After a six year gap, Rob Van Dam returned to Impact Wrestling at last month's United We Stand iPPV. In an inclusive interview on Booker T's "Hall of Fame" podcast, RVD discussed what it's like to be back with Impact.
"It is really great man," Van Dam said. "All the boys are really respectful, before, sometimes they don't want to seem like marks or whatever, but these guys were coming up to me saying, sorry, but I grew up watching you, you don't know what it means to me to see you here. That goes a long way when you feel appreciated and besides I know I am already appreciated on the business end, which is really why I was there in the first place. That is why I will be a professional like I always am and hopefully I can help the company get ahead."
The former WWE Champion revealed that he has stayed fairly active as a wrestler over the years, even if he hasn't been competing on television. Van Dam noted that his limited schedule has worked in his favor.
"Perspectively, due to the fans, especially the ones that watch wrestling on television, to them RVD is coming back," RVD said. "To me, it is not that much different, like I still keep up with the matches. I have 10-12 matches a year for the last 3-4 years. This isn't going to be that much more than that if at all. It's just going to be on TV and instead of being in Italy or Australia or whatever. I feel like, this is what I do.
"That is exactly how it feels. It feels like when I am in the ring I know what I am doing because it is all I have been doing for the last 20 years and I feel good. I have to feel good to go out there. Because I have 10-12 matches a year I have to keep at the top of my shape. I have to feel ready. I do push it a little more before the matches, which I push the cardio when it gets closer to the match because that is the worst feeling in the world to blow up in the ring. As long as that doesn't happen I am good."
Like every great entertainer, in this case athlete, change occurs. Some may not maintain the same mindset they had when they first began their official sport. In Van Dam's case, he stated that now he can appreciate his days in ECW then he did when he was younger, due to being solely focused on his competition and how he was going to rise to the top.
"I can appreciate it a lot more now than I could back then and that is because I was in that mind of competition," said Van Dam. "With all the inner studying that I have been doing the last several years that is something that I realized is a huge difference in my perspective in life: I don't look at it as competition, that is what works for me in my Zen, to just be chill."
In addition to him talking about his competitive spirit back in ECW, he also credited Sabu for serving as a mentor to him throughout his time there.
"Not looking to compete, having to be the first one to get there or having to compare myself to anyone else, but back in the day I was building a name for myself and as soon as I got into the ECW dressing room Sabu was my mentor and whatever he said was gold for me," he explained. "I just looked at him and to nobody else. The Original Shiek used to say that to me all the time: nobody else knows what they are talking about just listen to me and so Sabu pointed out to everybody the very first time over there, Sabu would point to The Dudley's and he would say, those guys over there suck, they think they're good but they suck; those guys over there suck and would point fingers, and that is what it was like for me and I believed him, and that was just how it was."
You can listen to the entire interview by clicking here. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Booker T's Hall of Fame podcast with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.