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Wrestling / Rob Van Dam

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One of a kind!
*points to himself*
R... V... D!
Rob Van Dam (real name: Robert Szatkowski, born December 18, 1970) is a professional wrestler who currently works for All Elite Wrestling. He became famous for his stints in ECW and WWE, and also had successful runs in TNA/Impact. One of RVD's most famous accomplishments in ECW was that he held the ECW World Television Championship for 700 consecutive days, the longest reign of any ECW title holder, and made the title as important as the ECW World Heavyweight Championship.

As you might have guessed, he has an uncanny resemblance to Jean-Claude Van Damme. Super uncanny, hyper flexible guys known more for their cool stunts than acting ability and have had drug problems that have harmed both of their careers. He was given the name by wrestler Ron Slinker.

"The Whole F'n Tropes":

  • Acrofatic: He did not always have one but even when he did have a noticeable gut it did not slow him down at all.
  • Arch-Enemy: Sabu, Tommy Dreamer, Chris Candido, Jerry Lynn
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Somewhat invoked in real life, as Rob is credited with inventing the Van Dam Lift, a weightlifting technique where the lifter does a split between two benches and lifts a dumbbell from the ground up to the waist. While not a normal means of exercise in a gym or weight room, it is not only effective, but kinda awesome when you think about who came up with it.
  • Badass Boast: His Red Baron comes from one of ECW's classic Pulp Fiction montages, delivering a Take That! to Shawn Michaels:
    RVD: I'm Rob. Van. Dam. I'm not a Showstopper. I'm the Fucking Show.
  • Big Damn Heroes: On one episode of Raw, Kane was (and we aren't making this up) shocking Shane McMahon in the testicles. RVD showed up and finally stopped Kane after he shocked Shane twice by hitting Kane with a chair.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: The most frequent complaint leveled at RVD especially by more critical fans, who most find to be a great performer when he puts forth his best effort, but has been called out for not evolving his ring style, personality, or skill on the mic.
  • The Cameo: Stars in the music video of his entrance theme, Breaking Point's "One of a Kind".
  • Cape Swish: Inexplicably caped on the The X-Files
  • Captain Ersatz: Not as often as Sabu but he has been given representation in Fire Pro Wrestling.
  • Catchphrase: "Nobody gets higher than ROB! VAN! DAM!" And considering RVD's hobby, that's clearly meant to be taken in regards to what he does in the ring and out.
  • Chairman of the Brawl: He incorporates the steel chair for his Finishing Moves.
  • Commuting on a Bus: His return to WWE in 2013 is this; he will work for a couple months before taking some time off. This was something he pushed for when he returned.
  • Cool Teacher: For a guest spot on Hulk Hogan's celebrity wrestling. Rob Van Dam really challenged the rookies to step up their performances in the ring, including telling Butterbean to lift his guys higher when doing his finishing move, but he was very friendly about it. He also taught kickboxing on Who Wants to Be a Superhero?.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • Uses chairs as his weapons for his Finishing Moves Van Daminator and Van Terminator.
    • It should be noted that he first developed these moves in ECW, where any weapon was as legal as a headlock.
  • Contortionist: You almost have to be to even attempt to use the Van Dam press he invented (lifting a dumbbell while doing a split between two benches). One of his quirks as a wrestler is being able to counter virtually anything that does not have him in a seated position with a kick, and sometimes not even sitting him down can stop Van Dam from kicking you.
  • Curbstomp Battle: Infamously gave one to AJ Styles in TNA before winning the heavyweight title.
  • Dented Iron: Claimed during divorce proceedings that he's now visually impaired due to a concussion, thus disqualifying him from ever wrestling in WWE again.
  • Dragons Up the Yin Yang: On his singlets he usually had a yin yang and an eastern dragon.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: His first appearance on a televised wrestling show was as a kid in 1987 doing one of Ted DiBiase's challenges.
    • Though with ECW for much of the 90s, he previously wrestled in WCW in 1993 and was in WWF for a brief time in 1997 (in the latter case, he was on loan from ECW and referenced the company on air. His friendships made in the WWF at this time gave him an immediate push at the time of the Invasion).
  • Every Year They Fizzle Out: Joey Styles called him the greatest competitor to never win a world championship. Rob Van Dam would eventually win one from John Cena.
  • Evil Foreigner: He briefly worked for AAA's resident evil La Legion Extranjera.
  • Face–Heel Turn: In ECW when he took on Bill Alfonso as a manager. Years later, he did it again for the first time in his Impact Wrestling career (& also the first time in over a decade) when he turned on his partner Rhino at Bound For Glory 2019
  • Fake Muscles: His singlet while TNA World Heavyweight Champion was adorned with them.
  • Finishing Move: The Five-Star Frog Splash was the main one, but he also had the Van Daminator (jumping spinning back kick to an opponent holding a chair) and the Van Terminator (a "coast-to-coast"note  drop kick into a downed opponent with a steel chair over their face).
    • When teaming with Rey Mysterio Jr., one of their finishers was the "4:20", which involved Van Dam lifting Mysterio up and dropping him while simultaneously dropping himself into a seated position.
    • The rolling thunder becomes a finishing move when combined with a legdrop from Sabu.
