Weight: 237 lbs
Real Name: Robert Szatkowski
Hometown: Battle Creek, Michigan
Other Names: Rob Zakowski, Robbie V (WCW), "Mr. Monday Night" Rob Van Dam(ECW), "Mr. PPV" (ECW), "The Whole F'n Show" (ECW), RVD (ECW/WWE/TNA)
Wrestler Since: 1990
Finishing Maneuvers: Five Star Frog Splash, Rolling Thunder, Van Daminator, Van Terminator, Split-Legged Moonsault
Previous PWI 500 Rankings: #11(2011), #15(2010), #24(2007), #18(2006), #28(2004), #10(2003), #1(2002), #59(2001), #24(2000), #2(1999), #14(1998), #32(1997), #51(1996), #199(1995), #129(1994), #121(1993), #173(1992)
Official Homepage: http://www.robvandam.com
Other Related Websites:
History: (Last Edited: 6/09/2006)
Rob Van Dam - Cagematch Bio
Rob Van Dam - Online World of Wrestling Bio
Rob Van Dam - Wikipedia Bio
Weight: 237 lbs
Real Name: Robert Szatkowski
Hometown: Battle Creek, Michigan
Other Names: Rob Zakowski, Robbie V (WCW), "Mr. Monday Night" Rob Van Dam(ECW), "Mr. PPV" (ECW), "The Whole F'n Show" (ECW), RVD (ECW/WWE/TNA)
Wrestler Since: 1990
Finishing Maneuvers: Five Star Frog Splash, Rolling Thunder, Van Daminator, Van Terminator, Split-Legged Moonsault
Previous PWI 500 Rankings: #11(2011), #15(2010), #24(2007), #18(2006), #28(2004), #10(2003), #1(2002), #59(2001), #24(2000), #2(1999), #14(1998), #32(1997), #51(1996), #199(1995), #129(1994), #121(1993), #173(1992)
Official Homepage: http://www.robvandam.com
Other Related Websites:
History: (Last Edited: 6/09/2006)
Throughout his pro wrestling career, Rob Szatkowski has had no problem getting the fans behind him. Although a glaring void in his world title portfolio still haunts his fans to this day, Szatkowski still continues to shine as one of the most flexible, athletic wrestlers in the business today. Even after almost 15 years in the business, Szatkowski still brings in the chants of "RVD".
Szatkowski was born in Battle Creek, Michigan, and was raised with a background in martial arts. He gained skills in many of the arts, including Karate, Tae Kwon Do, and Kick Boxing. He excelled in these areas, but was interested in more than just competing at meets. In the late '80s, Szatkowski began training with one of the legends of the squared circle, the original Sheik. Szatkowski soon learned a great deal about the profession, while also keeping up his martial arts skills. In 1990, Szatkowsky came in second at the Kalamazoo Tough Man contest, a notable accomplishment. But Szatkowsky soon decided that the path of professional wrestling was the path he wanted to follow, and he made his debut only a short time later.
Szatkowski, wrestling as Rob Zakowski (similar pronounciation, but easier to spell), began building a small following as he trained in the independent scene. He built up his reputation, and in only a short time, he became a regular with the United States Wrestling Association, Zakowski's first major organization. Zakowski faced some tough competition there, including taking on a young Sabu. But Zakowski only remained in the USWA for a few months, before moving on to South Atlantic Pro Wrestling in '91. It was here that Zakowski tasted his first gold, teaming with Chaz Rocco to win the SAPW Tag-Team Titles from the Ring Lords in July '92. The reign didn't last too long, however, and Zakowski moved on, working his way through various federations.
After a few years on the road, Szatkowski first heard the words "Rob Van Dam" in 1992, when the name was coined by Ron Slinker. Van Dam continued to work hard, earning the International Wrestling Federation Television Title at one point during the year. With his abilities, Van Dam was finally noticed by one of the larger organizations, as World Championship Wrestling gave him a call.
Szatkowski joined up with WCW in late '92, where they opted to shorten his moniker to Robby V. Unfortunately, Robby V's career in WCW did not take off in the short time he was there, although he did have many impressive matches with future stars in the company. The booking didn't seem to want to go Robby V's way, as it appeared that the people in charge thought Szatkowski needed more experience before he could go anywhere. A frustrated Szatkowski left WCW behind in '93, seeking the independent scene again, where he believed he could shine. He couldn't have predicted how right he was.
From '93 through '95, Van Dam wrestled around the globe, for numerous federations. He headed overseas and spent a few months here and there in All Japan Pro Wrestling, feuding with wrestlers like the Patriot, while also competing back at home. In March '94, Van Dam won another title, beating Luscious Lonnie for the All Star Wrestling Championship. Van Dam continued to gain prestigue in other federations as well, including a run as PSW Cordele City Champion in March '95, having defeated Raven for the gold. He also proved his mettle in the tag-team ranks, joining with Bobby Bradley as Arial Assault in the National Wrestling Conference. The duo worked well enough together to score the NWC Tag-Team Titles in a tournament in '95. The team didn't stay united for long, though, as Van Dam again looked for a new place to gain expertise.
Van Dam made his debut at the beginning of the year, in an event called House Party '96. He won the crowd over by upsetting Axl Rotten with a Split-Legged Moonsault, an incredible maneuver. Van Dam worked on building his image with the ECW fans over the next few months (while also having a brief tour in All Japan Pro Wrestling, finishing off his commitments there). He had a great match in March '96 with the Television Champion, Too Cold Scorpio, with the two high-flyers fighting to a Draw. But it was a month later when RVD really started to take off. At Hostile City Showdown '96, Van Dam took on Sabu, another trainee of the Sheik. Sabu got the victory after a hard-fought match with RVD, landing his Triple Jump Moonsault, then looked for a handshake from his worthy adversary. Van Dam simply walked away. A few weeks later, at A Matter of Respect, the two had a "Respect" Match, with Van Dam winning via the Split-Legged Moonsault. With the stipulation in place, Sabu was brought back into the ring to shake Van Dam's hand, but RVD would have none of it, telling off his rival instead by calling Sabu a piece of s*#%. Van Dam then left with Bill Alphonso, fulling turning heel with the fans.
RVD and Sabu continued their escalating feud over the next few months, while Van Dam also fended off a challenge from Mikey Whipwreck, beating him at Fight The Power in June. Van Dam tried hard to prove himself the better man over Sabu, but fell to Sabu at Hardcore Heaven '96. The two faced off again at The Doctor Is In in August, this time fighting in a "Stretcher" Match. The man to lose would be the one who was knocked out long enough to be wheeled to the back on a stretcher. It was a furious fight, with Van Dam trying everything in his arsenal to keep Sabu down, even blocking the Triple Jump Moonsault with a chair shot. But at the end, Van Dam's desperation came back to haunt him, as he missed a Plancha to the outside, knocking himself cold on the railing and falling back onto the stretcher. He was quickly rolled out, losing the match.
Things began to change with RVD in the next month, as he began to truly earn the admiration of the fans. At Natural Born Killaz, Van Dam faced Doug Furnas in a very competitive match, with RVD getting the Van Daminator on Furnas (who was holding the chair) for the win. Afterwards, Van Dam decided to offer Furnas a handshake, but got ko'ed instead. Later on, Van Dam feuded with Furnas and his partner, Dan Kroffat, causing Van Dam to need a tag-team partner. He surprisingly approached his long-time ECW rival, Sabu, allying with the man he respected the most in ECW. The two worked together against Furnas & Kroffat, defeating them at High Incident. After winning that feud, Van Dam & Sabu took on one of the most powerful tag-teams in ECW, the Eliminators. Perry Saturn & John Kronus, for the majority of the time, were just too much for RVD & Sabu, who couldn't manage to wrest away the ECW Tag-Team Titles. Van Dam also was on the rough end of a feud with Taz, who beat him several times going into '97, including at Holiday Hell '96.
1997 proved to be a rough year, at least at the start, for Van Dam. He and Sabu again lost their chance to get the ECW Tag-Team Titles, losing to the Eliminators at Crossing The Line Again in February '97. The two teams met again in a "Tables & Ladders" Match at Cyberslam '97, with Van Dam & Sabu unable, once again, to put away the champions. In the end, after miscommunication between the two, Van Dam got caught by the Total Elimination, then another, before getting pinned. Van Dam also continued to have his troubles with Taz, even submitting to his Tazmission at Hostile City Showdown '97 in March. It was during this time that speculation arose that Van Dam, due to his losing streak, would be jumping back to WCW. Van Dam helped along these rumors, talking about he would soon be competing on Monday nights, earning him the moniker of "Mr. Monday Night". However, the rumors apparently were all pointing in the wrong direction.
In May '97, Van Dam surprisingly showed up to make his debut on the World Wrestling Federation's Raw Is War show. He had a great match with Jeff Hardy, defeating the young man with the Split-Legged Moonsault. Unfortunately, however, Van Dam's great start didn't seem to take him anywhere, as he was quickly buried by the WWF. Van Dam did have a somewhat memorable time teaming with Jerry "The King" Lawler, but as a team, they weren't successful, losing to the Headbangers in the WWF World Tag-Team Title Tournament in June. Only a short time later, Van Dam left the WWF, upset at both the way he was being used and the inability to have a long match on television.
Return To ECW: 1997
Van Dam wasn't exactly welcomed back with open arms to the federation that he had tried to leave behind. RVD served a one-month 'suspension' from the company, whereby he went and competed some overseas in AJPW. Still, Van Dam's talent allowed him to return to the company where he had been building a name, and he was soon once again teaming up with Sabu, along with gaining a manager in Bill Alfonso. But Van Dam did have to contend with the heart of the ECW locker room, Tommy Dreamer, who wanted to take RVD out because of his betrayal. Van Dam and Dreamer clashed on several occassions over the next few months, including a 6-man tag-team match at Heat Wave '97 involving Van Dam's WWF partner, Jerry Lawler, which ended in a wild no-contest.
Van Dam and Dreamer met up at Born To Be Wired in August '97 in a brutal match-up involving almost every weapon you could conceive of in a wrestling bout. In the end, RVD squashed Dreamer on top of a trash can with a legdrop and got the pin. This wasn't the end, however, as the two continued to meet up for the rest of the year, including a match where Van Dam & Bill Alfonso faced off against Dreamer & his girl, Beulah, at As Good As It Gets in September. While Alfonso was a good manager, he didn't prove to be the best of partners, as Van Dam's team lost the match. Van Dam then stuck with Sabu as his partner, while Dreamer teamed up with Taz. At November To Remember '97, Van Dam and Dreamer again went at it, with Van Dam picking up a win after a Frog Splash. This became one of RVD's many finishers, and the one that he would later carry to WWE.
Going into the new year, Van Dam continued to regularly team up with Sabu, but also began seeking out singles gold. After various encounters with the Triple Threat (Shane Douglas, Bam-Bam Bigelow, and Chris Candido), Van Dam earned himself a strap, taking down Bigelow with the Van Daminator for the ECW Television Title in April '98. After the tremendous match, RVD became known as the Whole F'n Show, a huge accomplishment. The gold also led to a little dissention, however, as Sabu wanted a crack at the TV Title himself. Bill Alfonso didn't help matters, as he didn't want to pick a favorite. The two faced off at Wrestlepalooza '98, fighting to a Draw. The two got themselves some partners for their next encounter, at A Matter Of Respect '98. The ECW tag-team champions, Lance Storm & Chris Candido, decided to break up for a dream match, with Storm partnering with Van Dam while Candido joined with Sabu. After a wild match, however, Van Dam & Sabu surprisingly reconciled, instead taking out Storm & Candido to end the match in a No-Contest.
Van Dam & Sabu feuded with Storm & Candido for the next month, and came out on top around the end of June, finally winning the ECW Tag-Team Titles. This made RVD a two-belt champ. He defended them like a champion as well, sometimes competing twice a night on ECW shows. After a few months with the tag gold, Van Dam & Sabu were beaten by the Dudley Boyz in October '98, in part due from interference from the Triple Threat. This led to Van Dam, Sabu, & Taz taking on the Triple Threat at November To Remember '98. In another good match, Van Dam's team came up the winners, getting some revenge. After the big victory, Van Dam & Sabu couldn't wait for another crack at the gold, and in December '98, while competing in Japan, the duo won back the ECW Tag Titles from the Dudleyz. This allowed Van Dam to finish out the year with plenty of gold around his waist.
Van Dam & Sabu stayed the champs for the first few months of '99, while Van Dam seemed to concentrate more on defending the Television Title, a belt he had held for a very long period of time. In April '99, Van Dam & Sabu were supposed to defend the tag-team titles against the Dudley Boyz, only to have Sabu suspended from ECW, taking him out of the equation. Although RVD fought hard, he couldn't win the "Handicap" Match, losing the belts to the Dudleyz. Still, Van Dam continued to see remarkable success in the Television Title division, beating many worthy competitors, such as Balls Mahoney, Too Cold Scorpio, and Lance Storm. With so many victories under his belt, Van Dam became known as "Mr PPV", and became the record-holder for the TV Title, holding it for over a year.
Van Dam's Television Title helped lead to one of his greatest feuds, as he went regularly against another incredible wrestler, Jerry Lynn. Lynn wanted to usurp Van Dam's position as the best wrestler in ECW. The two had some incredible matches, including a spectacular bout at Hardcore Heaven '99, where there was no time limit. Van Dam won the match, continuing to dominate as the Television Champ. The feud took some strange turns over the next few months, with Van Dam & Lynn teaming up to defeat Lance Storm & Justin Credible at Heat Wave '99 in August, only to face off again a few weeks later for the belt. As good as Lynn was, though, he couldn't match up with Van Dam, who kept the title. Van Dam would finish out '99 with some amazing wins over the top stars in ECW, including Sabu and Taz.
2000 started off looking like it was going to be the year RVD climbed to the top of ECW. He got another big victory over Sabu at Guilty As Charged '00, and seemed poised to finally move on up. But at the end of January '00, Van Dam broke his leg during a match with Rhino (he still retained the TV Title), and was put on the shelf for months. Sadly, Van Dam's TV Title reign ended abruptly, as he was stripped due to being unable to compete. In May '00, Van Dam returned to the ring, taking on his long-time sparring partner, Jerry Lynn. During the match, Van Dam went to the top to go for the Frog Splash, with his friend, Scotty Anton, rooting him on. However, Anton then attacked Van Dam, knocking him off the top rope and out to the floor. With Anton's help, Lynn got the victory. A furious RVD would feud with Anton for the next couple of months, until Van Dam got his revenge at Heat Wave '00, taking out Anton with an incredible move, the Van Terminator.
Van Dam next went for vengeance on Rhino, the man who had broken his leg and later claimed the TV Title. But although Van Dam came close many times to regaining the gold, he was usually foiled by Rhino's allies attacking and causing the disqualification. At Anarchy Rulz '00, Van Dam was screwed over again, this time by a heel referee who quickly counted a Rhino pinfall, allowing him to stay the TV champ. Van Dam then faded somewhat from the ECW picture, as he publicly talked about the money that he had not been paid. For the rest of '00, Van Dam wasn't seen in ECW rings.
