Rob Van Dam Looks Back On Pivotal Career Moments, Pitting ‘Passion vs. Opposition’ Against John Cena

The Watch List takes a look at what matches you should be watching while you’re at home and they come recommended by your favorite professional wrestling stars.

WrestleZone recently spoke with Rob Van Dam, who called back to some top matches that really stand out as pivotal in his career. RVD first picked a match from his All Japan Pro Wrestling tour in 1995 and described how it really changed him as a performer.

“Rob Van Dam versus Danny Kroffat at the Budokan in Tokyo because that was the first match for me that started me on a whole new level. It was my first singles match at Budokan, which was the really big show at the end of the tour back then and they were giving me a chance, it was a shot at the Intercontinental title. For me, it was a really big deal and Kroffat was so good, and he told me, ‘Kid, I’m going to make you look like a million bucks!’ Listening to him and having him pull me through that experience—I think before that I was just doing moves and I didn’t really know where to place them. The way that the audience reacted and the applause going from louder to louder to louder to a big ‘OOOOOH!’ There’s 17,000 fans clapping with their feet in the stands [stomping the floor] and I learned so much in that one match. The storytelling and what you’re doing with your emotions, the whole reason to even be out there in front of the crowd.

RVD jumped ahead in time a bit and said his Television Championship win (a reign that lasted a record 700 days) over Bam Bam Bigelow was a great match, and you could pick any of his matches with Jerry Lynn and Sabu because they represented him well. Arguably RVD’s biggest moment came at ECW One Night Stand under the WWE banner, when he defeated John Cena for the WWE title in a very hostile environment at the Hammerstein Ballroom. Van Dam says that wasn’t just a regular title match, and it represented a fight between different wrestling cultures and the fans who had his back.

“RVD versus Bam Bam Bigelow when I won the TV title, excellent match. And after that, if you—and of course you will love ECW—if this is your first exposure to it, check out any RVD versus Jerry Lynn match. RVD versus Sabu, all of those matches are very representative of my artistic styles.

“Watch those, and then the crowning moment with RVD versus John Cena at ECW One Night Stand, that one pretty much says it all. If you think about it, I was fighting for everything I stood for in my career up to that point because it wasn’t exactly what WWE was about. John Cena was what WWE was about, so it wasn’t just ‘a match’ where I’d be crowned Heavyweight Champion. It was me fighting for everything that me and all of the fans that were like-minded stood for and preferred. It was our passion versus the opposition, so that of course was a once in a lifetime experience.”

We added some of RVD’s match recommendations to the list; our full interview with him will be released soon.

Danny Kroffat (c) vs. Rob Van Dam

AJPW Super Power Series — June 9, 1995

Rob Van Dam vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (ECW World Television Title) 

ECW Hardcore TV #259 — April 4, 1998

Rob Van Dam vs. Jerry Lynn 

ECW Hardcore Heaven — May 16, 1999

Rob Van Dam vs. Sabu 

ECW Guilty As Charged — January 9, 2000

Rob Van Dam vs. John Cena 

ECW One Night Stand — June 11, 2006

WATCH More: FTR Pick The Classic Matches That ‘Define’ Tag Team Wrestling, Recall Their Feud With American Alpha

You can also check out some other free-to-watch matches featuring some of the opponents RVD named below: