The first time I saw Rob Van Dam wrestle was in the autumn/winter months of 2004 just after I started watching wrestling. At the time, WWE Smackdown used to air on Saturday mornings on Sky One. From 10am onwards, I was glued to the screen as Smackdown would start, and then a couple of months later I began to watch Bottom Line which aired on Sky One too featuring highlights of Raw.
Becoming a fan of Rob Van Dam (or RVD as he is sometimes known) happened almost in the blink of an eye. At first I didn’t much care about him. Over time I began to notice him more as he was a popular wrestler, and a major fixture on Smackdown at the time. Originally I didn’t care much about him as I thought he wasn’t any good, usually seemed to lose matches and bust his nose every week. Then one episode of Smackdown came where after his weekly match, he was a Lumberjack in a Lumberjack match, and after a couple of viewings of the episode, I was getting in to his rather strange entrance theme which just seemed to be full of people shouting “HEY!”. I told my brother that I didn’t think much of him and why, but then he told me that actually Rob Van Dam was a former Intercontinental Champion. I don’t know what it was, but almost instantly that changed my perception of RVD. Every show I watched after that made me think differently towards him, and he instantly became one of my favourite wrestlers on the show.
In 2005 I bought a copy of the RVD DVD; One Of A Kind released by WWE, which chartered RVD’s early career from WCW, All Japan, ECW and WWE. It was from watching this DVD that I learned more about him and became an even bigger fan. Soon I had a picture of RVD on my bedroom wall, I even used his character a lot in the game WWE Day of Reckoning for the GameCube.
It has been a long time since I saw a regular appearance of Rob Van Dam, but looking back now a few things come to mind. Firstly, one of the things that stood out a lot when watching Rob Van Dam wrestle, was that the commentators in WWE would “Unorthodox Style” in reference to RVD at least once per every match he was in. Every week it would almost be the case of merely waiting or timing them to see how long it would be until one of them would say “Unorthodox Style of RVD”.
Another couple of incidents include a moment which me and my brother branded an audience member as ‘The Rob Van Dam Kid’. Basically, at Survivor Series 2004, someone in the audience can be visibly seen throwing his hands around to the beat of RVD’s entrance music when RVD enters the arena. It just stood out so much, we just called the audience member from then on the Rob Van Dam kid. Another thing that has always stood out is Rob Van Dam’s collection of artistic ring attire. Every match he would be wearing a different one and they were all really colourful and had some truly terrific designs on them. Back when I wanted to be a pro-wrestler, I wanted to do something similar and had ideas for a British flag with a Triceratops in the foreground.
While it has been a while since those good old days of wrestling when I first got into it, I still have fond memories of Rob Van Dam, easily one of my favourite professional wrestlers.