It was basically announced that ECW was about to shut its doors in '01, as financial problems were growing rapidly. At the final ECW pay-per-view, Guilty As Charged '01, it was announced that there would be a surprise appearance. During the night, the Sandman won the ECW World Title, only to be forced into a defense against Rhino, who defeated the already-weakened competitor to get the gold. A returning Van Dam then appeared, running Rhino off. Van Dam wanted a title shot right then and there, but instead was met by Jerry Lynn, who wanted one last crack at RVD. The two had another incredible match, with the crowd fully behind Van Dam. In the end, Van Dam got the victory, giving ECW the send-off that it deserved. After the closing of ECW, however, Van Dam surprisingly didn't rush to the WWF, instead taking some time off to be with his family, as well as wrestling a few independent dates.
WWF: The Alliance
In the summer of '01, the World Wrestling Federation was in the midst of an Invasion. During the year, Vince McMahon finally had bought out WCW, his main competition, only to have his son, Shane, steal it away from him. Various WCW wrestlers then began to 'invade' WWF, leading to several battles between the two factions. On the July 9th Raw, Chris Jericho & Kane(WWF) took on Lance Storm & Mike Awesome(WCW). During the match, Jericho got the Walls of Jericho on Storm. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Van Dam & Tommy Dreamer came out of the crowd and attacked the WWF wrestlers, beating them down along with Storm & Awesome. Other WWF wrestlers ran out, apparently to help their allies, but instead joined in the beat-down, as all were ex-ECW wrestlers. Paul Heyman, the former owner of ECW, then entered the ring (he was a broadcast announcer for the show) and announced that the Invasion had just been taken to the Extreme!
Later that night, the WWF and WCW factions apparently joined forces to face off against the ECW contingent in a 20-man match. However, the match never began, as ECW & WCW instead united to beat down the WWF stars, forming the Alliance (along with Shane & Stephanie McMahon & Paul Heyman). Van Dam's first target, not surprisingly, was the WWF Hardcore Champion, Jeff Hardy. The two were placed in a match for the belt at WWF Invasion. Before the match, while Jeff's brother, Matt, was giving him a pep talk, Van Dam ran in and took Matt out with a chair shot, making sure that he couldn't interfere in the match. He then told Jeff that he was next. The match was a great hardcore exhibition, featuring a lot of high-flying action, as well as ladders. In the end, though, RVD was better, landing the Five-Star Frog Splash on Hardy with the Hardcore Title on Hardy's chest. A hurting Van Dam made the cover for the 3 count, winning the Hardcore Title in his first WWF pay-per-view.
Van Dam continued to feud with the Hardy Boyz for the next few weeks, while also dealing with Alliance business. On the August 13th Raw, RVD asked for the chance to defend the Hardcore Title against Kurt Angle, the major foe of the Alliance. Steve Austin granted the request, and the match was made. The bout was a wild one, with plenty of interference from Tommy Dreamer, Mike Awesome, and Raven. Jeff Hardy ran out to help Angle, though, and the two fought off the Alliance wrestlers. While Angle got Dreamer in the Ankle Lock, Hardy caught RVD with his Swanton Bomb and made a cover, taking back the Hardcore Title (the belt was defended 24/7, so anyone could make a pin at any time).
To settle matters between them, Van Dam and Jeff Hardy signed to face off again at Summerslam '01, this time in a "Ladder" Match. With the Hardcore Title suspended above the ring, the two athletic competitors went at it, going for it all on every move. The ladders came into play constantly, with several innovative maneuvers being used to great effect. Both men attempted several times to make the climb towards the gold, only to have their opponent stop them and send them flying. Both also tried their finishers, but couldn't connect. In the end, Jeff was taken out by RVD when he tried to attempt the climb, only to be sent by Van Dam to the outside. Van Dam then set up the ladder and painfully made the climb, grabbing the belt and winning the Hardcore Title for the second time.
With his repeated victories over the WWF, Van Dam soon became noticed as one of the top players in the Alliance. At the time, Stephanie McMahon, the owner of ECW, was having a serious feud with WWF star Chris Jericho, who continually insulted her. McMahon, having tried other wrestlers who couldn't shut Jericho up, turned to RVD to get it done. This confidence led to more problems for RVD, though, as Steve Austin, the commander of the Alliance, seemed to be jealous of him. Austin was feuding heavily with Kurt Angle at the time, and was furious on the 1st Smackdown of September after Angle had embarrassed him. Austin told the rest of the Alliance that he would fight the first person that came through the door. This happened to be RVD, who was placed in a Non-Title match against the World Champ. The match was back and forth, but Austin had control near the end, getting the Stunner on Van Dam followed by the Angle Lock. But when Kurt Angle came out, Austin became distracted, and Van Dam got the roll-up, getting the upset.
On the next Raw, an annoyed Austin confronted RVD about taking advantage of his being distracted. Van Dam simply replied that he was proud of beating Austin. Van Dam then agreed to be placed in a match against Angle, with the Hardcore Title on the line. After a very competitive match, Angle managed to reverse a head scissors into the Ankle Lock, forcing Van Dam to submit, costing him the title. After the match, Austin came out and attacked Angle, throwing him off the ramp. He then started to help RVD up, but then shoved him off the ramp as well. In a weird coincidence, Van Dam landed on Angle, and the referee counted to 3, giving Van Dam back the Hardcore Title! Although it was obvious that Austin hadn't meant for that to happen, he still told RVD that he threw him down just to help him get the gold back. Meanwhile, Van Dam continued to be more of a leader for the Alliance, with several wrestlers coming to ask his advice. This only made Austin angrier.
Meanwhile, Van Dam continued to meet up against Chris Jericho, with the two signing to face off for the Hardcore Title at Unforgiven '01. Before the match, Van Dam talked with Stephanie McMahon, who offered her services to help beat Jericho. RVD declined, but did ask for a larger dressing room, which McMahon quickly agreed to. Later on, Stephanie went to where she thought RVD's dressing room was, and talked to him through the door, saying that if RVD beat Jericho, he would have a very pleasurable experience in the Alliance. It turned out to be Jericho's dressing room, however, who got in a few insults at the expense of the owner of ECW. The two men had a tremendous match, with the fans evenly divided between RVD and Y2J. Chairs, ladders, and other weapons were readily used. The deciding object in the match, though, was Stephanie, who ran out and tried to grab a chair from Jericho, distracting him. When Jericho swung the chair at Stephanie, she dodged, and Van Dam capitalized with the Van Daminator. He then got the Five Star Frog Splash for the victory, staying the Hardcore Champion.
On the next Raw, Steve Austin failed to show up, due to his defeat the night before to Kurt Angle. Stephanie touted RVD as the one man to show true leadership for the Alliance, and rewarded him by giving him a WCW World Title shot against the Rock in the main event. During the night, RVD dispensed advice to wrestlers like Kanyon and Raven, helping them with their problems. In the WCW World Title Match, RVD went toe-to-toe with the Rock. Once again, despite his being in the Alliance, Van Dam earned some cheers from the crowd. The two men seemed evenly matched, with Stephanie again proving the wild card. Unfortunately for RVD, though, this worked against him, as Stephanie was arguing with the referee while Van Dam went for the Five Star Frog Splash. Stephanie pushed the referee into the ropes, causing RVD to fall. The Rock then got the Rock Bottom and won the match, keeping RVD from getting that World Title reign he's always wanted.
Stephanie continued to take a personal interest in Van Dam's matches afterwards, putting him in a Hardcore Title defense against Chris Jericho. Despite Stephanie again having problems with the ref (as well as being knocked out in the melee), Van Dam managed to win out, keeping the Hardcore Title. Going into October '01, RVD proved to be the favorite Alliance member while Austin was gone. When a deal was made for an Alliance member to face Kurt Angle in a match where, if the Alliance won, Austin would get a rematch for the World Title, Van Dam was easily voted by his peers to be the one to compete. With Shane's help (as well as the WCW referee, Nick Patrick), Van Dam won the match, giving Austin his title shot (which he later capitalized on, winning back the World Title).
To reward RVD for his win, Stephanie pushed Austin to arrange for Van Dam to get a WCW World Title shot against the Rock. But Austin decided to make it a little more difficult, placing RVD in a #1 Contenders Match against Chris Jericho. During the match, Austin came out to ringside and surprisingly hit RVD with a chair, knocking him out and allowing Jericho to get the pin. An angry RVD came to and wanted to know what was going on, as Austin called out the rest of the Alliance to the ring. Austin didn't explain his attack, although it was obvious that it was out of jealousy. He instead talked about how he was the leader of the Alliance, and that RVD needed to keep reaching for the stars, so that he could be a big star in a few years. The Alliance meeting was then interrupted by the new WWF Commissioner, Mick Foley, who arranged a match for the World Title at No Mercy between Austin, Kurt Angle, and, if he accepted it, RVD! Van Dam said that he would follow Austin's advice and reach for the stars. He accepted the match, much to Austin's displeasure.
On the next show, Austin was set to team with someone from the Alliance against Kurt Angle and the Undertaker. An Alliance vote was taken, with Austin saying that everyone chose Booker T as his partner (while obviously most had voted for Van Dam). Austin then set up Van Dam in a WCW World Title match against the Rock, since if RVD won, he would have to defend the belt at the pay-per-view. Due to interference from Chris Jericho, though, Van Dam only won through a disqualification, keeping him from getting the belt. Meanwhile, during the tag-team match, with the Undertaker and Booker T fighting through the crowd, both Austin and Angle (and the ref) were down in the ring. Van Dam then ran down, climbed the turnbuckle, and hesitated, before nailing Angle with his Five Star Frog Splash, helping Austin get the victory.
On the next Smackdown, a cheerful Austin threw a celebration party for RVD, who had "proved" he was on Austin's side. He even gave Van Dam his watch as a gift. However, later on footage was shown of RVD talking with Vince McMahon, the owner of the WWF, in his limo, which infuriated Austin. The champ demanded his watch back, then kicked Van Dam out of the Alliance locker room. Later in the night, during the Van Dam/Angle match, Austin came out and attacked both wrestlers, before getting hit by Angle's Olympic Slam. Van Dam then landed his Five Star Frog Splash on Austin, taking him out. After the match, Vince McMahon walked out on the stage and did the "R-V-D" thumbs gesture, apparently signaling that RVD was joining the WWF.
At No Mercy '01, tensions were high between the three competitors. WCW Commissioner Regal approached Van Dam and told him to apologize to Austin, but RVD refused, saying that he was on no one's side but his own. The match was made a No Disqualification Match for the World Title. Austin and Van Dam started out double-teaming Angle, but Austin then flipped off Van Dam, breaking down any budding alliance between the two. There were some spectacular spots in the match, from Van Dam's Rolling Thunder to Angle's top-rope moonsault. In a series of moves, Austin hit the Stone Cold Stunner on Angle, Van Dam hit a split-legged moonsault on Austin, and Angle got the Olympic Slam on RVD. Each had the pin attempt broken up by the third man. As the match progressed, Vince McMahon came to ringside. After Austin hit Angle with another Stunner, Vince entered the ring and bloodied Austin with a chair-shot. RVD then hit the Five-Star Frog Splash for a near victory, with Angle breaking up the attempt. As Angle and RVD fought, Shane McMahon came down to the ring, tossing Angle out and brawling with his father. Austin then recovered enough to hit the Stunner on Van Dam and get the pin, keeping the title from RVD.
Van Dam still continued to be a part of the Alliance going into the next few weeks. He was even picked to be part of the Survivor Series match-up that would decide, once and for all, whether the Alliance or the WWF continued to 'survive'. Van Dam and Austin obviously still had issues, which only seemed to increase when Vince McMahon alluded to the possibility that Austin would be turning on them in the match, although Austin denied it. The Alliance seemed to be gaining strength going into the event, though, as Kurt Angle turned on the WWF and joined up with the Alliance team, betraying Vince and his organization.
At Survivor Series '01, the "Winner Take All" 10-man Elimination match took place. The Alliance was represented by Van Dam, Austin, Angle, Booker T, & Shane McMahon. The WWF team consisted of the Rock, the Undertaker, Kane, Chris Jericho, & the Big Show. After RVD hit the Big Show with his Five Star Frog Splash, Shane McMahon got a top-rope elbow for the first elimination. The WWF evened things up, with Jericho landing the Lionsault on Shane and pinning him. The match went on for a while, with it breaking down into a brawl. RVD then hit a missile dropkick on Kane and eliminated him. Austin later put the Stone Cold Stunner on the Undertaker and had Angle pin him, giving the Alliance a 4-2 advantage. The Rock would bring his team back, rolling up Booker T for the 3 count. Jericho then took out RVD with a front-face slam, eliminating him from the match. In the end, it was the Rock vs. Austin, with Kurt Angle turning on the Alliance to help the WWF win the match, ending the run of the Alliance.
Twenty-four hours later on Raw, Van Dam appeared with the Dudley Boyz, Test, Stacey Keibler, and Christian, the last remaining members of the Alliance. Most were saved because of their gold (Van Dam still held the Hardcore Title), while Test had won the Immunity Battle Royal and couldn't be fired. Vince McMahon talked to the group, singling out Van Dam. He placed RVD in a "Handicap Tables" Match against the Dudleyz, forcing the allies to fight against each other. RVD tried hard, but couldn't overcome the odds, and was 3-D'ed through a table to take the loss. While the rest of the former Alliance members basically became McMahon's stooges, Van Dam separated from the pack, once again moving into fan-favorite territory. But Vince McMahon continued to carry a grudge, and set Van Dam up, by having a recently-turned heel Undertaker go after him. At the last November '01 Smackdown, Van Dam defeated Bubba Ray Dudley in a Hardcore Title match. Afterwards, however, the Undertaker came down and destroyed RVD, getting the Last Ride onto a trash can. The Undertaker then talked about how Van Dam needed to respect him.
At Vengeance '01, Van Dam was booked by McMahon to face the Undertaker in a Hardcore Title Match. RVD was aggressive in the beginning, immediately attacking the Undertaker with kicks and chops. The two exchanged shots in the ring, then left the ring behind, fighting on the floor. They even headed through the fans at one point, showing that it was a true hardcore bout. Van Dam used a fire extinguisher to take control at one point, then came from the balcony off onto the Undertaker for a close 2 count. The Undertaker came back, though, as they fought onto the stage. The Undertaker went for the Last Ride, only to have RVD climb away from him on the Titan Tron. Van Dam then got a few more good shots against his foe, but couldn't put him away. After missing the Van Daminator, RVD got caught by the Undertaker, who chokeslammed him off the stage and through some tables. Van Dam was then easily pinned, costing him the Hardcore Title.
