Rob Van Dam doesn’t like what he’s seeing from a lot of wrestling in the modern era. The Sheik-trained wrestler feels that a lot of current wrestling flies in the face of the way he was trained.
“I’m still offended by a lot of the stuff that I see nowadays,” Van Dam said on the Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling podcast. “Because I was taught, and I hate it when people say, ‘Oh, I wasn’t brought up that way,’ no one was brought up that way, we have to adapt. Your perception changes when you’re an adult.”
Van Dam went on to explain how a concern for each other’s safety is holding back current wrestlers. “The number one rule was to protect the business, always, always, always was, and then somewhere way down the road, it became, ‘number one rule: safety first.’ Like, what?”
Van Dam feels that this was “so opposite” of how he was trained by territory legend The Sheik. “The way we trained, if you got bloody, that was good for the match, it made it looked good. And there was no air allowed between anybody, my whole training with Shiek was about grabbing each other and bringing each other in tighter. Bringing each other in whether its a headlock, or a waistlock, or an armlock, it was always about coming in and squeezing. Anytime someone was on their back, boom, you better be jumping on him trying to pin him, trying to win. And that’s not the way I see a lot of wrestling today. A lot of times, it eats me up.
“What’s the right way to put it? Some things are less than enjoyable for me to watch just because of that mentality, old school perspective that I have,” Van Dam continued, trying to be as political as possible with his answer, “because I see what’s missing and the audience might not always know what’s missing, but they just know they’re not connecting in the way they used to be, you know, back in the day with other wrestlers when it was different.”
Van Dam discusses a certain existential dread that he feels when watching modern wrestling. The concern for safety has him wondering what the logical endpoint for this new style would be, “What’s it gonna be, eventually? Unless it just goes straight up to a broadway play.”
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