Rob Van Dam, a prominent figure in the '90s extreme wrestling scene of ECW, recently expressed his feelings about the WWE Hardcore Championship division, deeming it a personal insult. During a recent episode of the "One of A Kind" podcast, Van Dam shared his perspective on how WWE's approach to the Hardcore title seemed like mockery compared to the innovative and edgy art form they had pioneered in ECW.
According to Van Dam, ECW had revolutionized wrestling by introducing violent and high-impact action, making it appealing not only to hardcore wrestling enthusiasts but also to a broader audience. He believed that this unique art form made wrestling cool to even those who were not traditional wrestling fans.
However, upon observing the WWE Hardcore title matches on "Monday Night Raw" and elsewhere, Van Dam felt that WWE treated the division as a joke.
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Van Dam specifically mentioned the late Crash Holly, whose unfortunate passing was lamented, but he couldn't help but perceive the Hardcore matches as a spectacle meant for laughter rather than admiration.
The Hardcore division's penchant for chaos and comedic elements clashed with the serious and groundbreaking style of ECW, leading Van Dam to feel that WWE was belittling the legacy they had worked so hard to create. Upon joining WWE, Van Dam found himself thrust into the Hardcore Championship scene, despite his reservations about it.
Nevertheless, he took it upon himself to elevate the title's significance and tried to bring the same passion and intensity that defined ECW to his matches. His dedication and prowess eventually led to the WWE retiring the Hardcore Championship in 2002, as it was unified with the Intercontinental Championship.
Despite moving on from WWE, Van Dam has remained connected to his extreme wrestling roots. Recently, he made his debut in AEW on "AEW Dynamite" at the request of his old ECW friend and rival, Jerry Lynn. In his first appearance, he challenged "Jungle" Jack Perry for the FTW Championship, a title that originated in ECW.
This exciting match is scheduled to take place on the next edition of "Dynamite," promising a nostalgic throwback for fans and a display of Van Dam's enduring passion for pushing the boundaries of wrestling entertainment.
As Rob Van Dam continues to leave his mark on the wrestling world, both his legacy in ECW and his contributions to the WWE Hardcore Championship division remain essential chapters in the evolution of extreme wrestling in mainstream entertainment.
Whether in the past or the present, Rob Van Dam's impact on the industry is undeniable, and his authenticity as a wrestler continues to captivate audiences worldwide.
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