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Fightin' Fanboys

Fightin' Fanboys: Rob Van Dam

The Whole Damn Show speaks on his WWE return, SummerSlam, what he stole from Deadpool, why he loves Ghost Rider and more!

Rob Van Dam (courtesy of WWE)

By James Viscardi

Rob Van Dam returned to WWE after a six-year absence at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view last month and in the eyes of the fans, he may as well never have left. The always popular and exciting “Whole Damn Show” picked up right where he left off, captivating the audience and doing what only he can in the ring.

As RVD gets set to take on United States Champion Dean Ambrose this Sunday as part of the SummerSlam Kickoff, we spoke with the Superstar about his comeback, what this show means to him, plus his Marvel fandom and love for Ghost Rider and Deadpool.

Marvel.com: What’s it like being back in WWE?

Rob Van Dam: It’s awesome. I predicted that this return to WWE might be the most impactful part of my entire career. It has a lot to do with timing, and a lot to do with being RVD because I have so many years of experience. But it’s all positive. All the time I’ve spent. There’s no downside. I don’t have that a.g.e. factor that seems to affect a lot of other people. Honestly, my body feels as good as it ever did. Sometimes my back bothers a little bit, but it bothered me even more when I was 23. Sometimes my knee bothers me a little bit. It bothered me even more when I was 30. I feel great. And obviously it shows when I’m in the ring. And the fan response has been off the hook. And, by the way, my position in the company, considering the other wrestlers that are there, versus the wrestlers that were there before, again, works in my favor because all the other guys that were ahead of me that were getting all the attention, all the TV time, well they’ve dropped off, they’re outta the scene; a good time to be the whole damn show.

Rob Van Dam (courtesy of WWE)

Marvel.com: Your return during Money in the Bank was amazing, and now you’re headed in to arguably the second biggest show of the year with SummerSlam. What is it about the energy of SummerSlam that you think really gets you and fans excited?

Rob Van Dam: Well a lot of it has to do with the amount of promotion put into it. I mean everybody knows that WrestleMania is compared to the Super Bowl of wrestling. They do a pay-per-view every month, and a lot of them don’t get so much attention. But they’re all getting bigger and bigger. They’re all growing every year as the fan base grows. SummerSlam is like the big party of the summer, and everybody looks forward to that now, just like they look forward to WrestleMania.

For me, I’m excited that it’s right here in Los Angeles, which is where I reside. I grew up in Battle Creek, Michigan, but I live out here in Los Angeles. So I’m on my own home turf here. It’s where a lot of scores are settled. It’s where a lot of storylines are kicked off. It’s where a lot of people are tuning in all over the world. So the pressure’s on for all the wrestlers to be at their best. So that’s where somebody sets up the great combination of the matches. I’m looking forward to getting in the ring. To be honest, it doesn’t even matter who I’m in the ring with. I still will steal the whole show.

Marvel.com: It’s no secret that you’re a huge comics fan and an even bigger Marvel Comics fan. Have you been keeping up with reading, or do you find yourself catching up in trade paperbacks? What’s RVD reading?

Rob Van Dam: Yeah. I pick up the trade paperbacks. And I’m a bit behind right now. I almost stopped at a comic book store about two weeks ago and I didn’t for whatever reason. I didn’t have the time to stop, but I realized it’s been several months now since I’ve been into a comic book store so that means there should be some pretty good graphic novels waiting for me. I always look for Deadpool. I also keep up with Ghost Rider. And I also do a lot of just scanning and look for something that pops out at me. Sometimes it’s the cover artwork that’ll draw me in. But I’m always open for something else to catch me. I’ll be a lifelong comic fan forever. I’ll be living forever.

Marvel.com: You’re also no stranger to conventions and live fan events. Do you see any similarity to something like Comic Con International and AXXESS?

Rob Van Dam (courtesy of WWE)

Rob Van Dam: Well, you know one of the other things that makes Summer Slam stand out as a pay-per-view, is that all the other shows, we come in, and we do the [show], and then we’re gone. But SummerSlam, like WrestleMania, we spend a whole week doing AXXESS. We’re doing autograph signings; we have displays, different things for the fans to interact with us, so that’s one of the things that makes it so big also. It’s phenomenal to see fans no matter what the venue. Whether it’s a comic show or a wrestling show, the fans are just as passionate.

Marvel.com: do you see cosplay at AXXESS? How many people dress up as Mr. Monday Night?

Rob Van Dam: It happens. Sometimes. It’s more often for someone to just have a ponytail, and say, “Dude people tell me I look like you all the time.” But sometimes people go through the effort of painting up an outfit and taping their hands up. It’s quite often a kid, sometimes it’ll be an adult. But yeah, I get a kick out of it.

Marvel.com: Switching gears a little bit. I want to talk a bit about your attire and how you incorporate your fandom of comics into it. Over the years you’ve sported some super hero inspired ring gear. Is there anything that inspires it outside of your love of the characters? Is it more just whatever you’re into at the time or do you have a plan?

Ghost Rider

Rob Van Dam: Well, I can’t imagine anybody is going to penetrate my brain like Ghost Rider and Deadpool. Ghost Rider has been my favorite character since like 1977. I was like six or seven years old when I first got exposed to him. And I always really liked the character, and he was a lesser known character. So in school when everyone else loved the X-Men, and everyone was all over Wolverine, I always knew that Ghost Rider would crush Wolverine. Later, as an adult, I’ve really enjoyed Deadpool. And that has a lot to do with the writing. But the character is also so cool, but it’s a really fun read. Those are my top two favorites. I had an Iron Man outfit that I wore for a while. I think that was more of my airbrush artist’s idea to coincide with the movie that was coming out. But, I’m a Marvel boy and always will be. That’s the universe that’s real to me.

Marvel.com: So do you have any plans for potential upcoming ones, or do you keep those a secret?

Rob Van Dam: The outfit that I wore at Money in the Bank, I took pictures of a Deadpool statue that I have and I sent it to my airbrush guy, and I asked him could he put that on an outfit? Don’t know if you caught that or not. But that was inspired by Deadpool. Of course I changed his belt that has his eyes; I changed that to a Yin Yang symbol. Cos that’s RVD; got to have balance. But the crazy thing was, he made it, sent it but the he didn’t have any time to heat set the paint and so during my match, the paint started to run! So I’m afraid that’s going to be like a one-time only outfit.  I was so disappointed because the outfit was so cool. I’m probably going to have to get that one redone, and then go from there. I don’t have any specific plans right now, but I always think it’s a cool idea.

Rob Van Dam (courtesy of WWE)

Marvel.com: Before I let you go, if we could green light any character for a new series, who would you want it to be?

Rob Van Dam: Easy, I’d like to see a Ghost Rider/Deadpool team up series. That would be like a dream come true for me.

Watch Rob Van Dam take on Dean Ambrose as part of the SummerSlam Kickoff this Sunday beginning at 7 PM ET and visit WWE.com for more info!

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