Van Dam finished out the year starting up a feud with the Undisputed World Champion, Chris Jericho. The feud really began when, during a tag match between Van Dam & the Rock and Jericho & the Undertaker, RVD blocked Jericho's use of a chair and used it himself, getting the pin. Due to this, co-owner Ric Flair made RVD the #1 Contender. The political struggle between Flair and Vince McMahon came into play in the match, as McMahon came out to be a guest commentator, while Flair made himself the special referee. RVD put on a good show in the bout, and appeared to be on the way to his first World Title reign, as he hit the Five Star Frog Splash on Jericho. But as Flair made the count, McMahon dragged him out of the ring, causing the DQ. After the match, Van Dam & Flair took out Jericho & McMahon, locking on simultaneous Figure Fours. For the rest of '01, Van Dam looked for another shot at Jericho, challenging him repeatedly, but being told that he "missed his chance".
Going into the new year, RVD focused on the next PPV, the '02 Royal Rumble, quickly becoming one of the top contenders in the event. He also had a minor feud with Test, facing him on several occasions before the PPV. At the Rumble, Van Dam got a tremendous draw, entering the battle royal at #29. He quickly had a major impact, climbing the turnbuckle and entering the ring via a Five-Star Frog Splash on Kurt Angle. Van Dam then attacked several other wrestlers, including getting the Rolling Thunder on "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. But Van Dam's momentum was utterly destroyed by Hunter Hearst Helmsley, who caught RVD and nailed him with the Pedigree. Van Dam laid unconscious for a while on the mat, until Booker T came down (as #30), picked him up, and eliminated him, much to the displeasure of the crowd.
For a few weeks after the Rumble, Van Dam teamed up with Edge in a short feud against the Intercontinental Champ, William Regal, and the Dudley Boyz. It was during this time that Goldust started cutting promos about how he had seen something that he liked, and would soon be making an impact on their life. On the first Raw of February '02, Van Dam won a singles match over Bubba Ray Dudley via the Five Star Frog Splash. During the celebration after the match, however, RVD was interrupted by a Goldust promo, where Goldust talked about how Van Dam was a rising star, but that his dreams would be shattered. Goldust then came out of nowhere and assaulted Van Dam, getting the Shattered Dreams crotch kick in the corner. Van Dam would get some revenge on the next Raw, attacking his foe during Goldust's match with Rikishi.
At No Way Out '02, Van Dam and Goldust met up, with Goldust taking immediate advantage of RVD's showboating to clothesline him out of the ring. Van Dam came back quickly, though, and soon had Goldust on the ropes. Goldust then seemed to be ready to leave, heading down the aisle, but RVD followed, attacking and sending Goldust over the safety rail. The two men then headed back to the ring and exchanged momentum a few times, with Van Dam missing the Five Star Frog Splash at one point. At the end, Goldust looked to have everything in hand, as he went for the Bulldog. But Van Dam escaped, then took Goldust to the mat with a great kick. RVD then ascended the turnbuckle, this time scoring with the Five Star Frog Splash to get the big victory.
Van Dam next renewed his feud with William Regal. On the last Raw of February '02, Van Dam fought in a #1 Contendership match for Regal's Intercontinental Title against Lance Storm and the Big Show. Van Dam & Storm worked together at times, trying to take down the Big Show, who came right back. In the end, when the Big Show went for a chair, RVD was able to reverse into the Van Daminator, followed by the Five Star Frog Splash, getting the pin on the Big Show to make him the #1 Contender. Regal wasn't happy about this, but had no choice in the matter, as the match was set up for Wrestlemania. In the weeks going up to the event, Van Dam and Regal faced off many times, usually with Regal having the Dudley Boyz nearby.
Van Dam and Regal led off Wrestlemania X-8 with the Intercontinental Title match. It was definitely a major contrast in styles, with RVD's high-energy offense vs. Regal's well-versed technical skills. Of course, Regal also had his brass knuckles available as well, but RVD countered that early, knocking them from Regal's hand with a kick. RVD was strong in the beginning, but went for the Five Star Frog Splash too early, allowing Regal to get back into the match. The wrestlers exchanged various maneuvers, with RVD being thrown to the outside at one point. But Regal's reliance on his brass knuckles proved to be his undoing, as he was caught by the referee. While Regal was distracted, Van Dam recovered, coming in and kicking Regal in the face. RVD then scaled the turnbuckle and got the Five Star Frog Splash, winning the Intercontinental Championship for the first time.
WWF Raw: 2002
Van Dam defended the Intercontinental Title several times over the next couple of weeks, always coming out with the gold still around his waist. It was around this time that co-owners Vince McMahon and Ric Flair were having a major power struggle, which ultimately ended with the two men splitting the brand apart. McMahon would control Smackdown, while Flair would control Raw. They held a draft for the WWF talent on the March 25th episode of Raw. Van Dam was chosen by Flair as the fourth pick of Raw, only behind the Undertaker, the nWo, and Kane. This angered McMahon, who wanted the IC Title on his show. Kurt Angle (already chosen by McMahon) volunteered to win the belt from Van Dam that night, and the match was arranged. During the match, Van Dam went from the top turnbuckle for a flying kick, but Angle pulled the referee in the way, getting him knocked out. Angle then caught a distracted RVD and got him in the Ankle Lock, but the ref called for the bell, disqualifying Angle and keeping the belt with RVD and RAW.
RVD appeared on the final mass-Smackdown and defended the IC Title again, beating Test. Van Dam then stayed on Raw, wrestling for Flair's portion of the WWF. On the 1st Raw of April '02, Van Dam had a competitive defense against Booker T, winning out. After the match, while he was celebrating, RVD was attacked by a returning Eddie Guerrero, who landed his own version of the Frog Splash on the Intercontinental Champion. A week later, Van Dam was put in a Non-Title Match with the Undertaker, and held his own, but interference again from Guerrero, including a title shot to the head, allowed the Undertaker to come back with the Last Ride to get the win. Guerrero later said that the IC Title was stolen from him, as well as his Frogsplash, so he was just getting them back.
The two wrestlers met up for the Intercontinental Title at Backlash '02, in a meeting of the Frog Splashes. Van Dam and Guerrero appeared evenly matched early on, both getting close pinning combinations on their opponent. The fight eventually headed to the outside, where Van Dam nailed Guerrero with a Guillotine Leg Drop off the apron, beheading Guerrero off the guardrail he had been laying on. The fight went back into the ring, with RVD going to the well too many times with the Rolling Thunder. Guerrero got his knees up, blocking the move, then took advantage with several submission holds, including the Gory Guerrero Special. After several near falls, Guerrero opted to try cheating, grabbing the Intercontinental Title. Van Dam intercepted him, but during the struggle, the referee was knocked out. This allowed Guerrero to take advantage, dropping Van Dam with a neckbreaker on the gold. Guerrero then got the Frog Splash, with the hurting referee making the 3 count, stripping RVD of the Intercontinental Title.
The feud between Van Dam and Guerrero continued over the next month, with the two wrestlers meeting up constantly on Raw, as well as at other events. At Insurrextion '02, they met up again with the title on the line. Just when RVD seemed to have all the momentum, Guerrero took out the referee, causing the disqualification. Van Dam got the win, but no gold. The two met again at Judgment Day '02, in another competitive battle, with neither wrestler holding the advantage for long. At one point, Guerrero went for the Frog Splash, but RVD moved. Van Dam then tried his own Frog Splash, but Guerrero dodged as well, leading to a staredown between the two. After a few more exchanges, Guerrero got a backslide, then placed his feet on the ropes, getting the tainted victory to again keep RVD away from the gold.
On the beginning of the next Raw, Van Dam was on his way to the ring for his match when he was suddenly attacked by the Undertaker. The Dead Man, who had just won the WWE Undisputed Championship, said that he deserved the right to come out first. But Van Dam came back and attacked, getting the Five Star Frog Splash on the champion. This led to the Undertaker to demand a match with RVD, which Flair agreed to, as well as putting the World Title on the line. In the match, Van Dam was more aggressive than ever, seeing this as his best chance yet to become a World Champion. The flow went back and forth, but Van Dam persevered, and got the Rolling Thunder on the Undertaker for the pinfall, apparently making him the champ! However, Flair then came out and denied the decision, saying that the Undertaker's foot was on the ropes. He restarted the match, causing RVD to punch out Flair. This distraction, though, allowed the Undertaker to get the Last Ride on Van Dam, winning the match and staying the champ.
A week later, Van Dam was given another shot at Eddie Guerrero's Intercontinental Title, this time in a Ladder match. The match was a complete spotfest, with almost everything you could expect to see happen with a Ladder. In fact, there were even unexpected occurrences, as a fan surprisingly rushed the ring and knocked Guerrero off of a ladder (security quickly grabbed him and dragged him off, as this was not planned). With Chris Benoit at ringside watching (he had bought a ticket, since he was officially a Smackdown superstar), Van Dam and Guerrero flipped, dived, and crashed into each other in a truly thrilling match that can't be described well enough here. Near the end, Van Dam was down in the ring, as Guerrero climbed the turnbuckle. But RVD recovered, knocking Guerrero from the top rope out to the guardrail, where he took a horrible hit. This gave Van Dam all the time he needed to climb the ladder and retrieve the Intercontinental Championship, winning it for the second time.
Next on Van Dam's list was concentrating on the '02 King of the Ring Tournament. In the Qualifying round, RVD was again pitted against Guerrero. After a fast-paced match, Van Dam got a roll-up for the 3 count (despite Guerrero's complaints about it being only 2). In the Quarter-Finals, Van Dam faced X-Pac. Thanks to aid from Booker T (who was feuding with the nWo), Van Dam landed the Five Star Frog Splash and moved on to the semi-finals at the '02 King Of The Ring pay-per-view, where he was placed against Chris Jericho. After another great match, Van Dam got the win by knocking Jericho off the turnbuckle, then jumping off with the Five Star Frog Splash. After the match, while RVD was being interviewed, Jericho attacked, putting Van Dam in the Walls of Jericho. Despite the assault, RVD still came out for the Finals of the KOTR, where he faced Brock Lesnar. While Lesnar obviously had the power advantage, Van Dam had his arial assault, and almost got the win with the Frog Splash. Only Paul Heyman, Lesnar's manager, stopped the count. Later on, Van Dam went back to the air, but this time Lesnar was ready, catching him in mid-air and nailing the F-5. Van Dam, out cold, couldn't kick out, and lost in the finals, once again coming so close, but getting no cigar.
Twenty-four hours later, Van Dam interrupted Lesnar's coronation, attacking "the king" and causing Lesnar to demand a match against RVD that night, with the IC Title on the line. Van Dam fought hard in the match, though, and appeared to have it won after a great moonsault from the top rope. But Heyman broke it up, entering the ring and causing the DQ win for Van Dam. After the match, RVD got a Van Daminator on Lesnar, then landed the Five Star Frog Splash on Heyman. But Lesnar got the last laugh, powerbombing Van Dam through an announce table. Van Dam and Lesnar had several altercations over the next few weeks, leading up to Van Dam defending the IC Title against Lesnar at Vengeance '02. After a pretty even match, Van Dam went for the Frog Splash, but was caught & set up for the F5. But Van Dam reversed it into a DDT, then connected with the Frog Splash! Just before he could finish the pin, though, the referee was pulled out by Paul Heyman, leading to the DQ finish. Afterwards, the two men continued to fight, with Lesnar ending things with an F5 onto a chair.
On the next Raw, Van Dam was placed into a Title Unification Match with the European Champion, Jeff Hardy. The two men had a fabulous Ladder Match, with RVD taking Hardy out in the end with a Splash from the Ladder, then grabbing the gold, unifying the two titles. A week later, however, Van Dam lost the Intercontinental & European Titles to Chris Benoit, who rolled him up after RVD tried to escape the Crippler Crossface. Van Dam came back on the next Raw to go at it with Chris Jericho, who had just come back to Raw from Smackdown. Van Dam and Jericho argued whether the fans should chant "RVD" or "Y2J". They fought later in the night, with Van Dam getting the win in part thanks to Ric Flair clocking Jericho with a chair.
Van Dam fought Jeff Hardy on the next Raw, winning the match after Jeff's brother, Matt, attacked Jeff and laid him out, making him easy pickings for the Five Star Frog Splash. With the win, Van Dam earned an Intercontinental Title rematch with Chris Benoit at Summerslam '02. Benoit had jumped to Smackdown, so this would be Van Dam's first chance to get the gold back around his waist. RVD attacked the champion quickly in the PPV match, but soon fell behind to Benoit's technical style, being placed in several submission holds. Van Dam tried to make use of a missed Flying Headbutt, but Benoit rolled out of the way of the Five Star Frog Splash, then locked on the Crippler Crossface three times, with RVD managing to escape every time. Van Dam finally came back by countering a Superplex into a slam, then getting the Five Star Frog Splash to win the match, bringing the Intercontinental Title back to Raw.
Only 24 hours later, Van Dam was placed in another Title Unification Match, this time joining the Hardcore Title with the IC Championship. RVD came through after a hardcore brawl with Tommy Dreamer, winning with the Van Daminator followed by the Five Star Frog Splash. A crying Dreamer congratulated Van Dam after the match, as the respect was evident between the two former ECW stars. On the first Raw of September '02, Van Dam & Ric Flair teamed up to face the Raw World Champ, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, & Chris Jericho. At the end of the match, Triple H tried to use the title, but Van Dam kicked it back into his face, then got the Five Star Frog Splash to get the pinfall on the World Champion! A week later, Van Dam was placed in a "Fatal Fourway Elimination #1 Contenders" Match, against the Big Show, Jeff Hardy, and Chris Jericho. In the end, Van Dam took out Jericho with the Five Star Frog Splash to gain the victory, earning a shot at Triple H.
The feud got more intense between Van Dam and Triple H on the next Raw, when Helmsley's interference helped Chris Jericho win away the Intercontinental Title. Van Dam then went harder after Helmsley, with Ric Flair supporting the younger wrestler, telling Helmsley that he was disrespecting the Raw World Title, since he hadn't earned it (Bischoff awarded it to Triple H). At Unforgiven '02, RVD gave Helmsley all he had and more, and looked to finally have the chance to become a World Champion. When the referee was taken out, Helmsley went for his sledgehammer, only to have it knocked out of his hands by RVD. Flair then came to the ring, picked up the sledge, threatened Triple H, but then betrayed Van Dam, nailing him instead. Helmsley then got the Pedigree, winning the match and denying Van Dam the gold.
A furious RVD, taped ribs and all, went after Flair on the next Raw, only to be double-teamed by Flair & Helmsley. Bubba Ray Dudley made the save, and the duo were signed to face Flair & Helmsley in a Tag Match in the main event. Van Dam, although hurt, was determined to fight in the match, telling Bubba Ray that, since they had taken away his IC Title and the World Title shot, he had nothing left to lose. Flair & Helmsley won the match later on, with Flair rolling up Bubba Ray and holding the tights. But Van Dam & Bubba Ray got their revenge soon afterwards, with Van Dam putting Helmsley through the announcers' table with a double leg drop. Still, RVD's feud with Flair & Triple H went on hold for a few weeks, as he dealt with other issues, including joining Jeff Hardy in a Tag-Team Title "TLC" Match (which was won by Kane, whose partner, the Hurricane, had been taken out earlier in the show).
