AEW's Rob Van Dam Talks About Being Discovered, Told He'd Be World Champion One Day

When Rob Van Dam defeated John Cena for the WWE Championship in June 2006, it was viewed as a victory not just for RVD, but for all the wrestlers who were dubbed "Not World Champion material" by promoters. For years, RVD and others who came from the rebellious ECW, were perceived as stunt artists more than professional wrestlers, a reputation that "The Whole F'N Show" successfully changed by achieving great heights in WWE and later in TNA.

Although RVD did take an unconventional path to superstardom, a promoter in the early '90s predicted his success after discovering him on the indie circuit. RVD recounted the story on his "1 Of A Kind" podcast when asked how he decided on the 5-Star Frog Splash as his finishing maneuver. 

"A wrestling promoter called Ron Slinker from Tampa, Florida discovered me in USWA," RVD recalled. "He was there, working a little bit with Bill Dundee, but mostly to have his eyes on his son-in-law Dennis Knight [Mideon in WWE]. He saw me and was like, 'Kid, you're gonna be a World Champion someday.' He brought me down to Florida, he gave me the name Rob Van Dam, he got me the job in WCW [after talking] with Bill Watts."

RVD credited Slinker for convincing him to change up his finishing move from the split-legged moonsault to the 5-Star Frog Splash, a change that massively contributed to his success story. 

"Slicker said, 'It's a pretty move, but most of the guys you're wrestling are a lot bigger than you. You need a finishing move that's more impactful.' I was like, 'Damn, really?' I thought about it ... and came up with the 5-Star Frog Splash."