Monday, October 16, 2006

Perfomer Analysis: Rob Van Dam

RVD. Mr. Monday Night. Mr. PPV. Mr. ECW. Mr. Minor Drug Felony. He's been called many names but dear ole' Momma Van Dam he is Robert Alex Szatkowski. Rolls right off the tongue, doesn't it? RVD was trained by the legendary Shiek( don't you see the similarities?) and made his debut in my home state, Ohio in 1990. There's no doubt he is one of the most popular wrestlers in the world, but how does he measure up?

1) Innovation-7-
There's no questioning RVD's contribution to innovative wrestling. He is famous for his one of a kind(no pun intended) ring style of high risk acrobatic moves and hard hitting style. He is a true risk taker and I give him all the credit in the world for that. But, you could also say that some of the things he does inside that ring are pretty unnecessary, such as rolling across the ring to jump on a guy and monkey flip them. Is that roll necessary? I never thought I would write that line in an article and I'm not really sure why it bothers me so much. But, back to my analysis, RVD helped create the mythos behind his home promotion ECW and helped create the style that supports no rules and no limits( and with the new ECW, no shame.)

2 Conditioning-9-
A nearly perfect score for RVD in this department. He is a trained and disciplined kickboxer, he stretches before each and every match and he even invented his own weight lift, the Van Dam lift which consists of doing the splits on two chairs and lifting weights. I'm surprised you haven't heard of it; it's sweeping the whole weightlifting world. Maybe not. He's rarely been plagued with injuries due to his peak physical condition. So, why wouldn't he get a 10? Because his role model is Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. And I emphasize the word "high" in that sentence. If you don't believe me just go look in the Ironton, Ohio police files.

3 Ring Skill-6-
According to my standards, this category is ranked by several criteria: overall ability, work rate, selling, and putting a match together. Van Dam does all those things moderately well, but none of them great. He is a natural athlete, documented by his past martial arts endeavors and some amateur wrestling in high school. He can bump and has proven it on many occasions. His flaw comes into really selling. He instead, as many before him have, opts for the take a move and fall down. You need to show emotion when you get punched. Act like it. There's definitely room for improvement there.

4 Character-5-
Van Dam in ECW: a pothead who was extremely cocky. Van Dam in WWE: a strange guy who says "cool" a lot and is ranging on the cocky side. Horrible. If he didn't have a recognized name before coming to WWE, he would've never got his foot in the door. In ECW, he shows range and seems comfortable on camera. In WWE, he seems lost and strangely half retarded. And the funny thing is he has acted in B Movies and canceled TV series. What did they see in this guy?

5 Interviews-3-
Can RVD cut a promo? ECW loyalists would have you believe he could. He certainly did have his share of them. But, they mostly consisted of him sitting in some silly, smoky room talking mad shit about the jobber he was about to go 15 with. In WWE, RVD promos are almost non-existent. I understand if they are trying to shield him from embarrassing himself, but even comedy mid-carders get more mike time than he does. Well, at least Vince has done one thing right: silencing RVD. Now, if he could only get his own putrid face off camera.
6 Face/Heel-6- This is an interesting category. RVD plays a good heel. He has all the natural inclinations: he knows he's better than you, he knows he's going to put on a better match than you, and he relishes in it. But, by God, do wrestling fans love to cheer for him. They have made him a face, but he does nothing for it. He has no dimensions as a face character, but he does get over, so he has remained so.

7 Strikes-3-
a difficult category to rate. RVD has some of the more natural looking kicks in the WWE, but most of them are spotty and off target. And his punches are horrid. I've seen female McMahons throw better strikes and I'm not talking about HHH. Also, RVD isn't a good chain wrestler; he's a good sequence wrestler, it's not the same thing. He can put planned out spots together, but try to let him make a transition on his own and he looks indy. This is probably one of his biggest weaknesses in my eyes.

8 Fans-10-
Like I said, there's something about RVD. The fans go nuts for him. From my point of view, he doesn't do much to garner their attention, but they eat up everyone of his redundant spots that he's done so many times over.

9 Match/ Opp.-
5- RVD has taken on just about anyone that has walked into ECW and WWE's doors in the last ten years and that's a lot of people. He has usually tried to blend well with them ,and work a decent match. He has had different feuds in the past, but hardly any are memorable. His rivalry with Jerry Lynn almost made ECW a credible promotion, but they ran it into the ground during their dying days. He and Sabu, before they teamed, had a good thing going. In WWE, he has basically moved from mid card feud to mid card feud with really no main event matches, and even less world title programs. He only recently got the top prize to help fuel the fire under an ECW return.

10 Gutcheck-7-
I give him a high score because even though what he does is very sloppy at times, he is a hard worker and will put his body through hell to have a good match. I think he has decent work ethic, but I'm definitely not joining his fan club.
Rating: 61
PO: Thumbs Down

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