Van Dam got back to business on the October 14th Raw, as he faced Helmsley in a "Canadian Lumberjack" Match, with all of the lumberjacks on the outside holding leather straps. Helmsley, though, managed to block the faces' locker room, making sure that all the lumberjacks were heels. Thus, when Van Dam was thrown to the outside, he was beaten unmercifully, while Helmsley was helped up and let back into the ring. Despite the odds, Van Dam got several near falls, but kept losing momentum due to outside interference. Finally, the face wrestlers appeared, charging the ring and brawling with the heel lumberjacks. During the confusion, though, Flair knocked RVD out with the World Title, allowing Helmsley to get the pinfall victory. Van Dam got revenge on Flair, though, at No Mercy '02, where he cleanly defeated the Nature Boy, much to Flair's chagrin.
Van Dam teamed up with Kane on the next Raw, to take on Flair & Helmsley. While Kane and Helmsley battled to the back (where Triple H ended up inside a car trunk), Van Dam took out Flair with the Five Star Frog Splash, getting another victory over the legendary wrestler. It was later announced that Van Dam would be part of the Elimination Chamber Match at the next PPV, along with Helmsley, Kane, Shawn Michaels, Booker T, and Chris Jericho. On the Raw before the PPV, Van Dam teamed with Kane to try and wrest the Raw Tag Titles from Jericho & Christian, but Jericho ended the match via DQ, by attacking Van Dam with a chair, trying to soften him up before the pay-per-view match-up. At the '02 Survivor Series, Van Dam started the match against Triple H, with the rest locked behind glass doors. Van Dam was impressive for a while, getting a Five Star Frog Splash from the top of the Chamber on Helmsley, but was unfortunately eliminated first after Booker T took him out with a Missile Dropkick. Michaels eventually won the match, hitting the Sweet Chin Music on Helmsley to win the World Title.
Twenty-four hours later on Raw, Van Dam appealed to Michaels for a Raw World Title shot. But the GM, Eric Bischoff, stopped that, instead setting up a #1 Contender No-Disqualification Triple Threat Match between RVD, Chris Jericho, and Booker T. Thanks in part to Scott Steiner's assault on Jericho, Van Dam won the match, and the title shot, with the Five Star Frog Splash. RVD and HBK then went at it on the next Raw, with Van Dam again coming incredibly close to becoming World Champion, nailing Michaels with the Five Star Frog Splash. But Triple H then attacked, Pedigreeing RVD and causing the DQ. Van Dam fought Helmsley in a "#1 Contenders" Match on the next week, with Michaels as the special referee. When RVD accidentally knocked down HBK, Helmsley took advantage, ko'ing RVD with a chair. Michaels had no choice but to give Triple H the win, keeping Van Dam out of the main event. Van Dam didn't wrestle at Armageddon '02, and finished out the year regularly teaming with Kane in tag-team matches against various heels.
On the Raw before the next PPV, Van Dam competed in an "Over The Top Rope Challenge" along with Kane, Chris Jericho, and Batista. The winner would get to pick his spot in the Rumble. After Kane was eliminated by Batista, Van Dam managed to get rid of Batista, making it a 1-on-1 affair. But Batista shoved RVD off the top rope despite being eliminated, allowing Jericho to send RVD over and out, giving Jericho the pick (he chose to come in 2nd, behind Shawn Michaels). Before the '03 Royal Rumble, Van Dam and Kane were seen talking, with both saying that, team or no, they would be going for the #1 Contender spot by winning the Rumble. Van Dam came in #11, a hard pick to last long with, but lasted for a while, tossing out Jeff Hardy and making it to the Final 6. Van Dam & Kane then worked together to eliminate A-Train, but RVD was tricked by Kane and tossed out, keeping him out of the Final Four. Brock Lesnar won the Rumble.
Van Dam was challenged by Jeff Hardy on the next Raw, due to RVD having eliminated Hardy. Van Dam came out the winner again, pinning Hardy with a backslide. An infuriated Hardy tried to use a chair on RVD, but was stopped by referees. A week later, Van Dam accepted the apology from Kane for being eliminated from the Rumble, and the two teamed up to face off against Batista & Triple H. But the other members of Triple H's faction, Ric Flair & Randy Orton (soon to be known as Evolution), interfered during the match, unmasking Kane and sending him to the back, hiding his face. Van Dam couldn't overcome the odds, and was pinned by Batista. Van Dam and Kane were placed in a match against each other the next week by Chief Morley (Val Venis), with RVD nearly getting Kane due to faking an arm injury. But Jeff Hardy then charged the ring and caused the DQ by attacking RVD. Of course, Kane came to Van Dam's defense, chokeslamming Hardy, which was followed by a Five Star Frog Splash, showing that the team was still together.
Van Dam & Kane soon were given a Raw Tag-Team Title shot at Lance Storm & William Regal at No Way Out '03, with the two teams feuding for a few weeks beforehand. At the PPV, Van Dam and Storm started things off, exchanging some technical maneuvers. After various tag-outs, Van Dam played the face-in-peril, being constantly double-teamed. Van Dam finally made the tag to Kane, who dominated the tag-team champs until Storm moved his mask around so that he couldn't see. Kane then mistakenly Chokeslammed RVD, allowing the champs to pin him and retain the belts. Tension continued to build between the two wrestlers, as they were entered into a 20-Man Contendership Battle Royal. Van Dam was eliminated early, surprisingly, while Kane lasted until the Final Four. Booker T won the match.
RVD & Kane stayed a team despite their difficulties, but seemed to have lost some momentum. Their tag-team title match against Storm & Chief Morley was even kept off the Wrestlemania X-9 card, as they lost to the tag-team champs on Sunday Night Heat. The team turned itself around, though, on the last Raw of March '03, when they finally defeated Storm & Morley to become the Raw World Tag-Team Champions. Storm & Morley didn't go away, though, continually trying to get the belts back. It was also worked out by Morley that the Dudley Boyz would go against RVD & Kane at Backlash '03, with Morley appointing himself the special referee. In the match, when Kane seemed to have the upper hand, Morley attacked him, catching him with a low blow. Storm also tried to interfere in the match. But the Dudleyz turned on Morley, getting him with the 3-D, and RVD got the Five Star Frog Splash for the victory, keeping the belts.
Van Dam & Kane continued to shine as the Tag Champs for the next few weeks, including winning over Triple H & Flair, when Helmsley was scared away from the ring by Kevin Nash. Flair then was Chokeslammed & Frog Splashed for the easy victory. Van Dam & Kane later defeated Scott Steiner & Test, thanks to Test mistakingly hitting Steiner. It was during this time that "Stone Cold" Steve Austin returned to Raw, this time as the Co-General Manager along with Eric Bischoff. One of Austin's first official acts was to bring back the Intercontinental Title (it had been unified to the World Title after a match between Kane and Triple H). Austin also set up a match at Judgment Day '03, with all of the previous IC Title holders going at it in a Battle Royal for the belt. Once again, Van Dam and Kane found themselves against each other because of the gold. At the beginning of the match, everyone, including Van Dam, ganged up on Kane, eventually eliminating him. RVD then concentrated on himself, but couldn't hang on, as he was sent out of the ring by Chris Jericho. Christian went on to win the vacated title.
On the following Raw, Christian was shown on Chris Jericho's Highlight Reel, bragging about how he was the champion. RVD then came out and challenged Christian to a match for the belt, but instead got attacked by both Christian & Jericho, with Kane making the save. Co-GM Austin quickly made a Tag-Team Title match between the two teams, but the match ended in a DQ, as Christian & Jericho used a Conchairto on Kane. Booker T then came down to make the save for the tag champs. Van Dam & Kane next faced the new threat to the tag-team division, La Resistance. On the last Raw of May '03, Van Dam faced off in a "Flag" Match against Sylvain Grenier. During the match, the referee was accidentally knocked down, even as RVD had control. He managed to get the American flag, but without the referee seeing it, the match continued. Rene Dupree then became involved, taking out Van Dam, only to have Kane get involved as well. But Dupree managed to get the American flag put back up, even as Grenier got the French flag, just as the referee revived to give Grenier the win. This meant that La Resistance would get a Tag-Team Title match.
Van Dam & Kane feuded with La Resistance for the next few weeks, but it was obvious that the team was missing some fire. After Kane lost a match to Dupree, Austin came out and talked with him, trying to motivate him into being the monster. Although Kane didn't attack Austin, and actually tasted a Stone Cold Stunner, he seemed more involved when he & RVD defended the titles against La Resistance at Insurrextion '03. Kane double-chokeslammed the Frenchmen, followed by Van Dam getting the Five Star Frog Splash on Grenier for the pin, getting the big defense. Only a week later, though, Van Dam & Kane again had to defend against La Resistance, this time at Bad Blood '03. Van Dam had control over Dupree early in the match, but tricky tactics by Grenier allowed La Resistance to take the momentum, double-teaming Van Dam. RVD finally was able to make the tag to Kane, who destroyed the heels for a while, even fighting off double-team attempts. The three men fought to the outside, with Van Dam diving out of the ring towards them. Unfortunately for the champs, Van Dam nailed Kane with the dive, taking him out. La Resistance then beat down Van Dam, getting the Flapjack on him to win away the Raw Tag Titles.
Twenty-four hours later, Van Dam & Kane were granted their rematch, and dominated a good portion of the match against La Resistance. But miscues again sunk RVD & Kane, as Dupree was able to shove Van Dam off the top rope during an attempted Five-Star Frog Splash, making him hit Kane instead. Kane then went berserk, grabbing a steel chair and nailing both members of La Resistance, ending the match via disqualification. Kane's emotional instability came to a head the next week, as he fought in a "Title vs. Mask" Match against Triple H. Despite his best efforts, Kane lost the match. Afterwards, Evolution attacked Kane, but Van Dam came down to make the save. Kane then unmasked, then suddenly attacked RVD, chokeslamming him! On the next Raw, Van Dam was given a World Heavyweight Title shot in place of Kane, who didn't want to show his face. Van Dam told Kane he hoped that Kane wouldn't hate him when he won the belt. As RVD left, Kane said he did hate him. RVD nearly won the match by landing the Five Star Frog Splash on Triple H, but Flair entered the ring and hit Van Dam with the title, apparently causing the DQ. Bischoff didn't want the match to end that way, though, and restarted it as a "No DQ, Falls Count Anywhere" Match. But RVD couldn't handle fighting off Triple H, Flair, and Randy Orton, and was eventually pinned. After the match, Kane came out, moved to attack Van Dam, but then suddenly grabbed Bischoff and chokeslammed him off the stage to end the night.
Things continued to fall apart between the two tag-team partners over the next few weeks. At one point, Kane put RVD through a wall, nearly taking him out of wrestling. Van Dam came back, though, the next week, and demanded a match with Kane, which Bischoff reluctantly granted. Van Dam controlled the early part of the match, but soon lost ground to the power & rage of Kane, as they fought up to the entryway. Although road agents and other personnel tried to stop him, Kane tossed Van Dam into the viewscreen, causing an explosive blast of electricity. Kane then took out both Jerry Lawler and Linda McMahon, in a massive display of violence. Van Dam took a week off to recuperate, then returned, winning a singles match over Chris Jericho. But Van Dam was more interested in Kane, and a week later, rushed out to attack his former partner. Although Van Dam landed some solid chairshots, he couldn't stop Kane, who got the chair and knocked Van Dam out.
At Summerslam '03, Van Dam and Kane met up again, with RVD determined to finally take care of his former tag-team partner. The match was made a "No Holds Barred" Match, which brought many weapons into the fray. Not surprisingly, Van Dam got a ladder at one point, using it with his usual efficiency on Kane. But nothing seemed to be enough to keep the Big Red Machine down. Near the end of the match, Van Dam went for the Van Terminator, but Kane managed to dodge. Kane then got RVD up and Tombstone Piledrived him into the steel ring steps. The pinfall was almost academic afterwards. A few weeks later, Van Dam returned to Raw, again attacking Kane and making the save for Shane McMahon, whom Kane had been torturing with electricity. The two met up a week later in a "Steel Cage" Match, with Kane almost totally dominating RVD. Van Dam still nearly got the win, when Kane actually threw him THROUGH the cage and to the floor, but Bischoff said that Van Dam had to escape the cage through the door or over the top, so the match continued. Kane finally ended the bloody massacre by chokeslamming RVD off the top rope, winning the match. EMTs had to come out afterwards to help cart Van Dam to the back.
This defeat finally seemed to stop Van Dam's attempts against Kane, as he went back to concentrating on gold instead. On the next Raw, Van Dam took on Chris Jericho in a "#1 Contenders" Match for the Intercontinental Title. The match ended, though, in a Double-DQ, as Christian, the champ, nailed both men with the gold. This led co-GM Steve Austin to make it a "Triple Threat" Match for the IC Title at Unforgiven '03. At first, Van Dam seemed to have the odds against him in the match, as Christian & Jericho worked together due to their friendship. But that soon ended, as it became all about the title. In the end, Van Dam seemed to have Jericho down and out, and went for the Five Star Frog Splash. But, with the referee down, Christian saw his chance, and clocked Van Dam with the belt on his way down, allowing Christian to get the pinfall victory and retain the Intercontinental Title.
Van Dam continued to feud with Christian for the next few weeks, and was given a gift from co-GM Austin when he put Van Dam and Christian in a "Ladder" Match for the Intercontinental Title on the final Raw of September '03. After a great match, Van Dam came through, getting the belt to become the 4-time Intercontinental Champion. On the next Raw, Christian joined several other heel wrestlers to protest against Austin, with Van Dam being one of the wrestlers to come to his defense. Eventually, a match was signed for the Survivor Series, where Austin and Eric Bischoff would each choose a team to compete in an "Elimination" Match. If Austin's team won, Austin could attack anyone, anywhere, anytime. If Bischoff's team won, Austin was through as the co-GM. Naturally, Van Dam volunteered to be on Austin's team.
On the final October '03 Raw, Van Dam was placed in an Intercontinental Title defense against Chris Jericho. During the match, Jericho locked on the Walls of Jericho, causing Van Dam to writhe in pain. RVD managed to crawl to the ropes, but Bischoff, on the outside, distracted the referee, allowing Jericho to drag Van Dam back to the center of the ring. With no other options, Van Dam tapped out, giving Jericho the IC Title. As Jericho celebrated, Austin came out, and told him that, although he couldn't reverse the decision, he could schedule Jericho's first title defense: against RVD, right now, in a Steel Cage Match! After another long bout, Van Dam won out, escaping the cage first by slamming the cage door into Jericho's face. Thus, Van Dam lost and regained the IC Title on the same night. After the match, the two teams scheduled to face off at the PPV came out and brawled, both inside and out of the cage.
At the '03 Survivor Series, Van Dam joined up with Shawn Michaels, Booker T, & the Dudley Boyz to fight for Austin's job, against Bischoff's squad of Jericho, Christian, Randy Orton, Mark Henry, & Scott Steiner. Austin's team struck first, with Booker T eliminating Steiner with the Book End. But as Booker T celebrated, Henry attacked, hitting a huge slam on Booker T and pinning him, evening up the match. Henry's power controlled the next few minutes of the match, but RVD & the Dudley Boyz eventually overpowered him with sheer numbers, and after a Five Star Frog Splash, RVD & the Dudleyz all pinned Henry to eliminate him. This was about the last highlight for Van Dam, though, as, when he was going for a high-risk move on Orton, Van Dam was shoved off the turnbuckle by Jericho. Orton then got the RKO, eliminating RVD. In the end, Orton pinned Michaels to cause Austin to be 'eliminated' from Raw.
