talks about his legendary feud with Jerry Lynn.
ECW Television Title: Rob Van Dam w/ Bill Alfonso (c) vs. Jerry Lynn
When: ECW Living Dangerously ’99 – 3-21-1999.
Where: Asbury Park, NJ.
Commentator: Joey Styles
This may be the 3rd time I’ve seen these two wrestle, and I’ve loved seeing it every time. Van Dam is coming into this match not only ECW Television Champion, but one half of the ECW World Tag Team Champions as well.
They lock up and start with the chain wrestling. Van Dam mugs for the fans a little bit. Running chain in the middle leads to a draw, and the audience the audience gives a standing ovation. The men continue with the chain, an Inverted Atomic Drop stuns Lynn for a second, but only that second, as he levels Van Dam with a big lariat. Van Dam rolls to the outside to regroup. Lynn and Van Dam lockup and chain again, and Van Dam gets clotheslined to the outside. Forward flip plancha off the apron by Lynn.
Van Dam goes to get back in, but eats a baseball slide that sends him to the first row. Springboard Crossbody into the first row. Lynn drags Van Dam back to the ring. Van Dam manages to get back to his feet first and regain control. Van Dam goes for a springboard move off the top rope, but Lynn drop kicked him to the guard rail – and it looks like he hit chin first – ow. Van Dam and Lynn fight on the outside. Van Dam guillotines Lynn after draping him over the guard rail, and then hits him with a springboard plancha off the guard rail.
Lynn and Van Dam brawl their way almost back to the ring, but RVD drapes Lynn off the apron and then guillotines him. RVD covers Lynn in the ring for 2. Fonzie tosses Lynn a chair and Van Dam surfboards Lynn, before finally launching Lynn into the air and rolling out of the way, allowing Lynn to land on the chair Van Dam was sitting on.Van Dam covers but only gets 2. Van Dam sets Lynn up in the corner, goes for a monkey flip, but Lynn evades and hits a sunset flip powerbomb on the chair for 2.
Lynn goes for the cradle piledriver, leading to a big string of chain wrestling by the two, Lynn getting back dropped on the chair for 2 and bridging out, leading to another chain into an inverted DDT by Lynn on the chair for 2. Another chain string for 2, leading to a leg drop on the chair for 2. There is no fucking way to call this match move for move in this fashion. I’m just going to have to set up and call the near-falls and high spots.
Lynn goes back up with a steel chair, but Fonzie grabs his ankle. Van Dam and Lynn fight on the top rope with a steel chair, but RVD finally manages to hit a Van Daminator and knock Lynn off the top rope, through the timekeeper’s table. Fonzie tries to drag Lynn back in the ring so RVD can pin him, RVD finally has to come out and drags Lynn’s limp body back in the ring and covers… and Lynn kicks out! Van Dam body slams Lynn and Van Dam sets a chair on top of Lynn. Van Dam goes for the split legged moonsault, but Lynn gets the knees up. Sunset flip by Lynn for 2. The two men string a series of near-falls. The men fight their way to the apron – Van Dam standing on the apron and Lynn on the top rope. Apparently there was a 2nd timekeeper’s table set up at ring side, and Lynn tried to Tornado DDT RVD through it… but the table didn’t break! It buckled a little, but it didn’t break! OW!
Both men, slowly, get to their feet, after the crowd got very silent for a bit. The fight goes back in the ring, and Lynn covers, but only gets 2. Lynn and RVD get back to their feet, and continue with the chain wrestling. Twisting leg drop for 2. Rolling Thunder for 2. More chain wrestling leading to a DDT by Lynn for 2… and we get the time expired bell. Lynn wants 5 more minutes, even though Lynn was going to be awarded the belt. The fans agree with Lynn. RVD agrees with Lynn. John Finnegan (our Ref) is going to go with it.
Lynn connects with a piledriver for 2. Lynn continues working over RVD more vigorously. RVD connects with the Van Daminator. He goes back up top. Five Star Frog Splash! That’s the match!
Winner: Rob Van Dam by pinfall with the Five Star Frog Splash at 22:59. Rob Van Dam retains the ECW Television Title.
Rating: ***** – This was an absolute clinic, and is one of ECW’s greatest matches.
Rob Van Dam talks about forfeiting the belt before becoming the ECW TV champion for 2 years, as well as some of the other injuries in his career. One of them involves injury to the eye. Gahhh! Now my eyes are experiencing sympathy pains. Doh! I just ate spicy food before typing this! Now they really do hurt! Ahh! Rob Van Dam then talks about the Van Terminator.
Rob Van Dam vs. Jerry Lynn w/ Cyrus
When: ECW Guilty As Charged, 1-7-2001.
Where: New York, NY at the Hammerstein Ballroom.
Commentator: Joey Styles.
