Rob Van Dam
Jan 14, 2010 - by Jamie Cruickshank
Real name: Robert Alex Szatowski
Weight: 235 lbs.
Date of birth: December 18, 1970
From: Battle Creek, MI
Resides: LA, CA
Pro debut: 1990
Trained by: “The Original” Sheik
Finishing move: Five Star Frog Splash
– Growing up in Battle Creek, MI, Van Dam studied martial arts at two local dojos. He received instruction for Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Aikido, Kendo, and Kick Boxing.
– In 1990, Van Dam competed in the Kalamazoo Tough Man contest, finishing in second place.
– Also in 1990, Van Dam defeated Dango Nguyen in his pro wrestling debut in Toledo, OH.
– Van Dam spent his rookie year wrestling as Rob Zakowski on the independent circuit in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana.
– After a two-month stint in Memphis (USWA), Van Dam joined the South Atlantic Pro Wrestling promotion in 1991.
– On July 23, 1992, Van Dam and Chaz Rocco defeated the Ringlords for the SAPW Tag Team title.
– Van Dam moved onto the ICWA (Florida), CWF, and IWF, and All Star Wrestling in Georgia, working as a bouncer on the side.
– In early 1993, Van Dam joined WCW as Robbie V.
– Van Dam worked his first tour of Japan in February 1993, competing for All Japan Pro Wrestling.
– Van Dam defeated Luscious Lonnie on March 26, 1994 for the All Star Wrestling title in Hazlehurst, GA.
– On March 10, 1995, Van Dam defeated Raven for the PSW Cordele City title.
– In 1995, Van Dam teamed up with Bobby Bradley to form the tag team Aerial Assault in the National Wrestling Conference.
– The Aerial Assault, a high-flying duo, won the NWC Tag Team title in 1995 in a tournament.
– On October 25, 1995, Van Dam beat Kentaro Shiga at All Japan’s 23rd Anniversary Show in Tokyo, Japan.
– On December 9, 1995, Van Dam and Johnny Smith beat Satoru Asako and Kentaro Shiga.
– At House Party ’96, Van Dam made his ECW debut and defeated Axl Rotten.
– On July 24, 1996, Van Dam, Takao Omori, and Yoshinori Ogawa beat Yoshinobu Kanemura, Satoru Asako, and Shiga.
– Van Dam started hinting that he would be doing his wrestling on Monday nights. The “Mr. Monday Night” gimmick was born.
– Van Dam followed through, and defeated Jeff Hardy (not Matt as many sources report) on “Raw,” on May 12, 1997, as part of a WWF/ECW angle.
– On April 4, 1998, Van Dam won the ECW television title from Bam Bam Bigelow in Buffalo, NY.
– Van Dam and Sabu captured the ECW World Tag Team title from Chris Candido and Lance Storm on June 6, 1998.
– Van Dam, Sabu and Tazz defeated the Triple Threat at the 1998 “November 2 Remember” in a six man tag match.
– At the 1999 “Guilty As Charged” PPV, Van Dam pinned Lance Storm.
– On March 21, 1999, at “Living Dangerously” in Asbury Park, NJ, Van Dam successfully defended the Television title against Jerry Lynn.
– Van Dam survived his rematch with Jerry Lynn at “Hardcore Heaven ’99.”
– At “Heatwave ’99,” Van Dam and Lynn defeated Lance Storm and Justin Credible in Dayton, OH.
– Van Dam’s Television title defense against Balls Mahoney headlined Anarchy Rulz ’99. Van Dam was again victorious.
– At the 1999 “November 2 Remember,” Van Dam successfully defended the Television title against the WWF bound Tazz.
– On January 9, 2000, Van Dam defeated his former tag team partner Sabu at “Guilty As Charged.”
– During a Television title match with Rhyno on January 29, 2000, Van Dam suffered a cracked fibula.
– Van Dam made his in ring return at Hardcore Heaven ’00 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to face Lynn.
– In October 2000, Van Dam left for Thailand to star in a movie called “Black Mask.”
– At Guilty As Charged ’01, RVD returned to ECW as “the surprise,” and defeated Lynn.
– Van Dam worked the February 2001 tour with All Japan Pro Wrestling.
– Van Dam made his WWF debut on the July 9, 2001 edition of “Raw.”
– At the Invasion PPV in Cleveland, OH, Van Dam defeated Jeff Hardy for the WWF Hardcore title.
– At Summerslam ’01, Van Dam defeated Jeff Hardy in a WWF Hardcore Ladder/title match to regain the championship.
– On the September 4, 2001 episode of “Smackdown” in Toronto, Van Dam pinned Steve Austin in a non-title match.
– Six days later on “Raw,” Angle defeated Van Dam for the Hardcore title, but moments later, Van Dam regained the strap thanks to interference from Austin.
– At Unforgiven ’01 in Pittsburgh, PA, Van Dam successfully defended the WWF Hardcore title by defeating Chris Jericho.
– On the October 25, 2001 edition of “Smackdown” in Ohama, NE, Van Dam pinned The Rock to retain the Hardcore title.
– On the November 12, 2001 episode of “Raw,” Van Dam successfully defended the WWF Hardcore title against The Undertaker.
– At the No Way Out ’02 PPV, Van Dam defeated Goldust.
– Van Dam pinned William Regal for the WWF Intercontinental title at Wrestlemania X-8 in Toronto.
– On the May 27, 2002 edition of “Raw” in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Van Dam defeated Eddy Guerrero in a “ladder” match for the Intercontinental title.
