Former WWE world champion Rob Van Dam has not been shy about revealing the struggles he's experienced in and out of the ring. An in-depth documentary titled "Headstrong" will be released on Feb. 19 and will dive into some of RVD's hard times, giving fans a look at the dark things he's experienced and how he's overcome them.
The official press release describes the documentary as controversial. On last week's episode of our WINCLY podcast, Van Dam told Wrestling Inc. managing editor Nick Hausman that the topic of concussions is heavily featured in the film, so he thinks the description is accurate.
"I didn't write the press release myself, but when I read that I called Joe Clarke, who's the director of it who wrote that, and I said, 'Dude, why do you think this movie is controversial?' Because first I was like, 'Wait, maybe this is the controversial Rob Van Dam documentary, that makes sense.' And he said, 'You know what, it has to do with concussions, even talking about concussions is controversial nowadays.' I said, 'You're absolutely right,'" Van Dam said. "People that have heard me do outside of scripted wrestling promos whether it's interviews on shows like this or if they've met me, they find that I'm very genuine and open and honest... This documentary is a good representation of just that. I'm really excited about it, I think people are gonna love it. I always talk about things that I think are appropriate even if other people don't. In this movie you'll see that we talk about concussions and we talk about things that I went through."
Van Dam opened up about a rough few weeks at the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016. He went through a divorce, his dog died and then his father passed away. Understandably, all these things were very difficult for him and he admitted that he turned to alcohol to cope with his grief. He would even incorporate these difficult situations into his stand-up comedy sets, which didn't work out very well. He said he is in a much better place now, but in the documentary there will be footage of him going through hard times.
"This documentary does follow that, it's part of the storyline because you get to see me coming out of it, the tail-end of it," he said. "But now after having all of that put behind me, and I got the most amazing girlfriend Katie Forbes, and we're both super happy, you can't get us down, and life does try every once in a while. That's a lot of what this movie is about, keeping you zen-full vibrations and moving around the obstacles life will throw at you."
Van Dam was also asked about the possibility of wrestlers forming a union to improve their working conditions. With the current state of wrestling where WWE is still the clear number-one while there's a rise in independent promotions, RVD said he just doesn't think it's viable for wrestlers to unionize.
"I don't see it, honestly. The same way I've always felt about it is, when I think of unions, I think of a trade business, something like construction, truck drivers. These are careers where thousands and thousands of people have jobs, you can go to school and take trade courses to help you in that way, to help start your career... With wrestling, it's really not like that," he said. "When people talk about wrestling having unions, I've always felt like they were pretty much talking about the one big company... For that matter, we're independent contractors, if you want your insurance covered you work it out and have it part of your deal. You have it put in your deal between you and your boss, that's the way it is right now. I don't see that changing unless wrestling becomes mainstream as baseball. We play baseball and football in school, we don't do pro wrestling. It's a very niche part of entertainment that I see being very special, and in a way works against it in a matter of trying to be unionized."
"Headstrong" will be released today on iTunes.
Rob Van Dam's full WINCLY interview can be heard in the embedded audio player below. Subscribe to Wrestling Inc. Audio on iTunes or Google Play. Listen to the show via Spotify here or through TuneIn here.