Start: 1:58:13. Finish: 2:17:41
This is the last match in ECW’s original run. This is the second time I’ve seen this match, the first time was in context. Yes, they’ve over-dubbed “Respect” with RVD’s WWE entrance music. Boo!
Lynn has control early on, as he blind-sided RVD. Chain wrestling by both men, accompanied by a “Welcome Back” chant from the fans. RVD rolls out of the ring to say hello to his fans. Lynn goes to sneak up on Van Dam, but Van Dam’s got eyes in the back of his head. We get back to the chain wrestling, and both men fight to ringside. RVD hits a moonsault press off the guard rail. Van Dam sets Lynn up on the guard rail, corkscrew guillotine legdrop on Lynn. Van Dam rolls back in the ring. RVD gorilla press slams Lynn! He hits the standing moonsault and the split legged moonsault. More chain wrestling with Lynn hitting Van Dam with a flying clothesline.
More chain wrestling, going to the apron – Lynn on the outside, RVD in. RVD goes for a shoulder block but Lynn guillotines him, and then drop kicks him off the apron into the guard rail. The pair continue fighting on the outside. Van Dam gets slammed into the ring post and then on the floor. RVD gets tossed back into the ring, and Lynn covers but only gets 2. The two men chain a series of near-falls, into some chained holds and strikes. Van Dam hits the Rolling Thunder for 2.
Van Dam brings the steel chair in the ring, slams Lynn in the corner, and then surfs the chair into Lynn’s face. RVD goes to monkey flip Lynn on the chair, but Lynn reverse it into a powerbomb on the chair (now where did we see that before?) More chained wrestling leading to Lynn hitting a bridging German suplex for 2. Lynn gets Cyrus to bring another chair to the ring. RVD gets DDT’d on the chair, but Lynn only gets 2. RVD finally regains control with a springboard side kick. RVD goes up and Cyrus grabs RVD’s ankle, but gets kicked off. RVD misses the Five Star Frog Splash and Lynn rolls him up for 2. Cyrus comes in the ring to assist Lynn. But wait, whose this coming in? Well… well… well.. it’s Joel Gertner! Gertner DDT’s Cyrus!
Lynn goes clock RVD, but eats a Van Daminator. Gertner is starting RVD chant. RVD sets Lynn up in the corner, makes a gesture indicating he needs Bill Alfonzo. He needs somebody to hold the chair steady for a Van Terminator. Fortunately, when you don’t have a man who calls it right down the middle, a quintessential studmuffin will suffice. RVD goes up top… Van Terminator! Lynn is out. RVD drags Lynn’s limp carcass into the middle of the ring and covers him for 3!
Winner: Rob Van Dam by pinfall with the Van Terminator at 19:28.
Rating: **** – About 3-4 minutes of that match was Rob mugging for the crowd. They also re-used a lot of other spots, and some of the stuff was a little sloppy. What else there was was great though.
End Disk 1 – I’ll pick this up once I get Disk 2 from Netflix.
Rob Van Dam talks about his transition from ECW to WWE, and with RVD favoring the Hardcore matches, as they allowed him to show off his style better to get over with the fans.
WWF Hardcore Championship: Rob Van Dam vs. Jeff Hardy (c)
Where: WWF Invasion in Cleveland, Ohio
Commentators: Jim Ross, Michael Cole,
Jeff Hardy just sprints into the ring and goes right after RVD, sliding between his legs and catching him from behind. This is the first WWF event on the card with the scratch logo, so we’re getting a lot of blurred out turnbuckles and Titan-Ton screens. Jeff takes control early one with some very nice fast moves. 2 count after a drop-kick in the turnbuckle, another 2-count off a reversed monkey flip. No foreign objects in play so far, nice. RVD regains control with a 2-count off a rolling thunder.
Things stay very cast and kind of even as Cole compares RVD to Neo from the Matrix with his graceful movements. RVD gets whipped to the corner, goes up top to counter, but Jeff shoves him off the top to the outside. Jeff then baseball slides into Rob as he towards the apron. They fight on the outside for a bit. Jeff goes up on the guardrail for one of his trademark run-along-the-rail moves, but RVD goes up and knocks Jeff into the crowd. The fight goes into the crowd with the ref following. RVD gets whipped into the barricade. RVD then goes up on the barricade and does a moonsault off the barricade into Jeff for 2. I’ll take the moment to give some quick background – this is the first major Pay-Per-View of the infamous Invasion angle, with in this match RVD representing the ECW/WCW Alliance, and Jeff representing the WWE. You already know that this is also a rematch, although JR has yet to acknowledge that.