On the next Raw, Van Dam was scheduled in a match with Ric Flair. The two put on a good match, but it was marred by interference from Randy Orton, who attacked Van Dam, then later posed with the Intercontinental Title. The next week, after Orton won a "Legend-Killer" Match over Sgt. Slaughter, Van Dam ran out and attacked, sending Orton from the ring, while Van Dam & Slaughter celebrated. Van Dam continued the momentum the next week, as he won a Six-Man Tag Match of RVD, Michaels, & Goldberg vs. Orton, Batista, & Kane by hitting the Five Star Frog Splash on Orton. On the final Raw before the pay-per-view, Van Dam was scheduled in a non-title match against Batista. Due to the referee getting knocked down, Ric Flair was able to play a significant role, helping Batista to get the victory. Orton, meanwhile, watched from the back as his partners softened up his opponent.
Van Dam and Orton finally met up for the IC Title at Armageddon '03. Before the match, Mick Foley, the new co-GM, was celebrating with Stacey Keibler about getting 1 million signatures on a petition to bring Steve Austin back. Orton then came out with Flair, and provoked Foley, only to have Foley take off his outer shirt to show a referee outfit underneath. Van Dam then came out, with Foley taking over the referee duties for the title match. Van Dam struck quickly, almost immediately sending Orton to the outside. The two then settled in for a long, back-and-forth match. Foley helped Van Dam out some, by keeping Flair outside and not letting him get involved. However, near the end, Flair became too much of a distraction, as Foley went to fight with him while Van Dam was coming close on Orton with the Rolling Thunder. Van Dam then went to the turnbuckle, only to be caught by Orton, who knocked his legs out from under him, then got the RKO, with a reluctant Foley making the 3 count and giving the IC Title to Orton.
Twenty-four hours later, Van Dam & Shawn Michaels were placed in a "Handicap Tag-Team" Match against Triple H, Ric Flair, & Batista (Goldberg, their other partner, was suspended during the night for 30 days by Bischoff). Despite the odds, Van Dam & Michaels got the win after HBK knocked out Helmsley with some Sweet Chin Music. Van Dam then finished out the year with a match against Scott Steiner, defeating Big Poppa Pump by catching the powerhouse with a spinning sidekick followed by the Five Star Frog Splash.
On the first Raw of '04, Van Dam was placed in a #1 Contenders Match for the Intercontinental Title, facing off against Mark Henry. Theodore Long, the manager of Henry, was in charge for the night (Henry's favor granted to him by Bischoff), and he quickly had an impact on the match, giving Henry a chair to hit RVD with, right in front of the referee. Long then announced that the match would continue under "No DQ" rules. Afterwards, though, "Sheriff" Steve Austin chased Long away, making the match more fair. Van Dam then made a comeback against the powerhouse wrestler, eventually ending up winning the Intercontinental Title shot by getting the Five Star Frog Splash. After the matc, Austin chased Long back down the aisle to the ring, where he was attacked by both Austin & RVD. The two men then celebrated with a beer blast, Austin's usual favorite activity.
Van Dam got his IC Title shot the next week, in a very violent match against Randy Orton. With blood flowing down his face, Orton nonetheless got the win with a DDT off the ropes. A week later, it was announced that wrestlers would have qualifying matches to see who would be in the Royal Rumble. The winners would then go on to an Over-The-Top-Rope match to decide who would get the coveted #30 spot. Van Dam & Booker T defeated Matt Hardy & Christian to make it to the battle royal. But RVD couldn't come out on top, as Goldberg won the #30 slot instead. At the '04 Royal Rumble, Van Dam repeated his pick from 2002, as he once again entered as #29. Unfortunately, that wasn't the only similarity from '02, as Van Dam was unable to get much done, and was tossed out. Chris Benoit went on to win the Rumble.
Twenty-four hours later on Raw, Eric Bischoff punished Van Dam & Chris Jericho for not winning the Rumble, despite their late runs in the event, by putting them in a "Handicap" Match against Ric Flair, Randy Orton, & Batista. Although the two fought hard, including RVD getting the Five Star Frog Splash on Flair, they lost when Orton caught Jericho with the RKO. Van Dam was given another IC Title shot a few weeks later, competing in a "Triple Threat" Match against the champ, Orton, and Booker T. Van Dam again came close, catching Booker T with the Five Star Frog Splash, but before he could make the cover, Orton threw him out of the ring, then made the cover himself, retaining the title.
Van Dam & Booker T teamed up the next week, using their mutual hatred of Evolution to their advantage. During their Tag-Team Title match against Ric Flair & Batista, RVD & Booker T had to deal with interference from Orton. But when Mick Foley chased Orton off, the contenders had a chance. Flair got Booker T in the Figure Four Leglock, but Van Dam came off the top with a Five Star Frog Splash on the trapped legend. Booker T then made the cover, winning the Raw Tag-Team Championships for himself & Van Dam. The team would defend the tag-team titles for the next month, against several top teams, as WWE headed towards Wrestlemania XX. With all the competition available, a Four-Way Tag-Team Match was set up for the pay-per-view, with RVD & Booker T defending the titles against La Resistance, the Dudley Boyz, and Mark Jindrak & Garrison Cade.
The match started off with a minor melee, as all four teams wanted to get started on the right note. RVD & Booker T obviously were at a disadvantage, as they didn't even have to be beaten to lose the tag-team titles. For a while, Booker T was double-teamed by La Resistance, but managed to fight his way out and make the tag to Van Dam. RVD came in on fire, taking out almost everyone with chops and kicks. However, Van Dam moved too quickly for the Five Star Frog Splash, as a recovered wrestler was able to push him off the top rope. Despite this, the tag-team champions were later able to come back during an all-out brawl, with Booker T landing the Axe Kick on Rob Conway to knock him out and get the victory, allowing RVD & Booker T to keep the titles around their waists.
WWE Smackdown: 2004
A few weeks after Wrestlemania, Vince McMahon announced that a draft lottery would be held between Raw and Smackdown. During the night of the draft, RVD & Booker T put the titles on the line against Ric Flair & Batista. Due in part by a mis-kick from Van Dam, Flair & Batista took away the Raw Tag-Team Titles. Soon afterwards, as Van Dam & Booker T were discussing their contractual rematch, RVD was informed that he had been drafted to Smackdown. During the next few days, Booker T also came to Smackdown, being sent in a trade along with the Dudley Boyz in order for Raw to get back Triple H. But while Van Dam seemed fine with the change, Booker T was immediately frustrated, calling Raw the better brand and insulting the fans at every opportunity. Van Dam tried to make it work, signing a tag-team match between RVD & Booker T and Charlie Haas & the Big Show. But Booker T walked out on Van Dam during the match, causing RVD to be double-teamed and eventually beaten.
Van Dam and Booker T had a singles match on the next Smackdown, with Booker T's frustration becoming even more evident. When RVD became tangled in the ropes, Booker T attacked unmercifully, eventually earning the DQ. Van Dam got a rematch a week later, and was on his way to winning it with the Five Star Frog Splash, when the pyro suddenly went off, distracting him. Booker T then got a quick roll-up for the victory. After the match, Paul Heyman came out (temporarily taking over the GM position while Kurt Angle healed up from a Big Show toss off a ledge) and verbally bashed Van Dam. The Dudley Boyz then came out, apparently to support RVD, but then they turned around and attacked him, brutally beating down Mr. Thursday Night. The Dudleyz then left with Heyman, having rejoined their former ECW leader.
RVD called out the Dudleyz a week later, but again was blindsided, as Heyman distracted him from the entryway while the Dudleyz came from the crowd. Eddie Guerrero made the save. Van Dam returned the favor later in the show, during Guerrero's non-title match with Bubba Ray. Van Dam & Guerrero were scheduled to face the Dudleys in a tag-team match on the next Smackdown, but due to Guerrero's emotional state (John Bradshaw Layfield had caused his mother to have a heart attack on a house show earlier in the week), Guerrero was pulled from the match. This didn't bother RVD, though, as he got Rey Mysterio Jr to team with him instead! The fast-paced duo managed to get the big win, looking strong against a veteran tag-team. The feud continued to build between the two teams, and a match was signed for the next Smackdown pay-per-view.
Van Dam & Mysterio versus the Dudleyz opened up Judgment Day '04. The match began with RVD confronting Bubba Ray. But while Bubba distracted the referee, D-Von attacked, immediately getting an advantage on Van Dam. RVD stayed in the ring for a long time after that, sometimes getting the edge, but usually taking many, many shots. Finally, Van Dam was able to get a leg sweep, giving him the opportunity to tag in Mysterio. But Mysterio wasn't able to do much better against the double-team, and soon himself was in deep trouble, with Van Dam watching from the corner. Mysterio did make the tag to Van Dam at one point, but the ref was busy with Bubba and didn't see it. Eventually, Mysterio shrugged off Bubba in the corner, got a moonsault, then crawled for the tag, bringing in the fresh RVD, quickly sending the match into a free-for-all. In the end, the Dudleys went for the 3D on Mysterio, but Van Dam was able to block it, helping Mysterio to get a double-619 on both Dudleyz. Van Dam followed this up with a Five Star Frog Splash to D-Von for the victory.
A match was assigned on the next Smackdown featuring Van Dam, Mysterio, & Eddie Guerrero vs. John Bradshaw Layfield & the Dudley Boyz. Guerrero, who was taken out before the match, still showed up to make the hot tag at the right moment, after RVD & Mysterio had exhausted themselves in a Handicap Match. However, just as Guerrero was going strong, he suddenly grew dizzy and passed out, due to blood loss, allowing Layfield to make the easy cover for the win. Van Dam & Mysterio got another shot at the Dudleyz a week later, but Paul Heyman's interference allowed the Dudleyz to sneak away with another victory.
Going into June '04, Van Dam left the tag-team ranks behind, at least temporarily, to concentrate on John Cena's United States Heavyweight Title. On one Smackdown, Van Dam was placed in a "Triple Play" Match, where the person who beat Cena would be given the title shot at the pay-per-view. Despite landing the Five Star Frog Splash on Cena, Van Dam couldn't make the cover in time, keeping him from the title shot. However, neither Rene Dupree nor Booker T could win as well, which left a frustrated GM Kurt Angle to make the match at the Great American Bash a Fatal Fourway Elimination Match between the wrestlers. Afterwards, Booker T & Dupree attacked Cena, with Van Dam helping to fend them off. RVD then signaled to Cena that he wanted the gold, while Cena showed that he'd rather keep it. Van Dam answered with a kick to the face, showing how serious he was about the title shot.
At the '04 Great American Bash, Van Dam, Cena, Dupree, and Booker T all strived to prove that they were the most worthy to hold the United States Championship. There were no tags in or out, as all four men fought from the beginning in a tornado-tag style match, either fighting on the outside or going at it between the ropes. Near the middle of the match, Van Dam saw an opportunity and went for it, catching Booker T with the Five Star Frog Splash. But before Van Dam could recover from the blow, Cena grabbed him and rolled him up, pinning RVD and eliminating him! Cena went on to win the match, retaining the title. Van Dam was given another shot in a #1 Contenders Triple Threat Match on the next Smackdown, but after RVD got the Five Star Frog Splash on Dupree, Booker T pulled him out of the ring, then made the cover himself, stealing the title shot. The belt was later vacated by GM Kurt Angle.
On the last Smackdown of July '04, Van Dam joined 7 other wrestlers in a brawl over who would get the vacated United States Title. The brawl was stopped by Vince McMahon and the new GM (Angle had been fired), Theodore R. Long. Long set up an 8-man Elimination Match for the title that night. Charlie Haas was the first eliminated, as he was caught by Billy Gunn's Fameasser. Rene Dupree was next, being pinned after being taken out by Luther Reigns. Kenzo Suzuki was disqualifed for hitting John Cena with the title belt. Cena came back from the hit to eliminate Gunn with the FU, then got another FU and pin on Reigns, making the final three Van Dam, Cena, & Booker T. Van Dam and Cena went at it for a time, with RVD taking control of the tired former champ. But as Van Dam went for the Five Star Frog Splash, Booker T made the quiet tag, and rushed in after the Frog Splash landed, getting the pin on Cena. Booker T then jumped up and hit RVD with the Axe Kick, eliminating him as well to win the vacated US Title. Once again, it was close but no title for RVD.
Van Dam was given another shot the next week, in a match against Cena to decide the #1 Contender for Booker T's belt, but Cena won out with a cradle pin. The two showed respect to each other after the match. A week later, Van Dam joined Cena & Charlie Haas in a "Summer Relay" Match against Booker T, Luther Reigns, and Rene Dupree. Cena ended up rolling up Booker T in the end for the victory. Unfortunately, despite getting the victory with his team, Van Dam was not able to make his way onto the Summerslam '04 card, instead wrestling and defeating Rene Dupree in a dark match on Sunday Night Heat. Van Dam and Dupree had a rematch on the following Smackdown, but it ended the same way, with Van Dam getting the Five Star Frog Splash for the victory. After the match, though, Kenzo Suzuki came down and attacked RVD, laying him out.
Van Dam got a shot against Suzuki on the next Smackdown, and despite Dupree's interference, got the win win a roll-up reversal of Suzuki's finisher. Suzuki & Dupree teamed up after the match, though, to beat down RVD. Van Dam later got himself a tag-team partner, allying again with Rey Mysterio, and the two teams began a running feud, which grew more intense after Suzuki & Dupree won the Smackdown Tag Titles. RVD & Mysterio also had a short feud with the Dudley Boyz, as Mysterio wanted Spike Dudley's Cruiserweight Title. But during Mysterio's shot on the 5th Anniversary Show of Smackdown, Suzuki & Dupree attacked Mysterio, costing him the match. Van Dam then came out to make the save.
At No Mercy '04, Van Dam & Mysterio were given a Tag-Team Title shot against Suzuki & Dupree. The match began with Van Dam and Dupree showing some defensive skills, as neither were able to get in a good shot on the other. Mysterio and Suzuki then both were tagged in, with Mysterio taking the advantage due to his speed. The champions began a comeback after Dupree sent RVD off the top rope to the outside. Van Dam was in trouble for a while, but finally managed to make the tag to Mysterio, who went on a tear. In the end, Mysterio got the 619 on Suzuki, but was kept from doing the West Coast Pop by Dupree. Suzuki then rolled the cruiserweight up and held the ropes, getting the cheap pin to keep the titles from RVD & Mysterio.
