Posted by Alex Barie
Most of you probably know that Rob Van Dam went from TNA Wrestling to the other side… up North… to the WWE. His contract expired, but there were talks about him re-signing with the company. On the other hand, WWE also wanted Rob Van Dam on their roster. It was going back and forth. Ultimately, Rob signed with WWE and it was made public at WWE Payback. A 48 second video lit the wrestling world on fire. People were going crazy. As soon as it was announced, TNA took Rob’s roster page off of their site. Lots of stories came about since the signing. Some good and some negative. Let’s try to pick apart what is going on.
His Time in TNA while being in TNA
Before discussing the present, I have to write about the past. Rob Van Dam made his TNA Wrestling debut on March 8, 2010 where he faced Sting and beat him in seconds. The crowd was going crazy. They were on fire! Sadly, that feeling ended with Sting attacking him after the match. It quickly changed to a Sting and Hulk Hogan confrontation. Looking back on it, was Rob’s debut short lived? Was it quickly taken away by Hulk? Before you answer, you have to remember what the storyline was about at that point. With Sting trying to warn Dixie Carter about Hulk and Eric Bischoff, you can’t say anyone took Rob’s debut away. Here’s his debut for enjoyment:
Rob Van Dam went on to beat AJ Styles for the TNA World Title about a month later. That, in my opinion, led to the demise of AJ Styles for several years. RVD, however, went on to have a successful title reign for months. His reign ended in August, but not because he lost, but because he was stripped. The storyline had RVD severely injured by the hands of Abyss, but, in reality, the dates on Rob’s contract were coming to an end, so they needed to save them.
Rob came back about a month later and got revenge on Abyss and other Immortal members. He went after the TNA World Title once again, but failed every time. After Immortal’s end, Rob had various feuds with Jerry Lynn, Christopher Daniels, and Gunner. Every now and then, RVD would show up in a #1 contender’s match for the TNA World Title. He even participated in the Bound for Glory Series. In 2012, he finished in 5th place. Since he couldn’t battle for the biggest prize, TNA changed his direction and focused him on the X-Division. He won the X-Division Title and held it for over 100 days. He lost it against Kenny King and that became his final match in TNA Wrestling.
His time in TNA while not being in TNA
Rob Van Dam’s last match in TNA was in February. Since then, everyone questioned whether Rob was done with TNA. During that time, TNA kept Rob’s roster page on their official website. We knew Rob’s contract expired, but we also know he was talking back and forth between TNA and WWE. TNA probably felt that they had a chance to re-sign him. They had to have the feeling that he would come back. He didn’t. The announcement that he is coming to WWE was made on WWE Payback, which was only 8 days ago. In those 8 days, there has been a lot of talk. One is by Hulk Hogan. A fan asked Hulk on Twitter about Rob and Hulk answered. His tweet is below:
@Dirrty_Fighterr I have no idea what’s going on with RVD,that’s a Dixie and Bruce Prichard deal brother HH
— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) June 17, 2013
While some can quickly criticize Hulk, I went on to question something. I questioned Hulk’s rule in the company. When Hulk first came to TNA in 2010, with Eric Bischoff, they changed everything. They were really in charge. They changed the day of the show and the time of the show. They changed the entire Impact Zone and the ring, and they even changed the roster. The company was flipped upside down. That is a good and bad thing. Now, 3 years later, it looks like Hulk is not in control of the roster. It looks more and more like he is there as an on-air talent. Sure, Hulk has a say in the company, but is he hiring the stars? Doesn’t look like it. I was told that, “It all comes down to Dixie Carter. It is looking more and more like that. We can’t blame Hogan. Now it is Rob Van Dam’s time to sound off on Twitter. I fan asked him why he left TNA. He said his contract expired, but said a lot more than that. Here is his tweet below:
— Rob Van Dam (@TherealRVD) June 23, 2013
It’s not a secret that TNA has had a bad time with contracts. We seen that with Bobby Roode to the controversial contract mishap with Devon. We know TNA did not forget about Rob’s contract, but they were unable to meet his demands. Rob said the company lacked, “Professionalism, courtesy, and respect.” I’m trying to wrap my head around this description. While he could be talking about booking wise, he could very well be talking backstage wise. We certainly won’t know about whether it is backstage problems until we can hear more. Rob telling it is only giving us one side of the story. Remember, there are always two sides of every story. Usually in the wrestling business we hear one side and stick to it. That makes the truth and reality get mixed up with lies and fiction. Just think of the Kurt Angle situation when he was released from WWE. Kurt had his problems, but he also didn’t get a break for years and he was put on a 3rd rated show.
