In a recent episode of his "1 of A Kind" podcast, wrestling icon Rob Van Dam offered a unique perspective on one of The Undertaker's most talked-about personas: "The American Badass." Van Dam, known as "The Whole F'n Show," recounted his experiences and thoughts from the 2000's Judgment Day pay-per-view, a pivotal event that marked the debut of The Undertaker's new biker gimmick.
Van Dam expressed a sense of ambivalence towards this iteration of The Undertaker, a feeling that persisted even as their paths crossed in the memorable Alliance vs. Team WWF storyline in 2001. "I felt indifferent," RVD candidly shared, reflecting on his mindset at the time, which was more focused on his personal career trajectory and the intricacies of navigating wrestling politics.
Despite WWE's effort to build anticipation for "The American Badass" through a series of vignettes, Van Dam maintains that this drastic transformation of The Undertaker's character didn't quite resonate with him. He humorously remarked, "When he was a biker, was he not a dead guy? Ok, so he was not a dead biker? I never actually thought about how drastic of a character change...
I thought it was just a different side to him. Like, this is Undertaker on Halloween!"
RVD Praises Kane Saga
Van Dam contrasted his views on "The American Badass" with his appreciation for the well-executed Kane saga that began in mid-1997, highlighting WWE's storytelling prowess.
The Kane saga, involving The Undertaker's mysterious and menacing brother, remains a high point in wrestling narrative for its intricate plot and compelling character development. Looking back, RVD's reflections offer a glimpse into the complexities of character evolution in professional wrestling and the varied reactions they can elicit from both fans and fellow wrestlers.
His perspective sheds light on the challenges wrestlers face in adapting to and understanding such significant shifts in their colleagues' in-ring personas. This insight into the wrestling world not only captivates long-time fans but also provides intriguing context for newcomers to the sport, illustrating the dynamic nature of its storytelling.