So there I was enjoying another great Chicago crowd at another fun WWE pay-per-view and I was shocked by a return video. Really, RVD is coming back? The crowd loved it and I begun to think of the future match possibilities. The return of RVD gives another credible veteran to help push this era of exciting young WWE talent. Also, we have RVD’s return in Philadelphia? I guess the WWE has suckered me into buying another pay-per-view.
But as I eagerly anticipate the possibilities for the future, I fondly remember why so many of us are excited for his WWE return. Sure he had many exciting moments in ECW but it will always be his original run in WWE (2001-2007) that made me a fan.
So while the Chicago fan are likely still chanting his name, I present my top five moments of RVD in his WWE run. I don’t like to do lists in back to back columns but I was too excited to resist.
Honorable Mention: Royal Rumble (2009)
Ok, I cheated like last week. This isn’t even in his main run. But it proves how loved he is by WWE fans. When he entered near the end of this Rumble, the crowd went crazy. It is one of my favorite things of the Rumble, the surprise entrants, and this man who hadn’t been in the WWE in eighteen months got the crowd strongly behind him. He did quite well, lasting nearly fourteen minutes, before Chris Jericho eliminated him. The crowd was upset. I thought it might be his last WWE moment and the crowd cheered his name throughout his surprise appearance.
5. No Mercy (2001)
This event was one of my favorites from the ill-fated Invasion storyline. It was additionally at the height of RVD’s early rise to prominence in the WWE. He was extremely popular only a few months into his reign in the company and was entered into the title hunt with Kurt Angle and Stone Cold.
If you listen to the crowd reaction, I think the WWE made a mistake that night. RVD was clearly the most popular member of the Alliance and might have helped this storyline to continue long-term. The match itself was a fast paced forgotten gem with lots of near pinfalls and inference from the McMahons. RVD pulled out all the stops and was loudly cheered for attacking Alliance “leader” Stone Cold. Alas, the WWE wouldn’t put any faith in the ECW and WCW wrestlers and Stone Cold retained. It would be a long time until RVD would get that close to WWE gold again.
4. Survivor Series (2002)
I remember ordering this pay-per-view; it was the first Survivor Series I paid for. Why? Because RVD was going to be apart of a historic first: the first ever Elimination Chamber match. We have had some classic Chamber matches since this show but this started the gimmick.
RVD has to be given some credit for risking his safety to put over this new match. RVD would do his Five-Star Frog Splash at the top of a Chamber pod hurting himself in the process. Even worse, he legitimately hurt Triple H’s throat in the match. A little reckless, I know, but it shows the RVD would do anything to help out a match or get over a gimmick. They showed highlights of RVD leaping off the Chamber in many subsequent promos to get over the Chamber’s brutality. It worked.
3. WrestleMania 22 (2006)
As always, I love Chicago crowds but RVD was a great warm-up act for this memorable event. He along with Bobby Lashley, Matt Hardy, Ric Flair, Finlay and Shelton Benjamin were a part of the second Money in the Bank match. It was tough to follow the original but RVD was an important part in making the sequel quite memorable.
RVD was certainly assisted by an exciting Flair fall off the ladder and the amazing Shelton Benjamin but Van Dam did a lion share of the unique moments in this entertaining match. When he pushed over Matt Hardy and Shelton Benjamin to claim the Money in the Bank, the Chicago crowd went wild. After nearly five years of living in the middle card, RVD has another shot at the WWE title. It certainly has to be in the top of any list of RVD WWE moments.
2. Invasion (2001)
This was the first event I ever saw at a WWE Blast Area and it was a lot of a fun. While this hyped event didn’t live up to its extremely high expectations, one match made stars that night. Many WWE fans wouldn’t support any “Alliance” members but that changed during one match. We all became fans of Rob Van Dam.
The match of the night by far was Van Dam’s match with Jeff Hardy for the Hardcore Championship. It is only a twelve-minute match but it had a tremendous pace and was loaded with brutal spots. One that comes to mind was Jeff Hardy falling off a twenty-foot ladder onto concrete. Jim Ross said his famous “How do you learn to fall off a twenty foot ladder?” line. A Van Daminator quickly followed with Van Dam connecting with Hardy’s face who falls onto the unique Invasion set. Do Rob Van Dam and Jeff Hardy ever have any regard for their well being?
It ends with a series of unique reversals and counters along with RVD performing the Five Star Splash onto Jeff Hardy for his first WWE title. It was an amazing match that introduced RVD to a new audience and made two stars in the process.
1. ECW One Night Stand (2006)
This is still one of my favorite pay-per-views of all time. The thing I enjoyed most about the show was the “home field advantage” feel of the ECW crowd. They booed everyone that was from the WWE roster quite mercilessly. No one was booed more then John Cena.
My favorite thing about the match was likely before it started. John Cena threw his shirt to the crowd only to watch it repeatedly get thrown back to him on multiple occasions. Cena seemed to be enjoying playing the bad guy very much against Rob Van Dam.
The match was a lot of fun because of the crowd loved everything Van Dam did and booed everything Cena did. Cena got one of his first “You Can’t Wrestle” chants, which is ironic because he tried a lot of different moves in this match.
When Edge speared Cena through a table, Rob Van Dam took advantage. Paul Heyman had the honor of counting Van Dam to victory.
It was quite an emotional scene watching the entire ECW locker room celebrate RVD’s first WWE Championship. It was the best moment of the “New” ECW and the best of RVD’s WWE career.
So there you have it. Rob Van Dam has been a part of some fun moments in the WWE history. I understand this list doesn’t scratch the surface of his memorable WWE matches but I picked the one that I think were most important to his WWE career. I hope, like Chris Jericho, he can find the drive to put on some great matches with the new talent. His unique style could lead to this above list being revisited in the future. For the sake of the WWE, I sure hope so.
Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s hope RVD can create some more amazing moments in his WWE return. I would love to hear your favorite RVD moments as well.