– On the July 22, 2002 episode of “Raw,” Van Dam defeated Jeff Hardy in a ladder match to unify the European and Intercontinental titles in Grand Rapids, MI.
– At Summerslam ’02 in Uniondale, NY, Van Dam defeated Chris Benoit to regain the Intercontinental championship.
– At No Mercy ’02, Van Dam used a frog splash to defeat Ric Flair.
– On the March 31, 2003 edition of “Raw” in Seattle, WA, Van Dam and Kane won a three way match over Sean Morley and Lance and the Dudley Boyz to win the World Tag Team title.
– Van Dam and Kane successfully defended the World Tag Team title against the Legion of Doom on the May 12, 2003 episode of “Raw.”
– On the September 29, 2003 episode of “Raw” in Chicago, IL, Van Dam defeated Christian in a “ladder” match to re-capture the Intercontinental title.
– Four weeks later on “Raw,” Van Dam dropped the IC title to Jericho, but regained the strap in a “steel cage” match at the end of the show.
– On the February 16, 2004 edition of “Raw,” Van Dam and Booker T defeated Flair and Dave Batista in Bakersville, CA to capture the World Tag Team title.
– At Wrestlemania XX in New York, NY, Van Dam and Booker T defeated the Dudley Boyz, Garrison Cade and Mark Jindrak, and La Resistance to retain the World Tag Team title.
– Van Dam was “drafted” by Paul Heyman to join the “Smackdown” roster on the March 22, 2004 edition of “Raw.”
– At Judgment Day ’04, Van Dam and Rey Mysterio Jr. defeated the Dudley Boyz.
– At Survivor Series ’04, Team Guerrero (Van Dam, Eddy Guerero, John Cena, and the Big Show) defeated Team Angle (Kurt Angle, Mark Jindrak, Luther Reigns, and Carlito Caribbean Cool).
– Van Dam and Mysterio Jr. defeated Kenzo Suzuki and Rene Dupree at the December 7, 2004 “Smackdown” tapings in Greenville, SC to capture the WWE Tag Team title.
– At Armageddon ’04, Van Dam and Mysterio Jr. successfully defended the WWE Tag Team Title against Dupree and Suzuki.
– On the June 27, 2005 edition of “Raw,” Van Dam was drafted back to the Raw roster.
– At Wrestlemania 22, Van Dam defeated Ric Flair, Shelton Benjamin, Bobby Lashley, Fit Finlay and Matt Hardy in the “money in the bank” ladder match.
– At Backlash ’06 in Lexington, KY, RVD defeated Benjamin to regain the Intercontinental title.
– Van Dam pinned John Cena at One Night Stand on June 11, 2006 in Manhatten, NY when Paul Heyman made the count to be declared as the new WWE champion.
– On the debut episode of ECW on Sci Fi on June 13, 2006, Heyman presented Van Dam the ECW title belt.
– At Vengeance ’06, RVD successfully defending the spinning WWE title belt by defeating Edge.
– On July 2, 2006, traveling with Sabu, RVD was stopped initially stopped for speeding in Hanging Rock, OH. When troopers approached his vehicle, they smelled marijuana and performed a search. Troopers found the wrestler in possession of 18 grams of marijuana and five Vicodin, prescription pain pills.
– On July 5, 2006, it was announced that Van Dam would be suspended for 30 days without pay based on the guidelines of WWE’s Wellness Policy.
– At Survivor Series ’06, Team Cena (Cena, Kane, Bobby Lashley, Rob Van Dam and Sabu) defeated Team Big Show (Big Show, Test, Umaga, MVP and Finlay).
– At Wrestlemania 23, the ECW originals (RVD, Tommy Dreamer, Sabu and The Sandman) defeated the New Breed (Kevin Thorn, Matt Striker, Elijah Burke, and Marcus Cor Von).
– Van Dam defeated Randy Orton in a “stretcher” match at One Night Stand ’07.
– Van Dam joined TNA in the spring of 2010.
– On the April 19, 2010 edition of “Impact,” Van Dam pinned AJ Styles in Orlando, FL to capture the TNA World Heavyweight title.
– At Hardcore Justice, RVD defeated Sabu to retain the TNA title.
– At Bound for Glory ’10, RVD defeated Abyss in a “Monster’s Ball” match.
– RVD defeated Matt Hardy at the 2011 Against All Odds PPV.
– At Destination X ’11, RVD defeated Jerry Lynn.
– At Bound for Glory ’11, RVD again defeated Lynn.
– RVD defeated Christopher Daniels in a no-DQ match at the 2011 Turning Point.
– At Final Resolution ’11, RVD defeated Daniels.
– At Hardcore Justice ’12, RVD defeated Mr. Anderson and Magnus in Bound for Glory series match.
– RVD defeated Magnus at No Surrender ’12.
– At Bound For Glory ’12, RVD defeated Zema Ion to win the TNA X-Division Title.
– At Turning Point ’12, RVD defeated Joey Ryan to retain the TNA X-Division Title.
– At Final Resolution ’12, RVD defeated Kenny King to retain the TNA X-Division Title.
– At One Night Only: X-Travaganza ’13, RVD defeated Jerry Lynn in a No-DQ Match.
– At Genesis ’13, RVD defeated Christian York to retain the TNA X-Division Title.
– In March 2013, Van Dam left TNA.
– Van Dam returned to WWE at Money In The Bank ’13. It was later announced that he had signed a reduced-schedule contract.
– At Night Of Champions ’13, Van Dam defeated World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio by DQ.
– On June 3, 2014, Van Dam fought WWE Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett to a no-contest.
– In November 2015, Van Dam voted into the GERWECK.NET Hall of Fame.