Profile:
  • Name: Rob Van Dam
  • Real Name: Rob Szaktowski
  • Date of Birth: December 18, 1970
  • Hometown: Battle Creek, Michigan, United States of America
  • Height: 6'0
  • Weight: 237 pounds
  • ECW Debut: January 23, 1996
  • Nicknames: "The Whole Dam Show", "Mr. Pay-Per-View"
  • Finishers: Five-Star Frog Splash, Van Daminator
  • Career Highlights: 1-time ECW Television Champion, 2-time ECW Tag Team Champion (with Sabu)
Biography:
Rob Van Dam is one of the best wrestlers who have ever competed in the hardcore Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW). Making his entry in ECW in 1996, RVD never won the ECW World Heavyweight Championship but emerged as one of the top main eventers of the company and engaged in battles with some of the best competitors of his time. He became the longest reigning ECW Television Champion with a reign of 700 days and never lost the title but was forced to vacate it due to injury and has formed a highly successful partnership with Sabu after a long running rivalry.

Extreme Championship Wrestling (1996 - 2001)
Rob Van Dam competed in the American independent circuit and All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) throughout the early 1990s. His career even included a forgettable tenure in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) as Robbie V. In 1996, RVD got his breakthrough by joining Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW). At House Party, RVD debuted in ECW as a heel. He defeated Axl Rotten in his first ECW match that aired on January 23 edition of Hardcore TV.

RVD started to elevate his status by engaging in matches with former world champions. At Hostile City Showdown, RVD lost to Sabu in a No Time Limit match. After the match, RVD refused to shake hands with Sabu and began feuding with Sabu. At A Matter of Respect, RVD defeated Sabu in a rematch. At Fight the Power, RVD defeated Mikey Whipwreck with the match airing on June 10 edition of Hardcore TV. At Hardcore Heaven, RVD lost to Sabu with the match airing on July 9 edition of Hardcore TV. Sabu and RVD were injured during the match, culminating in a Stretcher match between the two at The Doctor is In.

At Natural Born Killaz, RVD defeated Doug Furnas with the match airing on August 23 edition of Hardcore TV. RVD turned babyface as he ended his rivalry with Sabu and formed a tag team to feud with Doug Furnas and Dan Kroffat. At Unlucky Lottery, RVD competed against Sabu in a losing effort. Sabu and RVD defeated Doug Furnas and Dan Kroffat in tag team matches at When Worlds Collide II and High Incident.

Sabu and RVD began their next rivalry against The Eliminators. At November to Remember, Sabu and RVD competed against Eliminators to a draw. Later that night, Sabu and RVD competed against The Gangstas and The Eliminators in a Three Way Dance. Gangstas won the match. At Holiday Hell, RVD lost to Taz with the match airing on December 24 edition of Hardcore TV.

Entering 1997, RVD defeated Mikey Whipwreck at Winter Blowout. The following night, at Crossing the Line Again, Sabu and RVD unsuccessfully challenged The Eliminators for the ECW Tag Team Championship. At CyberSlam on February 21, Sabu and RVD competed against Eliminators in a rematch for the championship. Eliminators defeated Sabu and RVD to retain the championship. At CyberSlam on February 22, Sabu and RVD unsuccessfully challenged Eliminators for the championship in a Tables and Ladders match.

At Mountain Top Madness, RVD defeated Spike Dudley. At Hostile City Showdown, RVD competed against Taz in a losing effort. At ECW's first pay-per-view event Barely Legal, RVD replaced Chris Candido and defeated Lance Storm. After the match, RVD turned heel by refusing to shake hands with Storm and threatening to jump ship to World Championship Wrestling (WCW). RVD began considering himself to be superior to the ECW roster and claimed that he deserved to compete in the Big Two companies, the WCW and World Wrestling Federation (WWF).

At Chapter 2, Sabu and RVD competed against Taz and Chris Candido in a losing effort in a tag team match, with the match airing on May 15 edition of Hardcore TV. RVD betrayed ECW by jumping ship to WWF. On June 12 edition of Hardcore TV, RVD returned to ECW with new ally Jerry Lawler from WWF and tag team partner Sabu. He attacked Tommy Dreamer and several ECW wrestlers after Dreamer's match against Raven. As a result, RVD began feuding with Dreamer, as Dreamer confronted RVD on betraying ECW. RVD appointed Bill Alfonso as his manager, who was already serving as the manager of RVD's tag team partner Sabu.

At Orgy of Violence, Sabu and RVD defeated Sandman and Tommy Dreamer in a tag team match, with the match airing on July 3 edition of Hardcore TV. At Heat Wave, Sabu, RVD and Jerry Lawler competed against Sandman, Tommy Dreamer and Rick Rude in a six-man tag team match that ended in a no contest, with the match airing on July 24 edition of Hardcore TV. At Born to be Wired, RVD defeated Dreamer, with the match airing on August 21 edition of Hardcore TV. At Hardcore Heaven, RVD defeated Al Snow in a Monday Night Rules match.

At As Good as it Gets, RVD and Bill Alfonso lost to Tommy Dreamer and Beulah McGillicutty in a mixed tag team match, with the match airing on October 10 edition of Hardcore TV. At Fright Fight, RVD lost to Dreamer in a Flag match. At Ultimate Jeopardy, Sabu and RVD lost to Taz and Tommy Dreamer in a tag team match. At November to Remember, RVD fought Dreamer to a no-contest in a Flag match when Stevie Richards, Doug Furnas and Phil LaFon interfered to assist RVD. The match stipulated that Dreamer would raise the flag of ECW if he won and RVD would raise the flag of WWF if he won. At Better Than Ever, Sabu and RVD defeated Taz and Tommy Dreamer in a tag team match to end the rivalry.

