Rob Van Dam has opened about his controversial impression of fellow WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels, revealing that it’s not something especially proud of.
During a match with Kane at Unforgiven 2004, Shawn Michaels sustained a blow to the face which affected the muscle around one of his eyes. While the incident itself was unnoticeable and totally innocuous, it left Michaels with a “lazy eye” which has become increasingly noticeable in subsequent eyes. It has even been referenced on WWE television by his long-time friend Triple H.
Years later in an interview with Kayfabe Commentaries, Rob Van Dam performed an impression of Michaels which spread across the internet and gained something of a life of its own.
Speaking exclusively to Kenny McIntosh for issue 14 of Inside The Ropes magazine, Rob Van Dam addressed the clip, revealing that he didn’t get any heat over it. However, he said that karma “got him back” as he later suffered issues with his vision for the best part of two years.
“I never really get heat for anything. I get asked all the time and there’s rumours on the internet that RVD is getting heat. It never really happens— depending on your definition of heat anyway. But karma got me back. I did that as a joke making fun of him, but as my movie Headstrong clearly exhibits, I had one whack on the head that gave me double vision and it lasted for the better part of two years. I’m talking MRIs, CAT Scans, vision therapy, all of it. I had to go to neurologists, and I learned so much more than I thought that I ever would about the brain, about concussions and about long term damage, CTE.
It’s really relevant because most of my peers seem to die from suicide or prescription overdoses. Both are always linked back to concussion damage from their wrestling. So when I released the movie, that really became a mission of mine: Helping so many people with the conversation and making people aware. And the doctors didn’t know anything about it—the studies are so new.”
RVD went to on to explain that the joke isn’t something he’s particularly proud of, adding that he has since apologised to Michaels in person.
“So anyway, that became something that I had to deal with, karma got me back. So now when somebody wants me do the Shawn Michaels thing, I’m like, I’m glad they got a giggle out of it. I feel like, of course, I was being a dick when I did it, making fun of someone else. But also, it has to really suck. If one of my eyes were a little bit off, that’s enough to give you double vision, headaches and all that.
Now I test normal with all the eye tests and stuff, but there’s still certain patterns that will trigger issues and certain perspectives in my eye and stuff.
It’s not one of the fan favourite jokes that I am particularly proud of. I told him at the Cauliflower Alley a few years ago, he was getting an award, I kind of tried to give him my own version of an apology. I just said, “I hope you never saw anything on the internet about me being a d*ck and making fun of you and it upset you or anything?” He just said, “I don’t take anything on the internet seriously.”
Rob Van Dam signed with WWE in the summer of 2001 after a highly acclaimed run with ECW during the 1990’s. Van Dam went on to become one of the most popular Superstars in the company winning pretty much every title that there was to win.
Mr Monday Night was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2021.