Rob Van Dam on Why Total Nonstop Action is Different from WWE, His Unusual-Looking Tights, and Why He Supports Marijuana Use


rob van dam total nonstop action rolling thunder.jpg
Courtesy of TNA
Rob Van Dam performs a Rolling Thunder on an opponent.

Fans have been comparing WWE's Ryback to you because of your similar taste in wrestling tights. What do you think about that?
Well, the truth is that Ryback reached out to me and asked for permission to use the same airbrush artist that I use, Joe Holland in Savannah, Georgia. The guy's been making me the same outfits since like 1995 and he doesn't do a lot work for wrestlers. And I'm all for anyone that can make more business off of things they do for me. Ryback has my blessing [and] I'm flattered that he's a fan of mine. He's been very respectful in reaching out to me. I haven't met the guy but have nothing but respect for him.

Why have you worn such distinctive gear covered with snakes, tigers, yin-yangs or whatever?
One of my many, many ways that I stand out. Everything about me is different, in and out of the ring. I'm a nonconformist, like a duck-billed platypus. Way back in 1992-93, I was wrestling for All Japan and it was my boss [Shohei] "Giant" Baba that told me he wanted me to start wearing bright colors. I think he wanted me to look like the Rockers or something because I just had a real generic black singlet. And when I met Joe Holland, I had an idea for him to paint on a little silhouette on my outfit of me doing a flying kick. And that was the first one. From there it just got more elaborate. And each time he tries to outdo himself.

You're a noted fan of marijuana and a big supporter of medicalization. Do you smoke out regularly?
Um, that's more of a personal question than a direct question that my character talks about. It's not so much part of the show as just [something] connecting me to that culture. A lot of my fans are in that culture and when I'm not wrestling I'm a strong advocate for ending the marijuana prohibition. Not to mention I also help educate people about medicinal marijuana programs. Since you brought it up, I'd love to tell everybody that it's impossible to overdose from marijuana. Everyone's brainwashed into thinking it's a harmful drug but its not. It's the most resourceful plant that we have on the entire planet. Medicinally, recreationally, materially...it could basically replace so many huge conglomerate and big corporate businesses, which is the reason why its outlawed.

TNA's Bound for Glory and FanInteraction takes place on Sunday, October 14, at GCU Arena. Admission is $10-$150 for the pay-per-view, $99 for the meet-and-greet.

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3300 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ

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