Exclusive interview: Rob Van Dam discusses WWE return

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July 10, 2013

This Sunday at Money in the Bank, Rob Van Dam will make his highly anticipated return to WWE following a six-year absence — save for a brief appearance in the 2009 Royal Rumble Match. Many fans are expecting Mr. Pay-Per-View to live up to his superlative nickname, stealing the show in the Money in the Bank All-Stars Ladder Match.

Photos of RVD's amazing abilities | Watch his spectacular feats

A 24-year veteran of the squared circle, RVD has long been considered one of the most innovative and dynamic stars in the history of sports-entertainment. He made his name in ECW, debuting on Jan. 5, 1996, at the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, the organization’s home base and the same city of his upcoming return. Over the next 10 years, he held the ECW Television Championship for an astounding 700 days, and made a spectacular rise from hardcore cult hero to WWE Champion.

But for all of Van Dam’s accomplishments, the Battle Creek, Mich., native is not without his controversies. After a brief stay in the WWE spotlight in 1997, RVD was labeled as a having an attitude problem. And very soon after accomplishing the biggest milestone of his career in 2006 – pinning John Cena to win the WWE Championship – Van Dam was suspended from the active roster and abruptly lost the title. Speaking to WWE.com from his home in Los Angeles, RVD opened up about his past transgressions, what his upcoming return means to him, his one-of-a-kind style and if he can still bring the goods in the ring.

WWE.COM: How did your return come about?

ROB VAN DAM: I called WWE.

WWE.COM: Did you know you were going to come back to WWE when you appeared at the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Madison Square Garden?

VAN DAM: I wasn’t there to try to get a job. I was there to see my brother Booker T. But Booker did plant a seed by telling me to come back. It was the right move to come to the top and I’m very excited that this is happening.

WWE.COM: How long before the video package aired on the Payback pay-per-view did you know for sure you’d be coming back to WWE?

VAN DAM: I’d say it was about a week or two.

WWE.COM: Who knew about it other than you and your wife?

VAN DAM: Triple H was the guy I was talking to. And I sent Booker a text. It wasn’t a definite deal until two weeks at the most before the videos started running. Once I got my starting date of Money in the Bank, that made it real.

WWE.COM: Did you expect the outpouring of support when it was announced that you’re coming back?

VAN DAM: No, I can’t say that I’ve had any specific expectations for the excitement prior to my return. WWE has been really pumping up my return. It’s great. As soon as that first video aired, my phone was blowing up. Whether people were sitting in their living room in Oklahoma or in a bar in Dublin, Ireland, everyone was chanting “RVD.” That’s a pretty awesome feeling.

WWE.COM: What does it mean to you to be returning in Philadelphia?

VAN DAM: Philadelphia’s awesome. It’s one of my top home away from homes. When I walk around on the streets there, people recognize me. They think I’m from Philadelphia, because I was there so much and because I’m so associated with Philadelphia through ECW. That was Paul’s genius. It wasn’t just a hardcore, extreme, rebellious, renegade wrestling company. It had the flavor and the pride of South Philly, which was very proud of ECW and me and my accomplishments. Because of that, people will always associate me with Philly.

Watch Van Dam's best ECW moments

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