Rob Van Dam Talks Vince McMahon, ECW's Return & Losing Faith In It
By Ryan Clark | November 12, 2009
Winning the WWE Title & Vince's ECW: "RVD wasn't going to be WWE champ, but I brought ECW back because that was my spirit and the spirit of the fans. I knew they wanted to see it and I was feeding off that energy. Winning the world title meant a lot. It gave creditability to ECW. At least for the moment...so we thought! But very shortly afterwards Vince McMahon's long-term plans started to unfold.
"We were faced with the fact that he would give ECW no credit for anything up until that point and wanted to create this new brand of wrestling that would be a global product and mainstream in every way, with Extreme Rules only as a stipulation every once in a while. Our hearts were ripped out of our chests and stomped on. Vince said: "Nobody remembers the old ECW anyway, Rob. This is something new." So it was a fun moment, it was short-lived and it's definitely gone now.
Paul Heyman's Feelings About the new ECW: He would come to work and just tell me how much disdain and loathing he had for Vince. I remember him saying it was like Vince had raped his wife, because ECW was so close to his heart and Vince f***ed it. He felt Vince enjoyed watching him suffer, while ripping apart the fabric of ECW week by week. But Paul has no resentment now and no desire to get back at Vince. He has made balance and is in a peaceful stage, like I am. It's just something we laugh about.
On talking with Vince McMahon: I had some great matches with Test, Bob Holly and Big Show. But almost right away they added "credibility" — as Vince put it — to the show, by adding rules. So then it became that Extreme Rules would be one match out of the night, like a lottery drawing. It watered down the rest of the card. I lost faith at a very precise moment, when I lost an argument with Vince over it. I told him: "In ECW you have a product that is different, you should capitalise on that difference. That's why the fans like it and are attracted to it." That's when Vince told me that nobody remembered the old ECW and he created this enthusiasm for this new ECW. I said: "Wait a second, didn't we bring it back because of the success of the DVD and One Night Stand. Didn't that tell us there's a lot of support still." He said: "Well Rob, there's a lot of support because they're watching WWE promote ECW. They weren't around back then. People grow up, have kids, things change." I replied: "That doesn't make sense. Come on Vince, why do you think they chant 'ECW' when we're doing something out there." He said: "Well, because I spent the last five years training them to chant 'ECW'. We've got to have credibility Rob and that means we have to listen to the referees." I realised I can't tell Vince McMahon what is best for a global product. You have to dumb things down to hit the mainstream, and if you only target the hardcore then you're going to have a much smaller cult following. That wasn't what he wanted. I even put it like that, and he agreed! That was the moment I thought: "OK, bye bye old ECW. At least we still have the DVDs and the memories."