  • Garbage Wrestler: Campaigned on WWE Byte This and elsewhere for the reinstatement of the hardcore championship, believing those were the kinds of matches that would allow him to show his full potential.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Even after having WWE's Jerry Lawler "invade" ECW on Rob Van Dam's behalf and state RVD was too good for ECW, calling him "Mister Monday Night" because he deserved to be in the "big two", the mutants still cheered RVD because they had taken to his unique wrestling style, so eventually the bookers just stopped trying and went with it.
  • He's Back!: As of Payback and Money in the Bank 2013. His return to WWE has given him a whole new level of energy, as multiple great matches have proven.
  • Hidden Depths: His tag team with Rey Mysterio revealed that Rob Van Dam was quite fluent in Spanish, which seems to have been forgotten when he took up Ricardo Rodriguez as a manager.
  • Immune to Drugs: He retains a professional reputation despite using copious amounts of drugs.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Had a brief run in WCW. His ring name was changed because the booker didn't like the name Rob Van Dam.
  • It's All About Me: His ECW character. So narcissistic that his wrestling style is 50% showboating after he does anything successfully.
    • He has been known to hurt himself from excessive showboating too, though he usually wins the match anyway.
  • Large-Ham Announcer: In Saints Row: The Third as one of the commentators of Professor Genki's Super Ethical Reality Climax. He continues the role in Saints Row IV.
  • Leitmotif:
    • During his time in ECW, he used Pantera's "Walk" as his entrance theme.
    • In WWE, Breaking Point's "One of a Kind".
    • In TNA, his theme is a heavy metal Expository Theme Tune of sorts, which covers his nickname ("The Whole F'n Show!") and his signature moves ("Van Daminator! Van Terminator! Van Crushinator!")
  • Leotard of Power: Were quite generic and single coloured in his early career until he found out he could customise them and make them look awesome.
  • Life of the Party: His newest heel gimmick in Impact Wrestling, where he's a party animal who sleeps around and is often seen with a bottle of alcoholic beverage in his hand.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: RVD was responsible for Kane’s unmasking in June 2003, telling that he doesn’t need to hide anything behind it. As a result, Kane would go on a rampage, attacking every WWE Superstar throughout 2003.
  • One-Man Army: After Eric Bischoff lured all the TNA Champions into a trap before Genesis 2011, RVD ended up saving them by fighting off all of Immortal by himself.
  • Parts Unknown: In ECW he was billed from Battle Creek, India. No, not Indiana, India.note 
  • Perma-Stubble: To go with his ponytail.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: RVD's catchphrase involves emphasizing each word while pointing to himself with both thumbs: ROB! VAN! DAM!
  • Red Baron: The Whole [F'n/Damn] Show, The Human Highlight Reel, Mr. Pay-Per-View, Mr. [Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday] Night (whether he appears on Raw, ECW, TNA iMPACT!, or Smackdown).
  • The Mole: For the alliance during the WWF/E invasion.
  • The Rival/Vitriolic Best Buds: Sabu (in the ring and in Real Life).
  • Signature Move: Rolling Thunder, Handsprings to moonsault, split legged moonsault, diving martial arts kick, double roundhouse (in case the first kick misses or is caught), double enziguiri (for the same reason)
  • Slipknot Ponytail: A notable aversion. His hair almost never gets messed up during a match. Compare this (especially considering his style) to wrestlers such as Scott Hall or Shawn Michaels.
    • It did happen during his match with Chris Benoit at Summerslam. It's the only time the general public has seen his hair down.
  • Spot Monkey: Except spot monkey is a too small and insulting term for it. Rob Van Dam does sell the Five-Star Frog Splash after hitting it and does have good wrestling psychology. Where his story telling tends to fall short is in the rest of the angle beyond the match. His feuds with La Resistance, Unmasked Kane and Evolution highlighted how much more everyone else wrestled according to the on going events compared to RVD, who generally went at about the same intensity level and whatnot no matter what.
    • One exception was his intercontinental championship victory on Monday Night Raw over Christian. Taken on its own, Rob Van Dam doing the five star frog splash onto Christian draped over a ladder might seem like a pointless spot, but in context, Christian had assaulted and given a frog splash to RVD with Johnathan Coachman calling it "better than any frog splash Rob Van Dam ever did!", so he had something to prove and satisfyingly concluded the angle in doing it.
  • Start My Own: Started a store called Five Star Comics, which he once had to chase a robber out of.
  • The Stoner: His gimmick, which extends into real life. Although one could easily make the argument that it's his real life persona that became his gimmick. Supporting the latter is that, after retiring from full-time ring work, he started a CBD company. To the surprise of absolutely everyone.
  • Token Good Teammate: RVD was one of the few Alliance wrestlers to receive face pops during the Invasion storyline.
  • The Worf Effect: His "feud" with unmasked Kane was basically Kane beating Rob Van Dam. The only match Rob won was a steel cage match where he "escaped" by being thrown through the wall by Kane. He was also used to set up Alberto Del Rio for John Cena by having Del Rio injure Rob Van Dam.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): RVD


Sting's Disguise

Sting wears a mask of himself to ambush RVD. It works.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / PaperThinDisguise

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