Rob Van Dam has good reason why he ended up loving the WWE Hardcore Championship.
On the latest episode of “1 Of A Kind With RVD” podcast, Mr. Monday Night covered his classic match with Jeff Hardy at WWF Invasion back in 2001. That bout was the only one with an actual championship on the line as Van Dam and Hardy tore the house down in Cleveland. When asked what he thought of the Hardcore Championship, RVD immediately said he “loved it,” but not at first.
“I was insulted by it until I got it. And that was because I felt like they were making fun of us and ECW because we have this, in my opinion, superior artform, making wrestling cool.
“To people that aren’t even wrestling fans like something like ‘you’ve got to see this’ and and and obviously I was a big proponent of it and and always will be but then I would see the Hardcore Title match on Monday Night Raw or whatever and in my opinion from that competitive state of mind I thought they were making a joke out of it.
“It pretty much meant the hot dog stand is going to get tipped over. They’re going to fall in the pit of balls in the kids area. Like, that’s, the hardcore match was something to laugh at. Stick a plunger in your face. And for me, I had a lot of pride in it.”
Rob Van Dam Helped Legitimize The Hardcore Title In WWE
Before he was an Intercontinental Champion, a Money In The Bank winner or WWE Champion, Rob Van Dam first got hold of the Hardcore gold in his Invasion match with Jeff Hardy. Van Dam went on to say that he became somebody who made the belt something more than it just being defended in a ball pit.
“All of a sudden, the Hardcore Title matches sometimes are the best match on the card. That can be subjective, but to the people that enjoyed it, continuously the best match on the card. I even main-evented. And I know they didn’t want the Hardcore Championship to be a main event on their shows and so what do they do? They got rid of it. I was making the belt mean too much.”
Fittingly enough, RVD actually became the final Hardcore Champion as his Intercontinental Title win merged the two belts together.
Please credit “1 Of A Kind With RVD” and h/t Inside The Ropes for the transcription.