The brawl has gone back from the crowd into the ringside area, Jeff gets set up on the guard rail, and RVD guillotines Jeff off the guard-rail for 2. Did I mention that WWF/E has a bigger space between the ring and the guard rail than ECW? Jeff gets in the ring first, RVD starts to go back in, but Jeff starts him and counters with a sunset flip powerbomb. Jeff’s been watching tapes of RVD’s matches with Jerry Lynn. Jeff goes under the ring, and brings out the Jeff Hardy Ladder! You sick fuck! Jeff sets the ladder up outside the ring (so it’s got a good 5 feet above the turnbuckle inside the ring), and starts to climb. RVD (who was out for all that) comes to, sees the writing on the wall and quickly scampers into the ring, and knocks over the ladder! Jeff just got laid out on the entrance ramp! At this point JR says one of the lines that you hear often on the “don’t try this at home” reel, albeit truncated…
JR: ‘They learn to fall’ – Learn to fall my Oklahoma Butt! How do you learn to fall off a 20′ ladder?!
RVD has now gotten a chair and his making his way to Jeff. Jeff quickly smacks RVD with the ladder and grabs the chair and starts smacking the crap out of him with the chair, as they take the fight to the entrance ramp. Jeff is standing above RVD, holding the chair, and RVD appears to be begging him off… Jeff goes for the swing – Van Daminator! Jeff is knocked off stage into a little open area in the middle! RVD gets to his feet and goes down to the little pit area, picks up Jeff, and throws him back up on the ramp, with RVD in pursuit. Slam by RVD for 2. RVD drags Jeff back to the ring, and lays him out in the middle of the ring, and proceeds to ground and pound. Jeff appears to be bust wide open. Jeff is laid out in the corner. And skateboards the chair into Jeff’s face! RVD goes up, Triple Jump Moonsault, but Jeff gets the knees up!
Jeff gets back to his feet and hits a DDT on RVD but only for 2. Jeff tries again but only gets 2. Jeff hits a german suplex but only for 2. Jeff goes up top – Swanton Bomb… Misses! RVD lays the Hardcore Title on top of Jeff and goes up top on his own… Five Star Frog Splash! RVD covers and gets the pin!
Winner: Rob Van Dam by pinfall at 12:30 and is the new WWF Hardcore Champion!
Rating: **** – Very nice match. I would liked to have seen a few more matches between the two, and maybe RVD & Sabu vs. The Hardy Boyz in a TLC match at, say, Wrestlemania. Ain’t gonna happen though.
RVD talks about the Five Star Frog Splash, and about his version is better than other people’s versions.
King of the Ring Semifinal Match: Rob Van Dam vs. Chris Jericho
Where: WWE King Of The Ring in Columbus, OH.
Commentators: JR and The King
ECW and WCW Alums back in the ring once again. The Whole Fucking Show vs. the Ayatollah of Rock n’ Rollah. The poor bastard who wins this match ends up facing the winner of Test vs. Brock Lesnar (guess who wins that one). Y2J and RVD circle up and chain wrestle, both working on the others arms. They move from technical chain wrestling to some fast chain wrestling, leaving them at an impasse. So, RVD decides to do a taunt-off. The fans chant along with the Thumbs (Rob Van Dam instead of Whole Dam Show, unfortunately). Jericho responds with a bitch slap. RVD responds with a boot to the mush.
RVD regains control quickly. 2-count off a twisting leg drop. Fans start an ECW chant. Jericho regains control after the 2-count. RVD reverses a hold by tossing Jericho to the outside. RVD then bounces off the ropes and hits a somersault plancha to the outside, hits a flying kick to Jericho off the top, and goes for the frog splash, but Jericho shoves the ref into the ropes, crotching RVD. Jericho recovers, hits a superplex, but only for 2. Jericho drags RVD to his feet as a chant battle gets started, one half for RVD, one half of the arena for Jericho.
RVD reverses an Irish whip and hits a drop-toe hold for 2. Jericho regains a bit of control and while the ref is distracted removes a turnbuckle pad on one of the turnbuckles. The Ref goes to put the turnbuckle on while RVD gets an inside cradle, so RVD gets a 2-count out of what could have been a 3-count. Jericho gets a 2-count as well. Jericho does a choke on the ropes. Jericho then takes the tape off his wrist and chokes RVD with the tape. Jericho hangs up RVD off the ropes and was going to bronco buster him in the middle, but RVD gets out of the way, causing Jericho to get crotched on the bottom rope. Jericho recovers regains control quickly though.
Jericho whips RVD in the corner and goes for a spear, but Van Dam gets out of the way, and Jericho’s shoulder becomes intimately acquainted with the ring post. Springboard kick by Van Dam for 2. RVD kicks Jericho in the face again (that’s been going on a lot this match,) and hits a rolling thunder for 2. Jericho hits an enziguri of his own (to pay off that boot-to-head debt) for 2. Jericho hits a release German suplex for 2. Jericho’s moving a lot more leisurely, and is more deliberately slapping around Van Dam… and Van Dam stunguns Jericho. Split-legged moonsault for 2. Jericho gets set up in the corner and RVD hits the 3 shoulder slams. He goes for a small package, but Jericho tries to reverse it to the wall of Jericho, but RVD reverses it into the small package for 2.
