Former WWE and ECW Champion, Rob Van Dam, has recounted the tale of his one day as a WWF jobber in 1992 and getting shouted at by the legendary Gorilla Monsoon.
In 1992, a fresh faced enhancement talent named Matt Burn stepped into the ring as a sacrificial lamb to The Mountie. However, not many could foresee that the blonde headed youngster would go on to become ‘The Whole Damn Show.’
Working for the USWA and ICWA under his RVD moniker, the talent was hired by the World Wrestling Federation as a jobber while the promotion toured Tampa, Florida, through the recommendation of the legendary Pat Tanaka – who served as a member of The Orient Express.
Changing his name in order preserve his reputation under the Rob Van Dam umbrella, all did not go to plan for the star during his one appearance as he told on his Instagram account:
So… in. 1992 Pat Tanaka hooked some of us boys from the Tampa Sportatorium up with jobs while the WWF was touring through. I thinks I got paid but didn’t work, then booked the following week in Biloxi. $150 bucks a shot was AWESOME compared to the $35 bucks I was making every Thursday at the Sportatorium. My problem was I didn’t want anyone to recognize me. I knew I was there to make the other guy look good, and although I hadn’t been wrestling long, I had a little magazine exposure as Rob Van Dam and I was planning on running with it. So, I wore a shirt( inside out) and my og blue trunks, let my hair down and called myself Matt Burn for an inside joke. After a quick match with the Mountie, some agents were complimenting my bumps when Gorilla Monsoon noticed my shirt. “We’re you wearing that in the ring? What’s the matter with you?!!” He was pissed and wanted to boot me in the ass! Lol They never did notice the irony of the name tho —
Though he annoyed the great Gorilla Monsoon with his tardy look, Van Dam would return to the company in 1997 thanks to a working relationship between ECW and WWF. Making such an impression in the ring, he was even considered for a tag team outing at SummerSlam which would have made him the first ECW contracted talent to appear on WWF pay-per-view. Frowned upon backstage antics and ego put paid to that.
RVD eventually became a mainstay in WWF/WWE in 2001 after ECW folded. The stand-out star of The Alliance’s invasion of the promotion, Van Dam went on to become Intercontinental, Hardcore, Tag Team, ECW and WWE Champion.