In 1998, RVD turned babyface as he began a rivalry with Triple Threat faction. At House Party, RVD defeated Triple Threat member Bam Bam Bigelow to earn an upset victory. At Hostile City Showdown, Sabu and RVD defeated Dudley Boyz, The Gangstanators and Sandman and Tommy Dreamer in a Four Way Dance. At CyberSlam, Sabu and RVD lost to Triple Threat members Shane Douglas and Bam Bam Bigelow. At Living Dangerously, RVD defeated 2 Cold Scorpio.

At April 4 house show, RVD tasted his first championship gold in the Land of the Extreme by defeating Bam Bam Bigelow to win the ECW Television Championship after Sabu attacked Bigelow with a fork. At Wrestlepalooza, RVD defended the championship against Sabu. The match ended in a draw. As a result, RVD retained the championship.

At A Matter of Respect, RVD and Lance Storm competed against Chris Candido and Sabu to a no contest in a tag team match when RVD and Sabu began fighting Storm and Candido, with the match airing on May 27 edition of Hardcore TV. As a result, RVD and Sabu began feuding with Storm and Candido. At June 27 house show, RVD and Sabu defeated Chris Candido and Lance Storm to win the ECW Tag Team Championship. As a result, RVD became a double champion and his success and popularity continued to increase.

At Heat Wave, RVD and Sabu successfully defended the ECW Tag Team Championship against Hayabusa and Jinsei Shinzaki. On October 30 (taped October 24) edition of Hardcore TV, RVD and Sabu lost the championship to Dudley Boyz after Triple Threat attacked Sabu. RVD and Sabu's reign ended at 119 days. As a result, RVD and Sabu formed an alliance with Taz and began feuding with Triple Threat. At November to Remember, RVD, Sabu and Taz defeated Triple Threat in a six-man tag team match.

On December 17 (taped December 13) edition of Hardcore TV, RVD and Sabu defeated Dudley Boyz to win their second ECW Tag Team Championship. Entering 1999, RVD successfully defended the ECW Television Championship against Lance Storm at Guilty as Charged. At House Party, RVD and Sabu successfully defended the ECW Tag Team Championship against Balls Mahoney and Axl Rotten, with the match airing on January 28 edition of Hardcore TV.

RVD successfully defended the ECW Television Championship against Jerry Lynn at Crossing the Line. As a result, RVD began a rivalry with Lynn. At Living Dangerously, RVD retained the championship against Lynn in a rematch because the match ended in a twenty-minute time limit but both wrestlers agreed for 5 more minutes. RVD defeated Lynn to retain the championship. At Cyberslam, RVD successfully defended the championship against 2 Cold Scorpio, with assistance by Bill Alfonso, with the match airing on April 8 edition of Hardcore TV.

Three weeks later, on April 22 (taped April 17) edition of Hardcore TV, RVD defended the ECW Tag Team Championship against D-Von Dudley because Sabu was injured. RVD lost the championship to Dudley after interference by Impact Players. As a result, Dudley Boyz won the championship. RVD and Sabu's reign ended at 125 days.

At Hardcore Heaven, RVD successfully defended the ECW Television Championship against Jerry Lynn in a No Time Limit match. At Hostile City Showdown, RVD defeated Balls Mahoney to retain the championship. At Heat Wave, RVD and Jerry Lynn defeated Impact Players after Sabu knocked Credible through a table. At Anarchy Rulz, RVD was scheduled to defend the ECW Television Championship against Johnny Smith, but Spike Dudley, Balls Mahoney and Axl Rotten attacked Smith before the match and Mahoney substituted for Smith. RVD defeated Mahoney to retain the championship.

With his year-long ECW Television Championship reign, RVD started to become a popular wrestler and was nicknamed "Mr. Pay-Per-View" for headling pay-per-view events. At November to Remember, RVD defeated Taz to retain the championship in Taz's final ECW match. Entering 2000, RVD successfully defended the championship against Sabu at Guilty as Charged. RVD suffered a broken ankle on January 29 and The Network forced him to vacate the ECW Television Championship at March 4 house show. RVD became the longest reigning ECW Television Champion. His reign ended at 700 days. RVD was out of action for three months.

At Hardcore Heaven, RVD returned to ECW to compete against longtime rival Jerry Lynn, with RVD's best friend Scotty Anton in his corner. Lynn won after Anton turned on RVD by shoving him off the top rope. As a result, RVD began a rivalry with Anton, which culminated in a match between the two at Heat Wave, which RVD won. On September 2 edition of Hardcore TV, RVD and Kid Kash participated in a tournament for the vacated ECW Tag Team Championship. RVD and Kash lost to Tommy Dreamer and Jerry Lynn in the quarter-final round after Justin Credible attacked RVD with a singapore cane and Rhino delivered a Gore to RVD.

As a result, RVD began a rivalry with Rhino, which culminated in a match between the two for Rhino's ECW Television Championship at Anarchy Rulz, which Rhino won when the referee made a fast count. RVD did not compete for the next three months. Entering 2001, RVD returned to ECW at ECW's final pay-per-view Guilty as Charged, when he defeated longtime rival Jerry Lynn. It was RVD's final ECW match and final appearance in the company. The company held its final show on January 13 and closed down.

It was purchased by WWF and RVD, along with several of the ECW roster joined WWF to continue his stardom which he had gained in ECW. ECW ended but RVD made history as the longest reigning ECW Television Champion and one of the biggest stars in the history of the company without ever winning the ECW World Heavyweight Championship.

Rob Van Dam's ECW Photo Gallery:

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Rob Van Dam in ECW
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ECW Television Champion
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Rob Van Dam and Sabu
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Rob Van Dam and Sabu - ECW Tag Team Champions