Exclusive: Rob Van Dam Lifts The Lid On “Stressful” WWE Politics

Rob Van Dam AEW F1

Despite reaching incredible highs while with WWE and later being inducted into the Hall of Fame, Rob Van Dam has never hidden his dislike of the backstage side of the company.

After starting out on the independents in 1990, and via a short stop in WCW, Van Dam found a home in ECW In 1996. Over the next five years, he established himself as not only one of the biggest stars in the company but one of the more unique performers in the world.

This meant that when ECW finally closed its doors in 2001, the star was immediately on the radar of WWE. This is despite a previous dalliance with the company in 1997 not ending on the greatest of terms.

However, despite originally appearing as part of the heel faction ‘The Alliance,’ Van Dam became one of the most popular stars in the company. Not that this meant things were always smooth sailing backstage.

During a live interview tour with Inside The Ropes in 2022, Van Dam opened up about his struggles with the politics which dominated conversation backstage. The former World Champion said there were so many people vying for “their guys” there was no shortage of broken promises.

“It didn’t take long. It was right away and it drove me nuts. I never did feel comfortable there like I did in ECW the whole time I was there. For one, they, I think this is probably something that nobody is excluded from. There’s always exceptions, but probably, they make a lot of promises, they don’t keep, that’s enough to drive anybody [crazy]. I think that happens to everybody. Because there’s so many agents, they meet three times a day trying to figure out what to do.

This guy is pulling for his guys, this guy’s pulling for his guys, you know. And so that was going on, you know, Paul [Heyman] was trying to say, ‘Yeah, you know, we need someone in the main event, we should put RVD in there’, then somebody in the office is saying ‘no, no, you know, let’s let’s put somebody else. I think this guy is the better guy,’ I’m hearing all this that’s going on in all the meetings.”

Rob Van Dam Recalls Political Tug Of War Between JR And Paul Heyman

Van Dan went on to explain how this led to something of a tug-of-war between Jim Ross and Paul Heyman over who could claim credit for his success. The star said that JR was regularly pushing that he had been the one that signed him to WWE, while Heyman was also vocal about his talents given they’d worked together before.

“But besides that, what would drive me nuts, I told you how I got there, right. I told you the path I went. Who do you give credit to? JR [Jim Ross] or Paul [Heyman]? It shouldn’t matter, but it does. And these guys would argue about it. And they would be like, playing tug of war with me.

My first few days there, it was just crazy like JR would be like, you know, ‘hey, I got you that that extra money you were talking about, you know, I bet your buddy from Philadelphia don’t do that for you, does he?’ And then Paul would say something you know just as ridiculous.

Is he telling you that he’s trying to get you in that match? Don’t do it, you know. It was just like, you guys for real right now? Dude, I’m here to do kicks and flips and be RVD. And it was so political and it really depends on that, like they want credit not just for that, for bringing me in. But like every idea that happens, anything on TV that anyone can validate their existence by they’re all for it and they put everything into it. It’s a competition in that way and it’s f*cking stressful.”

Although Van Dam left WWE in 2007, he was never too far from the company and has returned to a WWE ring on more than one occasion. The star made his most recent return to WWE as part of the 2023 Draft where he found time to get high with a fellow Hall of Famer as well as appear on-screen.

If you use any of the quotes from this article please give a h/t and link back to Inside The Ropes.