When ECW closed its doors in 2001, Rob Van Dam made his way to WWE as part of the Invasion.
The star stood out with his mix of high flying offense and martial arts kicks, and he found success as a multi-time Intercontinental Champion as well as becoming WWE Champion in 2006 when he defeated John Cena at One Night Stand.
However, the star’s frenetic offense wasn’t easily controlled, and on a 2001 episode of SmackDown, he busted open Kurt Angle‘s lip during a singles match. The Undertaker wasn’t happy with Van Dam’s recklessness, and went to then-Executive Vice President of Talent Relations Jim Ross to address the situation.
During a recent episode of Grilling JR, Ross opened up about the incident, saying that he spoke to Van Dam about controlling his moveset and being more aware in the ring.
“Yeah, of course. Out of respect to the Undertaker, I’m not gonna ignore him. So Undertaker would not have any issues with me going to RVD and say hey look, you’re getting a bad rep on stiffing people. And the latest one to complain was Taker. Taker don’t complain about nothing unless it’s fair and it is real. So you gotta be more aware of some of the things you do that are marginal. If you miss it this much, we’re cool. But if you’re off this much, it’s dangerous.”
“It Was Addressed” – Jim Ross On Speaking With Rob Van Dam In WWE
Continuing, Ross noted that while the incident did require a discussion, it was handled and Rob Van Dam did not have ongoing problems with accusations of being unsafe. According to Ross, the media played up the situation more than necessary, and he did everything in his power to keep the situation from getting out of hand.
“So, you know, I don’t know how it all worked out, but I don’t remember having ongoing issues with it. And then you read a statement somebody’s written about, I don’t know, it was not as bad as the media and the dirt sheets and all that other stuff would like for it to have been. It wasn’t that way. It was addressed. What the hell am I supposed to do? Put him in front of a chalkboard saying ‘I will not potato, I will not potato?'”
Rob Van Dam was released from his WWE contract in 2007. He returned in 2013, and his final match in the promotion took place against Seth Rollins in August of 2014. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2021.
If you use any quotes from this transcription, please credit Grilling JR and link back to this article with a h/t to Inside the Ropes.