Recently on The Steve Austin Show, WWE Hall Of Famer Steve Austin talked with professional wrestling legend Rob Van Dam. Van Dam shared his thoughts on working for WWE and how he was booked during his most recent run with the company. Also, Van Dam recalled the circumstances surrounding him walking out on WWE in 1997 during the ECW invasion angle.
According to RVD, he enjoyed working with WWE, but he does not like the politics. One example provided by 'The Whole F'n Show' involved other WWE performers trying to make him look bad in the squared circle.
"ECW was the most fun for me, artistically. And then, WWE, it was also very fun, but that was part of it. It was also very stressful, monotonous schedule, there was a lot of politics, adjusting to that, and I am not a politician, and I don't play those games. So that was very frustrating for me as well."
Van Dam added, "working with some of the boys and them trying to politic their way to make themselves look better during the match like I'm an idiot! Like I'm an Idiot! Do you know what I mean? It's like, 'well, why do I have to run into the guy and just bump into him? What I do, is I do special moves! Why can't I go to do a kick and you duck it. Boom, I kick him and turn around. It'd be the same thing, but I'd look better.' 'Ummm, they don't really like that kind of stuff here, they like…' That is the kind of stuff I was dealing with, talking with the boys."
Van Dam claimed that WWE did not look at him like a former world champion during his 2013 run with the company and that he should have spoken up about his poor booking sooner.
"The last run I did with WWE, it seems like they had me put everybody over but Nattie Neidhart and I waited until the end before I had that talk and explained my feelings on it. And I kind of felt, I should've probably, maybe. I don't know. I don't regret it. Definitely, a different approach to business would have been, talk earlier, and I would have had a different run there, had I'd done that. But at the same time, I was, 'hmmm… lets give it another night and see what happens' and also, it was like, 'okay,' I'm accepting, 'this must be how the office sees me, must've brought me in here just to give all their guys a win or whatever - they must not look at me with the same status as my fans do or definitely as a former world champion with the respect that I get outside of the office or at least at that time.'"
Also during the podcast, Van Dam discussed WWE's ECW invasion angle of 1997. 'Mr. Monday Night' suggested that then-ECW boss Paul Heyman hoped Van Dam and Sabu would get heat with WWE as to eliminate WWE as a potential suitor for his standout performers. Van Dam divulged that WWE head Vince McMahon never would have put Van Dam on WWE TV if he did not believe RVD was staying with WWE at that time.
"I walked out on them in '97 during that invasion angle because I was there for the betterment of ECW, and that's what Sabu and I thought. And Vince thought that I was there for a different reason and Paul kept us in the dark about that. He told us the whole time, 'if there's anything you don't like, just say the word - we'll go, we'll walk.' And it came a point, we're there to put ECW on the map on their TV. Well, he did mean it. He wanted us to get heat with WWE, so he could keep us. That's the way Paul was. And I told him, 'dude, they wanted me to put over Armstrong, Brian Armstrong. And what's that going to do for ECW?'"
Van Dam continued, "so I got to a point where I'm like, 'Paul, what should we do?' Instead of give me advice, [Heyman replied] 'do you want to go? If you want to go, just say the word.' He put it all on me. And yeah, I can't can't come in and do the J-O-B. And they had been doing that, so it forced a meeting with Vince. Myself, Sabu, with Vince, and, I don't know, Jerry Brisco was there, I think. Prichard and Paul were in the corner talking to each other, not even paying attention to the meeting. And that's where I learned from Vince that he never would have put me on his TV if he didn't think I was going to stay with WWE and he was going to put me in an aggressive babyface role. And I was like, 'what?' Like, I had no idea this was the plan and apparently, Paul, he did know, so that's why that blew up. And then, I was there for ECW and it was like, 'we've got to go,' and, boom, we left."
Check out the show here. If you use any of the quotes that appear in this article, please credit The Steve Austin Show with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: The Steve Austin Show