RVD whips Jericho in the corner, Jericho tries to reverse into a moonsault, but RVD kicks Jericho in the gut on his way in. Jericho rolls up RVD with his foot on the rope for 2. Jericho bulldogs RVD, goes for the Lionsault but nobody home. RVD hits a kick. RVD is feeling froggy, but nobody home! Jericho recovers and goes for the Lionsault and connects! He goes for the pin but only gets 2! RVD goes for a ‘rana but Jericho reverses it into the Walls Of Jericho, but RVD reaches the ropes to break free.
Jericho tries to set RVD up for a super-plex, but RVD crotches Jericho, goes back up, Frog Splash connected! 1! 2! 3!
Winner: Rob Van Dam wins by pinfall with the Five Star Frog Splash at 14:32, advancing to face the winner of Test vs. Brock Lesnar (the winner is Lesnar, and Lesnar also beats RVD).
Rating: **** – We’re getting a lot of good matches on this DVD, and I’ve been impressed with all of them so far.
RVD talks about the differences between ECW and WWE.
Ladder Match for the WWE Intercontinental Title: Rob Van Dam vs. Christian (c)
Where: WWE Raw in Chicago, IL.
Commentary: Jim Ross and The King.
RVD and Christian gets in an argument on who is going to start out the champion, and Jericho throws the first blow, but RVD regains control early on, and then goes out of the ring to get a ladder. Christian peruses and gains control, smacking Van Dam around a bit before tossing him back in he ring and retrieving his own ladder. However, after he’s picked it up, RVD performs a somersault plancha driving the ladder into Christian. We get an instant replay as Referees Earl Hebner and Charles Robinson check on both men. (I recognized Earl (or Dave’s) face and Little Naich’s hair). Both men fight around the ring. Christian bridges the guard rail and the steps with the ladder, and Christian gets slammed on the ladder, and then RVD nails the schmuck with a twisting leg drop!
RVD takes the ladder into the ring and then tosses Christian in as well. We’ve got two ladders in the ring. RVD sets one of the ladders up in the corner and goes to whip Christian into it, but Christian reverses it. Instant Karma and all that. Christian sets the ladder up in the corner across the second ropes, and then slingshots RVD face first into the ladder. Ow! Christian sets up the ladder and starts to climb, but Rvd pushes over the ladder, with Christian voiding the ladder in the nick of time, only to take a roundhouse kick. RVD then press slams Christian on the ladder and then hits a standing moonsault!
RVD picks up the ladder as Christian comes to his feet and sends Christian out of the ring with the ladder. RVD climbs and almost reaches the belt before Christian recovers and climbs into the ring and up the ladder after RVD and hits a Inverted DDT off the ladder! Christian sets the ladder back up in the corner, and goes to pick up RVD. Christian goes to slam RVD on the ladder, but RVD recovers and monkey flips him, and then hits the Rolling Thunder on Christian, on the ladder, and the ladder is broken! Van Dam sets up a new ladder, and lays out Christian and goes up the ladder and shakes his head yes, only for Christian to wrench him off leg first. Christian takes the broken ladder, and gets it drop-kicked into his face. RVD gets back to his feet again and goes up to the top rope. Christian is laid out on the ladder. RVD goes for the Five Star Frog Splash but Christian gets out of the way! Ow!
Christian sets up the broken ladder again and slams RVD out of the ring. Jericho sets up the broken ladder, and starts to climb. RVD missile drop kicks the ladder clean out from under Christian. The ladder gets set up again, and both men try to climb the ladder at the same time and fight atop the ladder. The ladder gets knocked over, Christian eats top rope, RVD manages to catch himself atop the ladder he prepared earlier. RVD realizes where he is and looks like the cat who ate the canary. He goes up the ladder. The very, very, very top! Rob! Van! Dam! Five Star Frog Splash! RVD sets the ladder up under Christian, climbs the ladder, and gets the belt!
Winner: Rob Van Dam wins by retrieving the belt at 13:41.
Rating: **** – Again, a great match – whoever put this DVD together did a great job of picking out some truly good matches.
Bonus Features: A few interviews, plus RVD’s first match against Sabu at Hostile City Showdown (okay, though not as good as some of their later battles) and his match against Balls Mahoney at Anarchy Rulz, which was surprisingly good.
Overall Rating: 9/10 – An excellent compilation package. If you consider your self a wrestling fan, you really ought to pick this up.