I will take the booking approach though. When Rob came into the company in 2010, as I mentioned above, he was in the title hunt for well over a year. In fact, he was TNA World Champion at one point. His character fell though, in my opinion, when he moved to the X-Division. The division was in shambles. Honestly, I felt like they moved him there to rebuild the division. I loved seeing him X-Division Champion because he had the opportunity to make the division big again. It really never took off the way I thought it should. It seemed like Rob put everything into his matches, even though there were some botches in his matches, but he fought every time. Should we blame the TNA writing team? Should we go after Eric Bischoff and Dave Lagana?
It is a two way street. First off, TNA had a lot going on during the time period. The Aces & 8s started in 2012 and that was the main focus on the shows every week. Not only that, the company had to build the story on stars to stop this group. They tried to build the X-Division again, but also needed to build the Knockout division. Don’t forget the tag team division! There was a lot going on and everyone got moved around. Look at Bobby Roode and Austin Aries! They were shifted to the tag team division, even though they main evented last year. People had to be moved in order to build the main story.
The other street takes us to a quite funny place. This is where people are saying that RVD should have been the main focus. He should have had a more credible role. Now that is funny because those very people are the ones that say the company should push younger stars. TNA did push younger stars like Aries and Roode. Now they think Rob should have been in the main event. Funny how they eat the exact words. It’s either you give the younger guys the opportunity or you keep the veterans on top.
The same goes with how WWE is doing things. People will attack TNA for not making Rob relevant. Let me ask those people about WWE’s usage of Brock Lesnar. When Brock made his return to WWE, the world was going crazy. They were pumped! They were shocked! Brock went on and lost his first match against John Cena. Did that make Brock relevant anymore? Did that make him a threat any longer? Now, what about Chris Jericho?! Chris is a part-time talent in WWE, but when he is in a storyline, he is basically full-time as he appears on every Raw and Smackdown. In this point of his career, Chris has nothing to accomplish. He is in the same boat as Rob. Chris went under to Fandango and Curtis Axel. So, does that make Chris irrelevant? Does that mean WWE isn’t using Chris to his fullest? Those are the same questions people asked in regards to Rob this past week. Yeah, Chris is pushing the younger guys, but didn’t he really help make Kenny King the leader of the X-Division for several months?
I am by no means attacking WWE or Rob Van Dam or even TNA. Simply put, Rob was with TNA for 3 years and achieved a lot during that time. He was in the main event scene for well over a year and then went on to try to rebuild a division. Rob jumped to the ship called WWE, but who can blame him?! In this point of his career, he is looking for one more run. He wants this run to be a big one. Is there any other way to do it other than WWE? Sure, he was looking to get the most money and didn’t want to have the horrible road schedule, but he also wanted to be in the major spotlight. He wants to be in front of that 20,000+ crowd. It is a feeling like no other. Rob makes his own decisions. It’s what he wants and what he feels is the best. Honestly, it is great that he can very well end his career with a whole lot of eyes looking at him. The sad thing is how he is turning his shoulder on a place that gave him a job for 3 years. He knows he doesn’t have to go to TNA again, so he isn’t afraid to take them down. It’s unprofessional but it’s part of the business. Yet, I’m sure he very well liked TNA’s laid back style and freedom. I’m very well sure he liked their schedule; yet, he will probably not hear about that.
Rob moved on and is starting a new chapter in his life. A chapter that is wrapped around restrictions and tension. It’s a choice Rob picked and best of luck to him!
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