Throughout 2022 AEW has seemingly been beset by backstage chaos. Just as one controversy ends another seemingly begins. However, Rob Van Dam believes that this doesn’t mean that the long-term future of the company is in jeopardy.
Throughout the summer and beyond there were numerous reports that all was not well in AEW. There were claims that a number of stars wanted to leave, while WWE reached out to others in an effort to get them to make the jump. This led to the company sending a warning to the sports entertainment giant regarding contract tampering.
Meanwhile, there were issues between CM Punk and Hangman Adam Page, while a confrontation between Sammy Guevara and Eddie Kingston ended with a suspension with the Mad King. Things seemingly came to a head following All Out when CM Punk launched a scathing attack on The Elite, Colt Cabana and Page during the post-show media scrum. This led to a brawl backstage and a number of suspensions being handed down.
Rumours Of AEW’s Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated
Speaking at a recent Inside The Ropes live event, WWE Hall of Famer Rob Van Dam said that comments from fans that the company could be in trouble long-term “crack him up.”
“You know, I think it’s interesting. I think that it’s funny that the word online sometimes is that AEW is going to implode and that they’re done and Tony [Khan] can’t handle the chaos. All that cracks me up because I think there’s probably no truth to that whatsoever. I don’t even think he cares. I don’t know. But I watched CM Punks interview that he gave when he was stuffing his mouth with Twinkies and shitting on everybody. He always strikes me as the same guy and that guy, just from feeling his energy, there’s a lot of egos in wrestling.”
Continuing on, Van Dam discussed how ego-driven the wrestling industry is, comparing it to other aspects of entertainment.
“I mean, you have to have a big ego to even think you can do this [wrestling] or to follow your dreams and think ‘f*ck yeah, I’m a winner and I’m gonna beat out my classmates. Really where do you draw the line between believing in yourself and then believing in your own sh*t.
With wrestling, I don’t know if you noticed, but every single promo is just arrogance. Every single promo is the wrestler telling you, [in a comedic voice] ‘I’m the baddest bitch there is’ and you don’t know. Every single wrestler, everyone, has their own spin on that. I’ve been separated from the full time long enough to where I don’t even connect with that competitive ego anymore and it makes so many decisions for you when you’re trapped in that in that way of thinking, you don’t even realise it.
But now looking at it from the outside. Can you imagine another form of entertainment, like musicians, if there was a singer up here saying, you know, this is the last ticket you need to buy, you don’t need to hear anybody else singing once you’ve heard my voice. But with wrestling it’s arrogance against arrogance the whole time and that’s always been an issue, the more I got in touch with my inner Zen, the more of a conflict that became and also if people are going to be inspired by me, in my actions and my beliefs, do I want them to think that I’m like that.”
During the conversation Rob Van Dam also discussed CM Punk more specifically. The ECW legend said that Punk genuinely believes that he is the best in the world, and carries this attitude backstage.
If you use any of the quotes from this article please link back to the original video with a h/t to Inside The Ropes.