The native of Battle Creek, MI, started off as a kickboxer. Highly skilled in the martial arts, a weightlifting fanatic and a big wrestling fan, when he heard that the original Sheik was training guys to become wrestlers in a local gym he jumped at the chance.So he went to detroit tried out , the Sheik liked his style and accepted him in his school.Now this wasnt you regular wrestling school, really he would train once a week in the sheiks back yard if the gym wasnt avalable, even sleep in his living room floor.When the sheik couldnt be there to train with his students his nephew SABU would fill in. Of course this is where the rivalry that later turned into a freindship and partnership took place.
So Rob would graduate with honors for the training faclity and went staight to work for an independent in florida in 1991, his real name really didnt sound right to local promoters but when they recognized his uncanny resemblence to Jean-Claude Van Damme, and his incredible arieal and mat wrestling ability, there was only one choice for his ring name, and Rob Van Dam was born.
So Van Dam would tough it out in the indys for about a year.Touring the indy circuit and gaining respect all over florida and georgia.He was scouted by WCW for a while, and got in on both his ability and a local promoters connections with WCW. He was known as Robbie V there, basically a jobber that made the big guys look good.Nothing special really he didnt last but about 6 months with WCW.But what WCW didnt see in him All Japan Pro Wrestling did, so he went to japan and was an instant hit with the japanese audience, he met back up with his old freind SABU there in tokyo one night, they formed a tag team and smoked the compitition there.
So he spent a year between the US and Japan, working the indys here and AJPW there.He came back full time in 1995 where he and Bobby Bradely formed a pretty good tag team calle Aerial Assault, but promoters seen that Rob was a little better at singles action than tag. So the team was forced to break up at the end of that year. Van Dam answered opportuniies knock at the door when he signed with ECW in january of 1996, he also done a cameo in the action movie Superfights that year .
You would think that hed be satisfied with that really but nope, he went into a fued for respect with his former freind SABU, that seen these 2 have some awesome high flying battles in the summer of 96. It got to the point that these 2 were taken to the hospital every night to be either treated for exaustion or injuries.But when Van Dams partner no showed a event at the ECW arena one night, he was forced to ask his former freind and now enemy to be his partner against Doug Furnas and Phil Lafon at the November To Remember 96 , so SABU agreed and the match between these 2 teams went to a 30 minute time limit draw that peole are still talking about today.
So 1997 would roll around, and ECW would have there frist ever PPV Barely Legal, Van Dam and Lance Storm tore the house down on that ppv, but that night Van Dam would make the announcement that would basically piss everybody off, that he was ready, willing and able to work on monday nights. This sparked contoversy that only got worse as Van Dam crossed promtional lines twice, the night after joining Sabu and bill afonso in ther anti ECW campain he was spotted backstage at a WCW Monday Nitro event talking to a member of the nWo, then just 2 weeks later he made an apperance as Jerry Lawlers new ant ECW sidekick on WWF Raw is War. Needless to say ECW officals were PISSED.
This started the now infamous ECW vs USWA vs WWF war that raged thoughout the summer of 97 , that seen RVD ,SABU, Lawler , Bill Alfonso and Jim Cornette, attack ECW on a regular basis. But after Lawler and his cronies turned tailed and run in fear of another beating by Tommy Dreamer , TAZ and the Sandman. Van Dam , Sabu and alfonso were on there own to face all the anger of ECW on their own.
So after they sufferd mumerous losses to the ECW crew towards the end of 97 and the begigning of 98, Van Dam and SABU went back to being loyal and dominating ECW again. But there was trouble in paradise as RVD took SABUs chance at glory when he beat Bam Bam Bigelow in Buffalow ,NY for the ECW tv belt. This caused a sort of rift between the 2 that didnt get settled that quickly. RVD was gaining more popularity by the day , Sabu didnt like that , so ECW officals signed the match between the 2 at Wrestlepooza 98 for the belt. it went to a time limit draw.
So everyone though that RVD and SABU had Broken up WRONG. They fooled all of us one night , in a tag team match between RVD and Lance Storm vs SABU and Chris Candido, the 2 turned on the fueding tag team champs, Van Dam his a top rope VANDAMINATOR on storm that busted his head WIDE open, and they nearly tore Candidos ear off by perfoming their Signatrue double team manuver Rolling Thunder. they quickly took the belts from Candido and Storm and finaly proved to every one that they truley are the best tag team in Wrestling, but still they didnt get along that well .
