Rob Van Dam on Why Total Nonstop Action is Different from WWE, His Unusual-Looking Tights, and Why He Supports Marijuana Use
Courtesy of TNA Rob Van Dam (center) lays into an opponent during a match for Total Nonstop Action.
Some of his most spectacular maneuvers include the "Five-Star Frog Splash," where he soars from the top turnbuckle of a wrestling ring and lands on his supine opponent, and the "Van Daminator," which involves a leaping kick that propels a metal folding chair into another dude's face.
On October 14, you can expect to see him flying all over the ring when TNA, the chief competitor to World Wrestling Entertainment in the world of suplexes and body slams, stages Bound for Glory (its biggest event of the year) at the Grand Canyon University Arena. Tickets for the event, which will be broadcast on pay-per-view, went on sale this morning and Jackalope Ranch had an opportunity to speak with Van Dam about his sky-high moves, how TNA is different from the WWE, and why he supports marijuana usage.
How is TNA different from other wrestling companies, like the WWE?
In Total Nonstop Action, individual wrestlers have a lot more freedom to artistically express themselves versus WWE. When we have our matches, they are known to be more athletic, more competitive in nature, and that's what wrestling fans really appreciate. And the fact there's more of a focus on wrestling in Total Nonstop Action over the other major company on TV. Whereas WWE has been known to feature more of the 400-pound giants that aren't necessarily going to [perform] quite as impressively. TNA focuses more on the wrestler's abilities and skills and gives them a chance to shine out there in front of the fans.
Are there other differences?
It's also more of an up-close-and-personal experience where wrestlers are more accessible and there's a lot of times spent on meeting the fans. And Bound For Glory will be no different and we'll be there on October 14 with a big meet-and-greet. The day before that is also something called "TNA Fan InterAction," which all the top stars will be there as well. People can meet and talk to their wrestlers and get their photos taken with 'em.
What's it like being a professional wrestler and performing on nationwide TV?
We're all in the ring to show off. That's what being in the spotlight is all about. You have your skills and you're there to show a bunch of people who paid to see them what you got.
Your big move is the "Five-Star Frog Splash," where you leap from the top turnbuckle and land on your opponent. How much does it hurt when you land?
Any time that you want to drop from 10 feet and then land on your ribs you're going to feel it (laughs). All you can do is be conditioned for it by training and being a pro wrestler and being able to take all those moves. Depending on when in the match a do the move also matters, as I feel it less at the beginning of a match when I'm fresh than at the end. It's all about calculating and hitting it at the right time. Obviously, it's nothing I can't handle.