In the high-stakes, high-impact world of professional wrestling, the risks of injury loom large, a reality WWE Hall of Famer Rob Van Dam knows all too well. The iconic wrestler, often hailed for his resilience and agility in the ring, recently opened up on an episode of "1 Of A Kind" about the pivotal moments in his career that reshaped his understanding of his own vulnerability.
Reflecting on a defining incident in 2000, Van Dam recounted the sobering experience of breaking his ankle, a mishap that forced him to relinquish the ECW World Television Championship. “That was a real eye-opener for me,” Van Dam admitted.
“I had always carried this belief of being indestructible, but that injury not only hurt physically but also dented my ego. It was a humbling moment, to say the least”. This injury also underscored the importance of his pre-match rituals, particularly stretching.
Van Dam vividly remembers rushing and skipping his usual warm-up routine on the night of the accident, a decision he now views as a critical mistake.
RVD ACL Ordeal
However, the trials for Van Dam didn't end there. “Another tough period was when I tore my ACL while in WWE,” he continued.
This injury, sustained around 2001, plagued him for nearly four years, casting a shadow over his performances. “What the fans didn't see was the constant pain I was in during those years. Every match was a battle, not just against my opponent but against my own body,” Van Dam revealed.
Despite the excruciating pain, RVD chose to soldier on, motivated by a desire to not disappoint the company and its head, Vince McMahon. He feared being labeled as injury-prone due to his high-flying, risk-taking wrestling style.
This drive to defy expectations, however, came at a cost. In early 2005, Van Dam's ACL injury reached a breaking point, causing him to collapse in the ring and miss WWE WrestleMania. In a surprising twist, Van Dam recalls his recovery period with a sense of relief.
“I was so burned out at that point; the time off felt like a blessing,” he confessed. This period of recuperation offered him not only physical healing but also a much-needed mental break from the relentless demands of professional wrestling.
Van Dam's candid revelations offer a rare glimpse into the often unseen struggles of pro wrestlers, illuminating the physical and mental toll the sport can take on even its most celebrated stars.