They defended the belts against any and all challengers , probaly the best defense that they made of the belts was against japanese superstars Hiabusa and Jinsei Shinsaki(Hakushi)at the Heatwave 98 PPV. But they lost the belts to the Dudley Boys in september because of interference by the triple threat, this lead to an unholy aliance with TAZ going into the November to Remember 98 PPV , they defeated the Triple Threat that night and went on to regain the ECW tag belts in japan against the Dudleys .
1999 was truly the year of Rob Van Dam,he defended agaisnt any and all challengers.But the one who gave him his biggest challenge had to be without a doubt Jerry Lynn.Lynn had taken RVD to the extreme in the past and there meeting at the Living Dangerously 99 PPV proved that RVD could be challenged.It had to be the match of the year on Pay Per View for any organization,the 30 minute draw seen Van Dam grab the victory from Lynn in overtime.The stage was set the 2 would battle all the way to the Hardcore Heaven PPV taking each other to the limit each time with RVD squeezing out a victory,so at the PPV it wa set.No time limit there must be a winner.The match equaled if not was better there perfomance at LD,with RVD scoring the win via Five Star Frog Splash at the 45 minute mark. But the fued continued,a batttle the emerged between Jerry Lynn and the Impact players most notably Justin Credible for who was the number 1 contender for the belt.The Players had already got RVD s partner SABU banned from wrestling in the US, RVD was without a parther,but who better to fill the void than The New Fn Show Jerry Lynn.The 2 teamed at Heat Wave 99 against Credible and Storm in a stellar match that seen a RVD and Lynn tear the Impact Players a new ass,even a misque and interferrence by SABU who basically attacked everybody in sight couldnt keep them from a win,but now with ECWs debut on TNN on the horizon the RVD/Jerry Lynn rivalrie was in full swing once again.
At ECWs historic first TNN taping at The madhouse of Extreme in queens NY, they tore the house down once again,this time Jerry Lynn was the closest he has ever been to taking the TV title away from RVD,but once agsin the Impact Players would interfere and cost Lynn the belt.Jerry Lynn would go on to fued further with the Players as RVD ran both of them off at the ECW arena when he Vandaminatored the hell out of Lance Storm to keep the belt.Then we had a problem.RVD had beaten everybody already,he beat Balls Mahoney at Anarchy Rulz 99 ,and fended off challenges from Spike Dudley,RHINO,Masato Tanaka among others.Enter TAZ!!!!!! TAZ was on his way out of ECW getting ready to enter the WWF,So SABU and TAZ would try end there legendary fued on TNN, SABU and TAZ beat the living crap out of each other with SABU finally getting the win over the Human Suplex Machine,but when the impact Players attacked SABU after the match it was up to RVD to save him.But after clearing the ring,and arguing with SABU out of no where TAZ hooked the Tazmission on RVD.The stage was set for TAZs last match in ECW ,RVD Vs TAZ, the one man TAZ hadnt destroyed.It was a true mat classic at the 1999 November To Remember with RVD winning and TAZ shaking his hand and leaving ECW in honorable fashion.
Now there was one man left to defend the title against.SABU!!!!!!!The partnership between the 2 had dissovled in ugly fashion on TNN 2 weeks after N2R 99 with RVD seriously injuring the arabina mad man, SABU risked permant injury as usual to fight RVD, so the stage was set RVD vs SABU at Guilty as Charged 2000 for the TV belt.It was one for the ages, SABU matched RVD move for violent move, they beat each other half to death.But RVD finally proved he was the better man by pinning SABU.But all hell broke loose as in a fit of jealous rage ECW world Champion Mike Awesome called out RVD to a match at the ECW arena.The fans went nuts we were finally gonna see RVD take the world titel.Little did he know that out of nowhere SABU would come back with a vengence, the lights went out and there was SABU, but it was all a trick.SABU turned on his partner and his manager that night in a violent rage.RVD found an ally in Little Spike Dudley to fight the new alliance of Awesome and SABU.But the fued never took off
On January 30th 2000 in Orlando FL while defending the TV title against RHINO,in a freak accident while performing the simplest of moves a baseball slide kick, RVDs ankle buckled and broke in 2 places,ECW fans were crushed.2 months later RVD was stripped of the ECW Tv Title by Cyrus and TNN just a month shy of the 2 year annerversay of winning the belt rom Bam Bam Bigelow.RVD broken leg and all vowed that he would beat the ass of whoever got the belt.A Tournament was held and at Living Dangerously 2000 Super Crazy with he help of RVd and the sandman defeated the networks hand picked champion RHINO.But when RVD returns it 4:20 time again and i feel sorry for Rhino.