"Rob told me, when I first met him. He said, "You know I was one of those people that came out of the audience and did one of Ted Dibiase's 'Will you do this for money' deal," Prichard explained. "He actually did the 'Kiss My Feet' thing with Ted Dibiase where he got paid to kiss his feet. We actually went back and found the footage and it was Rob Szatkowski, so I thought that was really cool. He was a mega fan."
Prior to making a name for himself in ECW, Van Dam actually got his start in WCW. Prichard said he noticed Van Dam and thought he was impressive because of his underrated strength and unique in-ring style. Prichard had considered bringing Van Dam to WWE from the first time he saw him.
"The first time I saw Rob Van Dam was actually with Dory Funk Jr, long before he was in ECW. Right about the time he was going to WCW. Rob Van Dam does the 'Van Dam Deadlift' where he takes two chairs and does the splits and then he lifts a barbell in between," Prichard said. "Extremely difficult to do and extremely impressive when someone does it. He had a unique look and had a different style, so watching Rob from day one thought that he was special and thought someone that can come to WWE and have a big niche following."
Van Dam finally joined the WWE in 2001 as part of the infamous Invasion storyline. As members of The Alliance, Van Dam had frequent interactions with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin but they never had a real feud. Prichard said he thought there was more that could've been done with the two of them because they had great chemistry together.
"The Alliance stuff with Steve Austin and Rob Van Dam, to me, that was where I fell in love with RVD because I really didn't know him that well, except superficially, but when we were doing stuff with Steve Austin and Steve was doing stuff with his watch and doing the 'What?' chant and looking at his watch, we're shooting and I am telling Rob to act natural, react and just go with it because I wasn't a big fan of scripts, so I would let the guys freestyle at times, and if it would work we would go with it," Prichard said. "So, Steve is putting his watch in his ear and RVD takes the watch and puts the watch up to his ear asking what it is he was listening to. It was real, and it was something that everybody wanted to do but they're looking for a script, but I told Rob to just freestyle with it and it was good. Steve and Rob had a chemistry in the backstage vignettes where we thought that there may be something there. It was just good chemistry."
If any of these quotes are used, please use the h/t of Something To Wrestle with Bruce Prichard via Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.