In a recent episode of "1 of a Kind," WWE Hall of Famer Rob Van Dam shed light on his experiences under the leadership of Bill Watts and Ole Anderson during his stint in World Championship Wrestling (WCW). Known for his high-flying style and charismatic persona, Van Dam's journey in WCW was marked by significant challenges and administrative changes that impacted his career trajectory.
Van Dam, who joined WCW under Bill Watts' tenure, faced an immediate hurdle when Watts insisted on changing his ring name to Robbie V. This move, intended to avoid confusion with actor Jean-Claude Van Damme, was met with reluctance by Van Dam.
He was beginning to build momentum under his original moniker, but Watts' decision was final, leading Van Dam to adapt reluctantly. Despite the initial friction, Van Dam noted a certain level of support from Watts, a stark contrast to his experience under Ole Anderson's management.
Following Watts' departure in early 1993 and Anderson's subsequent takeover, Van Dam felt a noticeable shift in his standing within the company. His rapport with Anderson was not as favorable, contributing significantly to his decision to leave WCW in May 1993.
He expressed that the working conditions and opportunities he found outside of WCW were more conducive to his growth as a professional wrestler.
Van Dam's WCW Underuse
One of the key issues Van Dam faced in WCW was his underutilization during Anderson's regime.
He found himself frequently relegated to dark matches and tryout bouts, roles that did not align with his aspirations or showcase his talents effectively. Moreover, the compensation for these limited appearances did not justify the efforts, prompting Van Dam to seek better opportunities elsewhere.
Reflecting on Watts' controversial policies, Van Dam highlighted one particular rule that banned top-rope maneuvers. Watts believed these moves had become overused and lost their significance. This policy posed a dilemma for Van Dam, known for his acrobatic and aerial wrestling style.
Interestingly, despite the general prohibition, Watts made an exception, allowing Van Dam to perform his signature split-legged moonsault. This allowance, amidst the restrictive environment, showcased Van Dam's unique skill set and the respect he commanded for his in-ring abilities.
Van Dam's candid revelations offer a glimpse into the complex dynamics and challenges wrestlers face within the industry, highlighting the impact of management styles on their careers. His journey through these administrative shifts in WCW underscores the resilience and adaptability required in professional wrestling.