The feud between the two tag-teams continued into October '04, with Van Dam & Mysterio able to win several singles matches over the champs. The team was then put in the Champion's Showcase by GM Theodore Long, partnering with Booker T to take on John Bradshaw Layfield(the HW Champ), Suzuki, & Dupree. Van Dam & Mysterio quickly prepared to work for themselves, as neither trusted Booker T, who had been a heel wrestler for a while. During the match, Van Dam & Mysterio did most of the work, leaving Booker T on the apron. Near the end, though, with Van Dam down on the outside, Mysterio made the tag to Booker T, who promptly came in and held Mysterio up for Layfield to hit. It turned out to be a trick, though, as Booker T pushed Mysterio out of the way, then nailed the champ, getting in several hits on the heel team before taking out JBL with the Axe Kick to win the match.
On the next Smackdown, Mysterio was in a match with Kurt Angle, who had Luther Reigns & Mark Jindrak interfering on his behalf. Van Dam & Eddie Guerrero soon joined in to help as well, and Mysterio got a roll-up for the win (after a Guerrero Frog Splash). After the match, the six men brawled in the back, leading GM Long to set up a Survivor Series elimination match between the two teams, with one more member being added to each team. Van Dam's team added on the Big Show, while Angle's team got Carlito Caribbean Cool. But when Mysterio was granted a Cruiserweight Title shot against Spike Dudley on the PPV, a new teammate had to be found, and Van Dam's team chose well, getting the returning John Cena (who had a major problem with Cool).
The '04 Survivor Series Elimination match got off to a wild start, as Cena attacked both Cool & Jesus (Cool's bodyguard), chasing them away from the arena. This effectively eliminated Carlio Caribbean Cool from the match, while Cena came back to rejoin his team. The rest of the wrestlers went at it soon afterwards, resulting in an early brawl. Eventually, things settled down, and the real competition began. Van Dam got in some early shots, then tagged in Guerrero, but a cheap shot from Angle changed the momentum, leaving Guerrero to take a lot of abuse. Guerrero finally got a Hurricanrana on Jindrak and made the tag to RVD, who came in and attacked both Angle (who had made the tag) and Jindrak, getting the Five Star Frog Splash on Jindrak. But Angle managed to roll up Van Dam and pin him, taking him out of the match. This was the only blemish for Van Dam's team, though, as Guerrero, Cena, & the Big Show all 'survived', winning the match.
On the next Smackdown, Van Dam introduced his new personal trainer, Michelle McCool (one of the former WWE Diva Search contestants). Van Dam & Mysterio then had a non-title match with Kenzo Suzuki & Rene Dupree, where RVD got the Five Star Frog Splash on Suzuki for the victory. This allowed Van Dam & Mysterio to get a title shot at the next Smackdown PPV. Over the next few weeks, Van Dam and Mysterio both got singles victories over the champs, as well as winning a six-person tag match with Torrie Wilson as their third member (Hiroko, Suzuki's wife, was their partner). Surprisingly, Van Dam & Mysterio were then granted a Tag-Team Title shot on the Smackdown before the pay-per-view, and made the most of it, with Mysterio rolling up Suzuki to win himself & RVD the Smackdown Tag-Team Championships.
At Armageddon '04, the title match took place, just with opposite champions than expected. Van Dam & Mysterio put their newly-won tag titles on the line against Suzuki & Dupree, in a very back-and-forth match-up. In the end, though, Van Dam & Mysterio were too strong, as Mysterio got a double 619 on their opponents, followed by RVD catching Dupree with the Five Star Frog Splash for the victory. Van Dam & Mysterio next won a non-title match over Billy Kidman & Akio. Mysterio then went to the Iraq Smackdown show alone, as Van Dam elected not to go on the trip (causing a stir over Vince McMahon's "volunteer" request of the wrestlers).
To end out the year, Van Dam & Mysterio defended the tag-team titles on the Championship Showcase. The two had to decide on their opponent, choosing between Eddie Guerrero & Booker T, the Basham Brothers, and Luther Reigns & Mark Jindrak. Although Van Dam joked about selecting Dawn Marie & Torrie Wilson to 'wrestle', they eventually went with Guerrero & Booker T, with Mysterio saying that they would wrestle Marie & Wilson later. The two teams put on the best match of the night, a back-and-forth contest with all looking very competitive. Guerrero also used his old tricks, trying to make it seem that Mysterio had clocked him with the belt. But the ref caught Guerrero bragging, putting him on the defensive and allowing Mysterio to get the roll-up to keep Van Dam & Mysterio the champs.
Van Dam started out the new year wrestling in a singles match against Doug Basham. Despite having Mysterio as his back-up, Van Dam was beaten due to Danny Basham switching out with his brother, then catching a surprised RVD with a powerbomb for the pin. On the next Smackdown, Van Dam & Mysterio were scheduled to defend the Tag-Team Titles in a "Fatal Fourway Elimination" Match against Booker T & Eddie Guerrero, the Basham Brothers, and Luther Reigns & Mark Jindrak. Van Dam came out with a splint wrapped tightly around his knee, with the announcers saying that he had badly injured his knee earlier in the week. Reigns & Jindrak were eliminated first, due in part from aid from Mysterio (who hit Jindrak with the 619) and Guerrero (who dragged Danny Basham on top of Jindrak to cause the pin). Mysterio then eliminated Guerrero's team with a surprise roll-up, leaving the champs and the Bashams. Unfortunately, Van Dam was all but taken out of the match shortly thereafter, as one of the Bashams came around and slammed a portion of the metal stairs into his injured knee. Although Mysterio fought on valiantly, he couldn't come back, and the Bashams won the tag-team titles. Meanwhile, Van Dam was taken out on a stretcher. This was a set-up to allow Van Dam to have reconstructive knee surgery to repair a torn ACL, which meant that RVD would be on the shelf for a long, long while.
WWE Raw: 2005
In June '05, WWE put on a special ECW pay-per-view, entitled ECW One Night Stand. It featured many of the great wrestlers from the ECW days, putting on some tremendous matches. At one point during the night, Rob Van Dam came out with his old manager, Bill Alfonso, to talk to the fans, cutting a very intense promo about how he was underutilized by the WWE, how Smackdown shouldn't even be a part of the PPV (Smackdown wrestlers against ECW were in attendance), and that he had been the one pushing Vince McMahon for the ECW reunion. The night ended somewhat badly for RVD, though, as he was suddenly assaulted by his old ECW foe, Rhino! Sabu appeared in the ring to make the save, having a match with Rhino, with Van Dam helping Sabu (with a chair) defeat the Man-Beast.
A few weeks later, another Draft Lottery was being held between the two WWE brands. On the last June '05 Raw, Carlito Caribbean Cool came out and talked about how the streak of winning lottery picks had come to an end. He then called out the pick: Rob Van Dam! Van Dam came down to participate in Carlito's Cabana, talking about his return to the ring, as well as his return to Raw. However, Carlito decided that he liked RVD on the sidelines, so he attacked Van Dam's injured knee, doing more damage to it before security could pull him off. This was to cover another long absence from RVD, as his knee was not healing as well as expected.
Going into the new year, all the hype was directed towards the '06 Royal Rumble. Promos began to play on both Raw and Smackdown, talking about the return to the ring of "Mr. Monday Night" Rob Van Dam. At the PPV, Van Dam made his triumphant return, coming in at #20 to the roar of the crowd. RVD would hang in the Rumble for a while, eliminating Road Warrior Animal, Goldust, and, in an act of revenge, Carlito. This helped Van Dam get to the Final Four, teaming with his old partner, Rey Mysterio, against Randy Orton & Triple H. Some ring rust soon showed on Van Dam, as he opted to go to the turnbuckle too early, getting caught by Triple H, who then threw Mysterio at him to help eliminate Van Dam. Mysterio later won the Rumble.
Van Dam's first match back on Raw occurred the next day, as he was put in a bout against Gene Snitsky. The bout gave Van Dam some momentum, as he was able to beat the giant Snitsky with the Five Star Frog Splash, showing the fans that he could still get the big wins. Later on, Van Dam appeared again, this time chasing Carlito from the ring after Carlito & Chris Masters had had a match with Kane & the Big Show. Van Dam told Maria in the back that he wasn't going to be Carlito's stepping stone to the big time. Obviously, he had revenge for the added months to his recovery time on his mind.
It was announced on the next Raw that there would be a #1 Contenders Tournament to decide who would be facing the Raw Heavyweight Champion at Wrestlemania. Van Dam started out in the tournament against Carlito, immediately going on the attack when Carlito tried to run away. It was an exciting match, with Carlito even pulling out a Double Springboard Senton maneuver. But Van Dam was too strong, winning with the Five Star Frog Splash. A week later, in the semi-finals, Van Dam took on Chris Masters. It was another tough match, but after Van Dam caught Masters with a surprise kick while climbing the turnbuckle, Van Dam was able to fly with another Five Star Frog Splash to move to the finals the next week. In the other semi-final match, Triple H and the Big Show fought to a Double Countout. For a short time, it seemed that Van Dam would be going to Wrestlemania, but Mr. McMahon ruled that Triple H and the Big Show would both advance to the finals, making it a "Triple Threat" Match on the next Raw.
Van Dam, Triple H, and the Big Show had it out a week later, with each giving a speech beforehand about how important the title shot was. The match soon seemed to turn into a "Handicap" Match, as RVD and Triple H had to work together against the major threat of the Big Show, who managed to get a Double Chokeslam on both men. Eventually, though, when Van Dam knocked the Big Show to the outside, RVD and Triple H went at it, each trying to get the quick pin on the other. Van Dam was powerful during the match, landing the Five Star Frog Splash on both opponents. But the other wrestler was always able to make the save, keeping RVD from the win. Van Dam then was caught and Pedigree'd by Triple H, getting pinned and keeping him, once again, from the Wrestlemania main event.
It was announced on the next show that there would be a "Money In The Bank" Match at Wrestlemania, with the winner getting a WWE Title shot that they could cash in during the next 12 months. Van Dam had to face Trevor Murdoch to earn a place in the match, and he flew high, winning with the Five Star Frog Splash. Later that night, Ric Flair and Shelton Benjamin earned spots as well, deciding a few of Van Dam's performance. RVD didn't wrestle on the next Raw, but he did find out, from Smackdown GM Teddy Long, that the other three "Money In The Bank" challengers would be chosen in Qualifying Matches on Smackdown. On the next Raw, Van Dam took on Benjamin for the IC Title, in a fast-paced match. However, when Benjamin went for the belt, probably to hit RVD with it (and escape with the DQ to stay the champ), Flair, who had been at the announce table, interceded. Unfortunately, when RVD charged the two men, he only hit Flair, allowing Benjamin to roll him up for the pin, keeping the title. RVD and Flair had words after the match, with each blaming the other for what went down.
Van Dam, Flair, and Benjamin had a "Three-Way" Match on the next Raw, with Benjamin's IC Title again on the line. It was a violent match, with Van Dam and Flair bumping heads during an RVD suicide dive, busting both men open. In the end, Van Dam tried for the Five Star Frog Splash on Flair, but missed, allowing Flair to lock on the Figure Four Leglock. As Van Dam struggled against it, however, Benjamin snuck in and quickly pinned the trapped Flair, retaining the IC Title once again. A week later, Flair came out to talk about his destiny to become World Champion again. This led to Benjamin coming out to attack Flair, beating him down. But Van Dam came out as well, delivering a great Rolling Thunder onto Benjamin, who was on top of a chair. RVD then told both men to realize that he would be winning the title shot. However, Flair then attacked Van Dam with the chair, knocking him out!
At Wrestlemania 22, Van Dam, Flair, and Benjamin, representing Raw, went into the "Money In The Bank Ladder" Match to compete both against each other and the Smackdown representatives, Matt Hardy, Bobby Lashley, and Finlay. It was an wild affair, with lots of great moves, including Benjamin running across a ladder at one point to deliver a Senton to the outside. Later on, Van Dam got a Van Terminator on Lashley from the top rope, taking out the big man, then later got the Five Star Frog Splash off of a ladder onto Finlay, getting some ECW chants. In the end, Benjamin and Hardy were fighting on the ladder, but Van Dam took both out by knocking down the ladder. This left Van Dam free to make the climb, grabbing the briefcase for the victory to earn a WWE Title Shot in the next 12 months!
Van Dam celebrated his victory on Raw the next night, saying that he would not wait nearly as long as the previous Money In The Bank winner, Edge. Van Dam said that the timing was so important, it was Extreme! Van Dam wrestled against Rob Conway on the next Raw, with Shelton Benjamin watching from the commentating position. RVD soundly defeated Conway, beating him with the Five Star Frog Splash. Meanwhile, Benjamin challenged Van Dam for his Money In The Bank shot. When Van Dam was informed of this, he told Benjamin that it wasn't going to happen, although he also told Benjamin to think about putting the Intercontinental Title on the line before leaving.
The matter was decided on the next Raw, when Benjamin was put into a match against an unknown opponent, with the stipulations being that if Benjamin won, the Money In The Bank Contract would be on the line. If he lost, the IC Title would be up instead. Van Dam had a surprise for Benjamin, though, as he brought out Benjamin's old tag-team partner, Charlie Haas! The two had a strong match, but when Benjamin got cocky, trying to use RVD's own moves and mimicking him, Haas got the roll-up, upsetting the IC Champ to put the belt on the line. However, Benjamin was able to manipulate Vince McMahon's ego later on in the night, talking about becoming a follower of "McMahonism". Mr. McMahon showed Benjamin a "blessing", as he pitted Van Dam against all five members of the Spirit Squad! RVD fought hard, but the odds were way too much for him, as he was pinned, making sure that both the Money In The Bank Contract and the IC Title would be up for grabs in their match. The week before the PPV, Van Dam teamed with Haas and Carlito against Benjamin, Chris Masters, & Matt Striker. It was a fast-paced match, but in the end, Van Dam took flight, landing the Five Star Frogsplash on Benjamin for the win, gaining some momentum going into the PPV.
Van Dam and Benjamin met at Backlash '06, with both the MITB Contract and the Intercontinental Title on the line. The two men had a very athletic contest, with both men trying to pull out all the stops to get the victory. Near the end of the match, Benjamin grabbed Van Dam's painted briefcase and, when the ref went down, tried to use it as a weapon. However, Van Dam dodged the strike, then got the Van Daminator, sending the briefcase bouncing off of Benjamin's skull! With Benjamin down, RVD quickly went to the turnbuckle, scoring the Five Star Frogsplash and getting the pin to become a 6-time WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion, as well as preserving his Money In The Bank title shot. Van Dam appeared the next night on Raw to celebrate, as well as to participate in Chris Masters' Masterlock Challenge. It was all a set-up, though, as Benjamin attacked RVD as soon as he was locked in the hold. Carlito came out for the 'save' (possibly to just attack Masters), setting up a tag-team match between the two. Thanks in part to interference from Charlie Haas, Carlito rolled up Benjamin, getting Van Dam's team the win.
