Rob Van Dam joined Adam Barnard on the Foundation Radio podcast to discuss his life and thoughts on professional wrestling in the current climate.
The ECW alumni was asked about the use of in-ring psychology in wrestling today. The Whole F’n Show explained that a lot has changed and that there is a lack of old-school fundamentals.
“It’s definitely changed,” Rob Van Dam said. “It’s a lack of the old-school fundamentals. You know, when I got trained by The Original Sheik, he was no high-flyer, you know what I mean? I had to do his kind of wrestling, which was all about getting your opponent to the ground trying to pin him. Trying to pin his shoulders to the mat every chance you got it. And then I had to learn how to sneak in a backflip or a spin here and there around that. And so, that’s what made my style smart compatible.
“Like, I was in All Japan, Stan Hansen used to give me sh*t when I was really young. You know, I started 22 in All Japan, and Stan, he would see me doing all these flips and he would give me sh*t. Like before a match, we’d talk and he’d say, ‘we’ll let [John] Nord get in there and do all his sh*t and we’ll try and tag me in and make it believable again.’
“Anyway, I got that kind of a vibe for a while, but then with Stan, I was in the ring with him and then he realized it wasn’t, ‘hold my foot. Let’s count to three and then you throw me, and I’ll do a backflip out of your hand.’ It wasn’t like that at all. I shouldered him into the corner, I did a backflip and I ran at him, put my boot in his face, and afterward, he told me I gained his respect. He was like, ‘Wow, I never seen that up close before. You were there and then you disappeared. I didn’t know where you were.’”
The six-time WWE Intercontinental Champion spoke about the current crop of talent, how he feels they have become prone to imitating what they have seen when watching pro-wrestling.
“These guys grew up watching me and some of my peers, but they didn’t have the old-school mentality drilled into their head,” Rob Van Dam explained. “So, they kind of just imitated what they thought was fun. And then the competition of it is something that I think becomes less and less as the original foundation of the old boys club, the seat behind the door of the secret society. That changes into more of an equal opportunity work safe environment that we’re gonna be. The style changed.”