RVD was this week’s guest on “The Apter Chat”. During the interview, he discussed his thoughts on Paul Heyman and the early days of ECW, his reputation for hurting other wrestlers, and whether he’d be interested in working with AEW. Here are the highlights:
On The Worst Injury He Ever Had:
My worst injury out of my career would have been my knee, which would have been in WWE. In ECW, I broke my ankle. [It’s] not that bad of an injury, but it puts you out. It put me out for 90 days or something, but comparatively speaking it’s not that bad because I had to get surgery on my knee. My ACL was completely separated. I needed a new ACL put in and had a meniscus tear, as well. That was sewn back together. It was the only surgery I had and that goes down as my worst. I was out for 12 months, but I really wanted to rest because I know a lot of my peers go back too early and then they got to keep getting surgeries. I don’t want to drop names, but I know a lot of guys where that happened, so I really wanted to stay out because I do a lot of jumps and stuff. I’m glad I did because when I did go back I forgot about that knee even being a bad knee for most of the time.
On His Reputation For Hurting Other Wrestlers:
There’s been plenty of times when I’ve hurt other wrestlers. I feel like that probably will go down as part of my legacy backstage. I’m not proud about hurting anybody, but it literally is the way I got trained.
I asked Sabu one time – and Sheikh wasn’t there for whatever reason – I was already a martial artist in kickboxing at that time. I said, ‘I’d like to do this move where I do a springboard off the second rope. I probably didn’t know it was called a springboard, but anyways it’s the one where I do the back jump out of the corner and I kick the guy in the face. I was telling Sabu that I think that would be a cool move. He goes, ‘OK, try it.’ I said, ‘I know how to kick you really hard and knock you out. Is there a trick or something? Do I aim somewhere else.’ He says, ‘Just do it and try not to break my jaw.’ I was like, ‘I don’t know. I don’t feel that comfortable.’ He goes, ‘You’re good. You got good control. If you do break my jaw, when it heals, we’ll try it again.’ I was like, ‘OK.’ I bounced off the rope – WAM! I broke his jaw. He’s eating through a straw for the next maybe 6 weeks and afterwards he got into the ring just like he said and said, ‘Do it again. Just try to pull it back some.’
With that very same kick, I knocked Abyss’ teeth out in TNA, which is one of the injuries and there’s plenty. I can’t start listing them because I’ll definitely leave people out.
On Paul Heyman, Sabu & Early Days Of ECW:
I didn’t know him [Paul Heyman] before I went up there. Sabu had been working for him for some time and had been trying to get me booked up there. I didn’t really care. All Japan was my bread and butter. I made so much more money there than I could have made in indies over here. I was picking and choosing my dates already even though I was that early in my career.
Sabu kept saying, ‘Did Paul call you?’ I was like, ‘No.’ ‘He didn’t call you? He was supposed to call you? That motherf’er. Let me call you back.’ And I would just kind of brush it off.
Finally, when he did call me, we didn’t come to terms. He wanted me to go up there and work with Mikey Whipwreck and I didn’t like what he had in mind. I guess he just wanted to look at me. I’m like, ‘No, I think I’m good.’ We didn’t agree on the money or putting Mike over.
Anyway, I ended up going back eventually and I met Paul then. I wrestled Axl Rotten in my ECW debut match and I adapted to it pretty well, but at first it was definitely different than anything I’d been around because I was coming from Georgia where you smile and show your dimples, ‘USA! USA! USA!’
It was a totally different style, but I just listened to Sabu. He was my mentor and at that time I would have done anything that he said. If he said, ‘That guy sucks. Go kick his ass,’ I would just listen to it at that time. We had our cliques. It was a little clique-ish, but I can see where it all came down from Paul. He was the head of it because he was the leader of extreme and I would understand that right away. He would give these meetings and speeches before we’d go out there that would fire everybody up and we’d learn a lot about him there….he was very encouraging in the right way in making everybody feel like he saw the best in them. It was awesome.
On Appearing In A Segment With Ted Dibiase As A Teenager:
That was just a freak thing. I was just a fan in the crowd, like 15-16 years old. It was a non-televised show….and they were doing a televised segment. I knew Ted DiBiase was there filming and I knew it was gonna make it on TV, so we were excited about that. Me & my buddy….we rushed out to the gate in the front row. He was looking for a volunteer and as soon as he pointed in my direction, I just jumped over the gate and just ran in. I was so excited. I was so excited I forgot to negotiate. That was the whole gimmick. He offered me $100 to kiss his foot and I’d seen the TV show. I could have said no until he got up to $500, but I was so excited, I sucked his toes. I gave him a boot shine. I started taking Virgil’s boot off. He said, ‘Get out of here, kid.’ It was my first WWF money. It was $100. I probably blew it on comic books.
On If He’d Be Interested In Working For AEW:
Actually in the beginning of 2018, a bunch of had this deal signed with this company in the UK called Five Star Wrestling. Their plans were to do 30 weeks in a row every Thursday. At first, I thought, ‘Is that what I want?’ But, the money was good. The business end was such that they were really taking care of us. At first, I wanted half the dates, but four weeks into it, I saw it growing and I was starting to have fun again. I got so much respect there. They were looking at me like I was a legend. I would never get looked at like that with certain companies. Me and Rey Mysterio were tagging again. It was fun. Anyway, I said, ‘I’m going to go ahead and pick up the other dates.’ I was selling my house anyway, so I was thinking, ‘I’ll just live over there.’ It will be cheaper than flying me back and forth first class over the ocean. I started to get optimistic and BOOM they folded after the fifth show. I was a little bummed. With very few exceptions in the last 20 years or so, I haven’t really been looking for anything. I kind of just consider opportunities and money talks. I would consider anything for the money.
Absolutely [I would entertain an offer from AEW], but a lot of people’s idea of good money and my idea of good money are different. Jericho knows, but I’m happy he’s able to get a deal and not be stressed out over time, so it’s a bigger deal with less work. We all have our own values and that goes anywhere. When it comes to that and I said I would still wrestle, I’m not priced to wrestle every week and move like the other guys that want to work every week. I’m priced pretty far above market where not that many people in a year can reach that price tag and that’s by science and that’s where I’m happy being. You know what I mean? Having said that, for the right amount of money, I’d pick up more matches, sure. I’m all about business. It’s not in my plans, but having said that, I’d consider anything for the right money.
You can listen to the full episode of “The Apter Chat” below:
Credit: The Apter Chat. H/T Wrestlezone.