A week later, Van Dam was forced to put up his Intercontinental Championship in a "Fatal Fourway" Match against Benjamin, Masters, and Haas. Before the match, Van Dam took the time to praise Joey Styles, the former ECW announcer who had quit Raw the previous week due to not being happy with the WWE product. Van Dam alluded to his own ECW ties in the comments, getting the fans to chant those 3 initials, instead of his own. The match then took place, with Benjamin & Masters working together at first against RVD & Haas, before eventually turning on one another. Late in the match, Masters tossed Benjamin out of the ring, then applied the Masterlock to Haas. Before Haas could tap, however, Van Dam came flying in out of nowhere (actually leaping off the top turnbuckle) for a sunset flip on Masters, getting the 1-2-3 to retain the title.
Van Dam was again put to the test on the next Raw, as Mr. McMahon surprisingly changed the first match (which was scheduled to be John Cena vs. Triple H for Cena's WWE Title) to make it Cena & Van Dam in a "Handicap Texas Tornado Titles" Match against Triple H, Benjamin, & Masters! With both the WWE and IC Titles on the line, Van Dam and Cena fought hard, trying to fight through the odds. At one point during the match, though, Cena was taken out by Benjamin on the outside, leaving RVD to be triple-teamed. However, when the three heels fought over who should get the win (and said title), Van Dam came back, fighting all three men and nearly getting the Five Star Frog Splash, only to have Triple H throw him from the top all the way to the guardrail outside! Near the end, Cena made his comeback and got Benjamin in the STFU, but Masters made the save. Van Dam then tried to steal the win, getting the Five Star on Benjamin, but he then got caught by Triple H's Pedigree! Likewise, Cena was distracted by giving Masters the FU, allowing Triple H to get in another Pedigree. But before Triple H could pin the Heavyweight Champ, a hurting Benjamin rolled over and pinned the unconscious RVD, taking away the IC Title!
Van Dam used his rematch clause to take on Benjamin on the next Raw. The two had a back-and-forth match, with Van Dam and Benjamin both nearly picking up the win at points. Near the end, Benjamin nailed Van Dam with a Samoan Drop, only to drop Van Dam on top of the ref's leg! The ref, in pain, scrambled to the side, as Benjamin sensed opportunity. He went and grabbed the IC Title, preparing to strike RVD with it. Van Dam saw it coming, though, and used his Van Daminator to strike it back into Benjamin's face! However, the ref then called for the bell, DQ'ing Van Dam for 'using' the belt! An angry Van Dam gave Benjamin the Five Star Frog Splash and left, leaving the champ down and out. Van Dam wasn't done for the night, though, as he came out after John Cena had defeated Chris Masters. RVD showed the briefcase to the WWE Champion and told him he was challenging him to a match at the upcoming ECW PPV! Van Dam and Cena then went at it, with Cena getting the advantage early on. However, after Masters distracted Cena (who threw Masters from the ring), RVD got the Van Daminator through the briefcase on Cena, laying out another champion!
The next week on Raw, RVD joined Jerry Lawler & Jim Ross at the announce table, with Van Dam trading some ECW barbs with Lawler. Van Dam then watched as Cena took on Johnny Nitro, getting the victory. Van Dam stared down Cena after the match, but when Nitro tried to sneak-attack Cena, the champ dodged him, sending Nitro into Van Dam. A week later, the contract signing took place, as Van Dam and Cena met in the ring to made their match official. Van Dam, with Paul Heyman supporting him, talked about how Cena was entering a hostile environment, and how RVD would make the WWE Championship change into the ECW Championship. Cena wouldn't back down, though, talking about how he's been booed before. After the signing, Heyman had a special surprise for Cena, bringing out several ECW wrestlers! Cena decided that if he was going to go out, he'd go out swinging, fighting with all of the ECW wrestlers, including Van Dam. But the numbers were too much, as ECW took down Cena, with Sabu coming off the top rope with a chair splash through a table. WWE wrestlers then came out to chase off the ECW wrestlers, with Van Dam celebrating a 'victory'.
A few nights later, Van Dam went against another champion, facing off against Smackdown's Rey Mysterio in a "Non-Title" Match during the WWE vs. ECW special. It was a competitive bout, seeing a lot of high-flying from both RVD and Mysterio. At one point, when Van Dam missed his legdrop on the outside guardrail, Mysterio took advantage, coming from the top rope to hit a Flying Splash into the crowd on Van Dam! In the end, though, Van Dam's usage of a chair proved to be the deciding factor, if only as a distraction. Van Dam laid the chair (already used earlier in the match) onto a downed Mysterio, then climbed the turnbuckle for his Five Star Frog Splash. Mysterio recovered soon enough to knock the chair away, but he still took the full brunt of the Frog Splash, allowing Van Dam to get the pin on the World Champion. Afterwards, Van Dam showed respect to his former tag-team partner, pulling Mysterio up and handing him the title.
Pay-Per-View/Show Summary: (95 - 62, 5 Draws, 8 NCs)
- AJPW Budokan Hall (February 28, '93) = Van Dam & Steve Williams fell to the Patriot & the Eagle.
- AJPW Budokan Hall (March 5, '94) = Van Dam, Johnny Ace & Richard Slinger won over the Patriot, the Eagle & Johnny Gunn.
- AJPW Budokan Hall (March 4, '95) = Van Dam & Doug Furnas beat Takao Omori & Ryukaku Izumida.
- AJPW Budokan Hall (June 9, '95) = Van Dam lost to the PWF Junior Heavyweight Champion Dan Kroffat.
- AJPW Budokan Hall (October 25, '95) = Van Dam pinned Kentaro Shiga.
- AJPW Budokan Hall (December 9, '95) = Van Dam & Johnny Smith won over Saturo Asako & Kentaro Shiga.
- ECW House Party '96 (January 5) = Van Dam defeated Axl Rotten.
- ECW Arena (January 27, '96) = Van Dam lost, via DQ, to Sabu.
- AJPW Budokan Hall (March 2, '96) = Van Dam & Bob Bradley fell to Dan Kroffat & Doug Furnas.
- ECW Arena (March 30, '96) = Van Dam fought to a Draw with the ECW TV Champ, Too Cold Scorpio.
- ECW Hostile City Showdown '96 (April 20) = Van Dam was beaten by Sabu.
- ECW A Matter of Respect (May 11, '96) = Van Dam defeated Sabu.
- ECW Fight The Power (June 1, '96) = Van Dam won over Mikey Whipwreck.
- ECW Hardcore Heaven '96 (June 22) = Van Dam fell to Sabu.
- AJPW Budokan Hall (July 24, '96) = Van Dam, Takao Omori & Yoshinori Ogawa defeated Yoshinobu Kanemura, Satoru Asako & Kentaro Shiga.
- ECW The Doctor Is In (August 3, '96) = Van Dam lost a "Stretcher" match to Sabu.
- ECW Natural Born Killaz (August 24, '96) = Van Dam defeated Doug Furnas.
- ECW Arena (September 14, '96) = Van Dam & Sabu fought to a Draw with Doug Furnas & Dan Kroffat.
- AJPW Budokan Hall (October 18, '96) = Van Dam & Dan Kroffat were beaten by Kimala II & Ryukaku Izumida.
- ECW High Incident (October 26, '96) = Van Dam & Sabu took down Doug Furnas & Dan Kroffat.
- ECW November to Remember (November 16) = Van Dam & Sabu fought to a Draw with the Eliminators. Later that night, Van Dam & Sabu lost to ECW Tag Champs the Gangstas in a "Three Way Dance", with the Eliminators the other participants.
- ECW Holiday Hell '96 (December 7) = Van Dam was beaten by Taz.
- ECW Crossing The Line Again (February 1, '97) = Van Dam & Sabu fell to the ECW Tag Champs, the Eliminators.
- ECW Cyberslam '97 (February 22) = Van Dam & Sabu lost a "Tables" match to the Eliminators, who retained the Tag Titles.
- ECW Hostile City Showdown '97 (March 15) = Van Dam was forced to submit to Taz.
- ECW Barely Legal (April 13, '97) = Van Dam pinned Lance Storm.
- ECW Chapter 2 (May 10, '97) = Van Dam & Sabu were beaten by Chris Candido & Taz.
- WWF Raw Tag-Team Tournament (June - July, '97) = Van Dam & Jerry Lawler fell in the first round to the Headbangers. Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith went on to win the tournament.
- AJPW Budokan Hall (June 6, '97) = Van Dam & Sabu took down Yoshinori Ogawa & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi.
- ECW Orgy of Violence (June 28, '97) = Van Dam & Sabu defeated Tommy Dreamer & the Sandman.
- ECW Heat Wave '97 (July 19) = Van Dam, Sabu & Jerry Lawler fought to a No-Contest with Tommy Dreamer, Rick Rude & the Sandman.
- ECW Born To Be Wild (August 9, '97) = Van Dam won over Tommy Dreamer.
- ECW Hardcore Heaven '97 (August 17) = Van Dam defeated Al Snow.
- Amarillo Fifty Years Of Funk (September 11, '97) = Van Dam fell to Dory Funk Jr.
- ECW As Good As It Gets (September 20, '97) = Van Dam & Bill Alfonzo lost to Tommy Dreamer & Beulah.
- ECW Arena (October 18, '97) = Van Dam fought to a No-Contest with the TV Champ, Taz.
- ECW Ultimate Jeopardy '97 (November 8) = Van Dam & Sabu fell to Tommy Dreamer & Taz.
- ECW November to Remember (November 30) = Van Dam and Tommy Dreamer fought to a No Contest in a "Flag" match.
- ECW Better Than Ever (December 6, '97) = Van Dam & Sabu took down Tommy Dreamer & Taz.
- ECW House Party '98 (January 10) = Van Dam pinned Bam Bam Bigelow.
- ECW Hostile City Showdown '98 (January 31) = Van Dam & Sabu won, via DQ, over Axl Rotten & Balls Mahoney. Later that night, Van Dam & Sabu won a "Four Way Dance" over Buh-Buh Ray & D'von Dudley, Kronus & New Jack and Tommy Dreamer & the Sandman.
- ECW Cyberslam '98 (February 21) = Van Dam & Sabu were defeated by Bam Bam Bigelow & Shane Douglas.
- ECW Living Dangerously '98 (March 1) = Van Dam pinned Too Cold Scorpio.
- ECW Arena (March 21, '98) = Van Dam fell to Al Snow.
- ECW Arena (April 18, '98) = Van Dam retained the TV Title, beating Bam Bam Bigelow.
- ECW Wrestlepalooza '98 (May 3) = Van Dam, as the TV Champ, fought to a draw with Sabu.
- ECW A Matter of Respect (May 15, '98) = Van Dam & Lance Storm fought to a No-Contest with Chris Candido & Sabu.
- ECW Arena (June 6, '98) = Van Dam & Sabu defeated Shane Douglas & Chris Candido.
- ECW Arena (June 27, '98) = Van Dam & Sabu won the ECW Tag Titles from Chris Candido & Lance Storm.
- ECW Arena (July 18, '98) = Van Dam & Sabu stayed the Tag-Team Champs, defeating Chris Candido & Lance Storm.
- ECW Heat Wave (August 2, '98) = Van Dam & Sabu retained the Tag-Team Titles, beating Hayabusa & Jinsei Shinzaki.
- ECW Arena (August 8, '98) = Van Dam & Sabu fought to a No-Contest with Buh-Buh Ray & D'von Dudley.
- ECW Arena (August 29, '98) = Van Dam & Sabu retained the Tag Titles, beating Buh-Buh Ray & D'von Dudley.
- ECW Arena (September 19, '98) = Van Dam, Masato Tanaka & Sabu fought to a No-Contest with Shane Douglas, Chris Candido & Bam Bam Bigelow.
- ECW Arena (October 10, '98) = Van Dam kept the Television Title, winning over Lance Storm.
- ECW November to Remember (November 1) = Van Dam, Sabu & Taz beat Bam Bam Bigelow, Chris Candido & Shane Douglas.
- ECW Arena (November 21, '98) = Van Dam retained the TV Title, beating Rod Price.
- ECW Arena (December 19, '98) = Van Dam took down Balls Mahoney to stay the TV Champ.
- ECW Guilty As Charged '99 (January 10) = Van Dam defended the TV strap, pinning Lance Storm.
- ECW House Party '99 (January 16) = Van Dam & Sabu retained the Tag-Team Titles, beating Axl Rotten & Balls Mahoney.
- ECW Arena (March 13, '99) = Van Dam & Sabu defeated Buh-Buh Ray & D'von Dudley and Shane Douglas & Tommy Dreamer in a "Three Way Dance" to keep the ECW Tag-Team straps.
- ECW Living Dangerously '99 (March 21) = Van Dam kept the TV Title, beating Jerry Lynn.
- ECW Cyberslam '99 (April 3) = Van Dam defended the TV Title, taking down Too Cold Scorpio.
- ECW Arena (May 8, '99) = Van Dam pinned Skull von Krush to retain the TV Title.
- ECW Hardcore Heaven '99 (May 16) = Van Dam won a "No Time-Limit" match over Jerry Lynn to keep the TV Title.
- ECW Hostile City Showdown '99 (June 26) = Van Dam pinned Balls Mahoney to stay the TV Champion.
- ECW Heat Wave '99 (August 2) = Van Dam & Jerry Lynn defeated Justin Credible & Lance Storm.
- ECW Arena (August 28, '99) = Van Dam fought to a No-Contest with Lance Storm, retaining the TV Title. Later that night, Van Dam again defended the belt, beating Jerry Lynn.
- ECW Arena (August 31, '99) = Van Dam, Buh-Buh Ray & D'von Dudley lost to Justin Credible, Jerry Lynn & the Giant Kimala II.
- ECW Anarchy Rulz '99 (September 19) = Van Dam defended the TV Title, taking down Balls Mahoney.
- ECW Arena (October 23, '99) = Van Dam and Sabu fought to a Draw, with Van Dam keeping the TV strap.
- ECW November to Remember (November 7) = Van Dam took out Taz to retain the TV Title.
- ECW Arena (November 27, '99) = Van Dam stayed the ECW Television Champ, pinning Uganda.
- ECW Guilty As Charged '00 (January 9) = Van Dam defended the TV Title, taking down Sabu.
- ECW Hardcore Heaven '00 (May 14) = Van Dam lost to Jerry Lynn.
- ECW Arena (July 8, '00) = Van Dam took down Balls Mahoney.
- ECW Heat Wave '00 (July 16) = Van Dam pinned Scott Anton.
- ECW Arena (August 20, '00) = Van Dam & Kid Kash beat Justin Credible & Rhyno.
- ECW Tag-Team Title Tournament (August 25, '00) = Van Dam & Kid Kash lost in the first round to Jerry Lynn & Tommy Dreamer. Yoshihiro Tajiri & Mikey Whipwreck won the tournament.
- ECW Anarchy Rulz '00 (October 1) = Van Dam was defeated by the ECW TV Champ, Rhyno.
- ECW Guilty As Charged '01 (January 7) = Van Dam pinned Jerry Lynn.
- WWF Invasion (July '01) = Van Dam won the WWF Hardcore Title from Jeff Hardy.
- WWF Summerslam '01 = RVD defeated Jeff Hardy in a "Ladder" Match to regain the WWF Hardcore Championship.
- WWF Unforgiven '01 = Van Dam retained the Hardcore Title, beating Chris Jericho.
- WWF No Mercy '01 = Van Dam lost a "Triangle" match to the WWF World Champ, Steve Austin. Kurt Angle was the other participant.
- WWF Survivor Series '01 = Van Dam, Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Shane McMahon & Booker T fought in an "Elimination" match against the Rock, Chris Jericho, Kane, the Undertaker & the Big Show. RVD was eliminated by Chris Jericho. The Rock was the sole 'survivor'.
- WWF Vengeance (December '01) = Van Dam lost the Hardcore Title to the Undertaker.
- WWF Royal Rumble '02 = RVD competed in the Royal Rumble, which was won by Hunter Hearst Helmsley.
- WWF No Way Out '02 = Van Dam defeated Goldust.
- WWF Wrestlemania X-8 ('02) = Van Dam beat William Regal to win the WWF Intercontinental Title.
- WWE Backlash '02 = Van Dam lost the Intercontinental Championship to Eddie Guerrero.
- WWE Insurrextion '02 (May 4) = Van Dam won, via DQ, over the IC Champ, Eddie Guerrero.
- WWE Judgment Day '02 = Van Dam was beaten by the IC Champion, Eddie Guerrero.
- WWE King of the Ring '02 = Van Dam won over Chris Jericho, then later lost to Brock Lesnar in the finals of the King of the Ring tournament.
- WWE Vengeance '02 (July) = Van Dam stayed the Intercontinental Champion, winning, via DQ, over Brock Lesnar.
- WWE Summerslam '02 = Van Dam won the Intercontinental Championship from Chris Benoit.
- WWE Unforgiven '02 = Van Dam lost to the WWE Raw World Champ, Hunter Hearst Helmsley.
- WWE No Mercy '02 = Van Dam took down Ric Flair.
- WWE Survivor Series '02 = Van Dam competed in the "Elimination Chamber" Match, which was won by Shawn Michaels, who gained the WWE Raw Heavyweight Title. The other participants were Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Chris Jericho, Booker T & Kane.
- WWE Royal Rumble '03 = Van Dam competed in the Royal Rumble, which was won by Brock Lesnar.
- WWE No Way Out '03 = Van Dam & Kane fell to the WWE Raw Tag Champs, Lance Storm & William Regal.
- WWE Wrestlemania X-9 (March 30, '03) = In a dark match, Van Dam & Kane lost to the WWE Raw Tag Champions, Lance Storm & Sean Morley.
- WWE Backlash '03 = Van Dam & Kane stayed the WWE Raw Tag-Team Champs, beating the Dudley Boyz. Chief Morley was the special referee.
- WWE Judgment Day '03 = Van Dam competed in the "Intercontinental Title Battle Royal", which was won by Christian.
- WWE Insurrextion '03 (June 7) = Van Dam & Kane stayed the Raw Tag Champs, winning over La Resistance.
- WWE Bad Blood (June 15, '03) = Van Dam & Kane lost the Raw Tag Titles to La Resistance.
- WWE Summerslam '03 = Van Dam was beaten by Kane.
- WWE Unforgiven '03 (September 21) = Van Dam lost a "Triple Threat" Match to the Intercontinental Champ, Christian. Chris Jericho was the other participant.
- WWE Survivor Series '03 = Van Dam, Shawn Michaels, Booker T & the Dudley Boyz fought in an "Elimination" Match against Chris Jericho, Scott Steiner, Randy Orton, Mark Henry & Christian. Van Dam was eliminated by Orton, who was the sole 'survivor'.
- WWE Armageddon '03 = Van Dam lost the Intercontinental Title to Randy Orton.
- WWE Royal Rumble '04 (January 25) = RVD competed in the Royal Rumble, which was won by Chris Benoit.
- WWE Wrestlemania XX (March 14, '04) = Van Dam & Booker T stayed the WWE Raw Tag Champs, winning a "Fatal Fourway" Match over Mark Jindark & Garrison Cade, La Resistance and the Dudley Boyz.
- WWE Judgment Day '04 (May 16) = Van Dam & Rey Mysterio defeated the Dudley Boyz.
- WWE Great American Bash '04 (June 27) = Van Dam lost an "Elimination" Match to the US Champion, John Cena. Rene Dupree and Booker T were the other participants.
- WWE Summerslam '04 (August 15) = In a dark match, Van Dam beat Rene Dupree.
- WWE No Mercy '04 (October 3) = Van Dam & Rey Mysterio Jr lost to the Smackdown Tag Champs, Rene Dupree & Kenzo Suzuki.
- WWE Survivor Series '04 (November 14, '04) = Van Dam, the Big Show, Eddie Guerrero, & John Cena fought in an "Elimination" Match against Kurt Angle, Luther Reigns, Mark Jindrak, & Carltio Caribbean Cool. Van Dam was eliminated by Angle. The Big Show, Guerrero, & Cena 'survived'.
- WWE Armageddon '04 (December 12, '04) = Van Dam & Rey Mysterio Jr stayed the WWE Smackdown Tag Champs, beating Rene Dupree & Kenzo Suzuki.
- WWE Royal Rumble '06 (January 29) = Van Dam competed in the Royal Rumble, which was won by Rey Mysterio.
- WWE Road To Wrestlemania Tournament (February '06) = Van Dam defeated Carlito and Chris Masters, then lost in the finals in a "Triple Threat" Match to Triple H. The Big Show was the other participant.
- WWE Wrestlemania 22 (April 2, '06) = Van Dam won the "Money In The Bank Ladder" Match, earning a WWE Title shot. Matt Hardy, Ric Flair, Shelton Benjamin, Bobby Lashley, and Finlay were the other participants.
- WWE Backlash '06 (April 30) = Van Dam won the Intercontinental Heavyweight Title from Shelton Benjamin. RVD's Money In The Bank Contract was also on the line.
- WWE vs. ECW (June 7, '06) = Van Dam won a "Non-Title" Match over the WWE World Champion, Rey Mysterio.
- ECW One Night Stand II (June 11th, '06) = Van Dam won the WWE Raw Heavyweight Championship, defeating John Cena.
- WWE Vengeance '06 (June 25) = Van Dam retained the WWE Raw Heavyweight Title, winning over Edge.
- DSW Six Flags Park Slam (August 11, '06) = RVD lost to the ECW World Heavyweight Champion, the Big Show.
- WWE Raw Family Reunion (October 9, '06) = Van Dam lost to the WWE Smackdown World Champion, King Booker.
- WWE Survivor Series '06 (November 26) = Van Dam, John Cena, Kane, Bobby Lashley, & Sabu competed in an "Elimination" Match against the Big Show, Finlay, MVP, Test, & Umaga. RVD was eliminated by Test. Cena & Lashley were the sole 'survivors'.
- ECW December To Dismember '06 (December 3) = RVD lost an "Extreme Elimination Chamber" Match to Bobby Lashley, who won the ECW World Title. The Big Show, Hardcore Holly, CM Punk, and Test were the other participants.
- WWE Royal Rumble '07 (January 28) = Van Dam competed in the Royal Rumble Match, which was won by the Undertaker.
- WWE No Way Out '07 (February 18) = In a dark match, Van Dam pinned Shelton Benjamin.
- WWE Wrestlemania 23 (April 1, '07) = The ECW Originals (Van Dam, Tommy Dreamer, Sabu, & the Sandman) defeated the New Breed (Elijah Burke, Marcus Cor Van, Matt Striker, & Kevin Thorn).
- WWE One Night Stand '07 (June 3) = Van Dam won a "Stretcher" Match over Randy Orton.
- WWE Royal Rumble '09 (January 25) = Van Dam competed in the "Royal Rumble" Match, which was won by Randy Orton.
- PWG Kurt Russell Reunion (January 30, '10) = Van Dam won a "Three-Way" Match over Chris Hero and Roderick Strong.
- TNA Lockdown '10 (April 19) = Van Dam won a "Steel Cage" Match over James Storm. Later on, Team Hogan (Van Dam, Jeff Hardy, Jeff Jarrett, & Abyss) won a "Lethal Lockdown" Match over Team Flair (Desmond Wolfe, Sting, & Beer Money).
- TNA Sacrifice '10 (May 16) = Van Dam retained the TNA World Title, defeating AJ Styles.
- TNA Slammiversary VIII (June 13, '10) = Van Dam stayed the TNA World Champion, beating Sting.
- TNA Victory Road '10 (July 11) = Van Dam kept the TNA World Title, winning a "Four Way" Match over Jeff Hardy, Mr. Anderson, and Abyss.
- TNA Hardcore Justice (August 8, '10) = Van Dam won a "Hardcore Rules" Match over Sabu.
- TNA Bound For Glory '10 (October 10) = Van Dam won a "Monster's Ball" Match over Abyss.
- TNA Turning Point '10 (November 7) = Van Dam defeated Tommy Dreamer.
- TNA Final Resolution '10 (December 5) = Van Dam won a "First Blood" Match over Rhino.
- TNA Genesis ’11 (January 9) = Van Dam fell to Matt Hardy.
- TNA Against All Odds ’11 (February 13) = Van Dam beat Matt Hardy.
- TNA Victory Road ’11 (March 13) = Van Dam fought to a No-Contest with Mr. Anderson.
- TNA Lockdown ’11 (April 17) = Van Dam lost a "Three Way Steel Cage" Match to the TNA World Heavyweight Champion, Sting. Mr. Anderson was the other participant.
- TNA Sacrifice ’11 (May 15) = Van Dam lost to the TNA World Heavyweight Champion, Sting.
- TNA Bound For Glory Series Tournament ’11 (June/September) = Van Dam competed in the League, which was won by Bobby Roode.
- TNA Destination X ’11 (July 10) = Van Dam defeated Jerry Lynn.
- TNA Hardcore Justice ’11 (August 7) = Van Dam lost a "Bound For Glory Series" Match, via DQ, to Crimson.
- TNA Bound For Glory ’11 (October 16) = Van Dam won a "Full Metal Mayhem" Match over Jerry Lynn.
- TNA Turning Point ’11 (November 13) = Van Dam won a "No Disqualification" Match over Christopher Daniels.
- TNA Final Resolution ’11 (December 11) = Van Dam took down Christopher Daniels.
- TNA Genesis '12 (January 8, '12) = Van Dam fell to Gunner.
- TNA Lockdown '12 (April 15) = Team Garett (Van Dam, Garett Bischoff, Mr. Anderson, Austin Aries, & AJ Styles) won a "Lethal Lockdown" Match over Team Eric Bischoff (Eric Bischoff, Bully Ray, Christopher Daniels, Gunner, & Kazarian). Due to the loss, Eric Bischoff lost his job in TNA. Garett's job was also on the line.
- TNA Sacrifice '12 (May 13) = Vam Dan lost a "Ladder" Match to the TNA World Champion, Bobby Roode.
- TNA Slammiversary '12 (June 10) = Van Dam lost a "TNA World Title #1 Contenders Triangle" Match to Mr. Anderson. Jeff Hardy was the other participant.
- TNA Hardcore Justice '12 (August 12) = Van Dam won a "Falls Count Anywhere" Match over Mr. Anderson, Pope D'Angelo Dinero, and Magnus.
- TNA No Surrender '12 (September 9) = Van Dam defeated Magnus.
- TNA Bound For Glory '12 (October 14) = Van Dam won the TNA X Division Title, beating Zema Ion.
- TNA Turning Point '12 (November 11) = Van Dam retained the TNA X Division Title, pinning Joey Ryan.
- TNA Final Resolution '12 (December 9) = Van Dam stayed the TNA X Division Champion, defeating Kenny King.
- TNA Genesis '13 (January 13) = Van Dam kept the TNA X Division Title, taking down Christian York.
- SAPW Tag-Team Champion w/ Chaz Rocco (7/23/1992 - 1992)
- IWF Television Champion (1992)
- ASW North American Heavyweight Champion (3/26/1994 - 1994)
- PSW Cordele City Champion (3/10/1995 - 1995)
- NWC Tag-Team Champion w/ Bobby Bradley (8/25/1995 - 9/1998)
- ECW Television Champion (4/04/1998 - 3/04/2000)
- ECW World Tag-Team Champion w/ Sabu (6/27/1998 - 10/24/1998)
- ECW World Tag-Team Champion(2) w/ Sabu (12/13/1998 - 4/17/1999)
- WWF Hardcore Champion (7/22/2001 - 8/13/2001)
- WWF Hardcore Champion(2) (8/19/2001 - 9/10/2001)
- WWF Hardcore Champion(3) (9/10/2001 - 12/09/2002)
- WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion (3/17/2002 - 4/21/2002)
- WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion(2) (5/27/2002 - 7/29/2002)
- WWE European Heavyweight Champion (7/22/2002 - 7/29/2002)
- WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion(3) (8/25/2002 - 9/16/2002)
- WWE Hardcore Champion(4) (8/26/2002)
- WWE "Raw" World Tag-Team Champion w/ Kane (3/31/2003 - 6/15/2003)
- WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion(4) (9/29/2003 - 10/27/2003)
- WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion(5) (10/27/2003 - 12/14/2003)
- WWE Raw World Tag-Team Champion(2) w/ Booker T (2/16/2004 - 3/22/2004)
- WWE Smackdown World Tag-Team Champion w/ Rey Mysterio (12/07/2004 - 1/11/2005)
- WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion(6) (4/30/2006 - 5/15/2006)
- WWE Raw World Heavyweight Champion (6/11/2006 - 7/03/2006)
- ECW World Heavyweight Champion (6/13/2006 - 7/04/2006)
- AWR No Limits Champion (3/18/2009 - 3/24/2009)
- AWR Heavyweight Champion (11/24/2009 - 12/09/2009)
- TNA World Heavyweight Champion (4/19/2010 - 8/10/2010)
- TNA X Division Champion (10/14/2012 - 2/28/2013)
PWI Achievement Awards: (4 wins, 5 1st RUs, 4 2nd RUs, 4 3rd RUs)
- 1996 Match of the Year, 2nd Runner-Up (Van Dam vs. Sabu
- 1998 Tag-Team of the Year, 1st Runner-Up (Van Dam & Sabu)
- 1999 Feud of the Year, 2nd Runner-Up (Van Dam vs. Jerry Lynn)
- 1999 Match of the Year, 1st Runner-Up (Van Dam vs. Jerry Lynn)
- 2000 Most Popular Wrestler, 1st Runner-Up
- 2001 Comeback of the Year
- 2001 Most Popular Wrestler
- 2001 Match of the Year, 3rd Runner-Up (Van Dam vs. Jeff Hardy)
- 2001 Wrestler of the Year, 3rd Runner-Up
- 2002 Wrestler of the Year, 1st Runner-Up
- 2002 Match of the Year, 3rd Runner-Up (Van Dam vs. Eddie Guerrero)
- 2002 Most Popular Wrestler
- 2003 Most Popular Wrestler, 2nd Runner-Up
- 2010 Wrestler of the Year, 1st Runner-Up
- 2010 Most Popular Wrestler, 2nd Runner-Up
- 2010 Most Inspirational Wrestler, 3rd Runner-Up
- 2010 Comeback of the Year