This one's for the team
“This may be the single most important match of my career.” Those were Rob Van Dam’s words on Sunday afternoon as he prepared for his highly anticipated One Night Stand match with WWE Champion John Cena. Little did RVD know that just hours later, what was the most important match of his career would soon turn into one of the most memorable moments in all of wrestling history.
As 3,000 of the wrestling world’s loudest and most passionate fans jammed inside the Hammerstein Ballroom looked on, ECW’s favorite son, Rob Van Dam made wrestling history when on his own turf, he pinned WWE’s John Cena, and in the process, captured the WWE Championship. The announcement of Rob Van Dam as the new Champion set off a celebration unlike any that has ever been seen in any ECW or WWE ring. As the ECW locker room emptied, the 3,000 rabid fans, many of whom spent the entire day waiting in line along 34th Street, erupted in a united recital of the three most popular letters in ECW history, R-V-D.
According to Van Dam, the feeling of victory was mutual, and one he shared with each and every one of those fans that were in the Ballroom on Sunday night. “It felt phenomenal. It felt like every single one of those fans was behind me. Like I had everyone’s support, which was a great feeling. I looked out in the crowd and I didn’t feel like they were watching me win the Championship. I felt like we did it, meaning both myself and the fans. The fans are as much a part of ECW as the wrestlers are. That’s how I’ve always felt.”
A common theme among the Hammerstein Ballroom fans on Sunday night was that RVD’s moment had been long overdue. For Van Dam, the Championship was 16 years in the making. Those 16 years, which consisted of countless hours of training, travel and endless amounts of physical and emotional sacrifice were all paid off in a single instance when his arm was raised, and for the first time, the gold was placed in his hands. “It’s been a good 16 years. It’s been a steady climb with each year being better than the last. I’ve only been Champion for a little while now, so I can’t say from a first hand prospective that I know exactly how it feels on a daily basis and being seen in public as the Champion. Those are all rewards that I still have forthcoming. But, at the same time, I know I’m going home with the gold tonight, and that’s a great feeling.”
Van Dam, who has numerous championships all over the map, was hard pressed to find a moment in his career to match up to the one he experienced at One Night Stand. “I can’t think of anything I’ve done that compares to this. Tonight was special to me for so many reasons. Not just because it’s my chance to be WWE Champion, but because I got to bring this one home for the team. They’ve called me unorthodox, unique, whatever, but that very way of thinking is how I’ve always gotten ahead. I feel like I did it my way, on my terms, and nothing can be more rewarding than that.”
For the new ECW, Van Dam’s Championship couldn’t have come at a better time. With the new ECW TV show debuting this Tuesday at 10/9 CT, live and only on Sci Fi, the new champ is ready to look towards the future. “Right now the road is wide open, the possibilities are unlimited. We’re kicking it off with a fresh start, and it looks like were starting it with RVD as the World Champion. So, this is a great start, it gives ECW all the momentum in the world. Where we take it from here is up to us. But, one thing is for sure, we’re going do it in extreme fashion.”
One Night Stand: Fan Reaction