RVD, A Man of Many Names But A Single Mission

Robert Alex Szatkowski

Who is this man from Battle Creek, Michigan? Who is this Szatkowski? As a young man, he told his parents he would be a Pro Wrestler one day, and his own mother said, “You’ll never be like that. There’s no way.” But Rob was determined. In fact, in high school when he latched onto his dream, he threw himself into preparing.

By the time Rob was a junior in high school, he knew for sure he wanted to be a professional wrestle, and he dedicated and focused himself to fitness and good health. He created a plan to reach his vision. He used every spare minute to stretch, lift weights, anything related to good health, and he still is that guy today. Even back in high school, he joined the wrestling team but didn’t stick with it because the coach wanted him to lose thirty pounds just to fit into a weight class to win. Rob said, “I weighed 165 pounds. The coach told me to lose 30 pounds.” Rob quit. “I wanted to be 235 pounds. I wanted to reach my full potential and not stunt my growth during the years I was still growing.”  

He is health conscious, forward thinking, intelligent, savvy professional. Although at times in his humble laid-back nature he would disagree with the savvy part, but he is, and his life story proves it. This is the man behind RVDCBD. Rob is that guy, everything he does, he does with health and wellness in mind; he does it his way and doesn’t settle for anything but the best. He’s that kind of guy. Check out the Rob guarantee.

Rob is “A Winner”

His first year as a professional he had a few shows in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. That’s when he got the taste of performance. Rob said, “The feedback from the crowds was very rewarding. It’s what I wanted.” he said. Like most parent’s Rob’s wanted to steer him toward a realistic future. I mean how many of us want to be President a football player, or ballerina when we grow up? Even though his parents tried to steer Rob toward a realistic career, Rob had a vision and the determination to go the distance. What only seems like a childhood dream for most, Rob believed wholeheartedly, and no obstacle stood in his way.

Even after he landed in the wrestling world Rob didn’t stop. He was aimed at the top and that’s where he rose. Rob held 28 championship titles from various promotions.

“I made my own pathway, did everything my way, and I ended up at the very top…I always win. I’m a winner.”

Rob Van Dam

RVD Emerges

During 1991, while Rob wrestled between Jamaica and Florida Ron Slinker (Rob’s Wrestling promoter) noticed and uncanny resemblance between Rob Szatkowski and Jean-Claude Van Damme. He suggested the name and it stuck. At first Ron even suggested he speak with a foreign accent, but thankfully that melted away fast. Being something he wasn’t, never would have stuck with Rob. Rob became Rob Van Dam everywhere but the WCW. ironically, even though Jean-Claude held no grudge or ill will over RVD using his name, the WCW billed. him as Robbie V.

Mr. 420

How on earth did this man so driven to good health and wellness (even as a high schooler) end up in the marijuana world, let alone with the nickname, Mr. 420? Even after the first time Rob ever tried weed, and it was not a positive experience, here he is today—MR. 420. He recounted, “In 1991, I had a wresting show in Jamaica and the Ganga [marijuana] was plentiful.” He said, “He hadn’t smoked it before, he didn’t want to.” (As hard as that may be to believe). But one day, when all the professional wrestlers were parked under a cabana in Jamaica, he came face to face with a joint. The wrestlers were passing it around and Rob politely past it on, but Jimmy Del Ray shoved it back and said, “Here.”

Rob did not enjoy it. He said he stared at the wall overcome with paranoia. However, he said later, “I was noticing these athletes that [I] looked up to. [They] were in great shape, [and] a lot of them smoked weed. That made me think maybe I should look into it.” Little did he know back then, “That [weed would] open up [a] whole new universe.” 

Where Did the Name Mr. 420 Come From?

According to RVD, Vince McMahon did not know what “420” meant at first. “One night before the match, Paul came up to me and he said, ‘Vince wants to know what the 420 leg drop means,'” RVD said as Hausman and RVD laughed about the idea of McMahon inquiring what 420 means. “I said, ‘why?’ He said, ‘he needs to know if the commentators can’t say if it’s a drug use.

He wants to know is it a drug use?’ And I said, ‘no, it’s the name of our move.’ He goes, ‘I know, but he wants to know what it means.’ I said, ‘it’s 420. I pick Rey Mysterio up. Then I jump up while I’m holding him up and all of our legs come down on the guy, so it’s four legs and twenty is our combined shoe size. I wear twelve. He’s eight,’ and he’s like, ‘OK, I can work with that.'”

Through & Through Mr.420

According to Graham Matthews (a writer for whatculture.com) “The best part about Rob Van Dam is not only is he the single biggest toker in the wrestling business (both past and present), but he’s also one of the only wrestlers to have incorporated [it] into his gimmick. A major advocate of smoking marijuana for as long as anyone can remember, he’s constantly making the media rounds giving his two cents on why it should be legalized and isn’t as bad as it’s perceived to be by the public. Whether you agree with his stance on the subject or not, you can’t help but root for the guy[s] laid back, relaxed attitude in and out the ring; he’s far too likable.”

Rob has always been transparent. Graham Matthews continued, “Moreover, he’s open about the fact weed has cost him a handful of pushes during his time with WWE, most notably when he … RVD was busted for possession of 18 grams of marijuana, resulting in him dropping [both] titles in the days that followed. When his contract expired the following year, he left the company and went a whole six years without appearing on WWE programming before returning in 2013. … One of the most popular wrestlers during his prime, his Mr. 420 persona has undoubtedly cemented him a spot in the annals of WWE history,” and I would argue Cannabis history too.

Mr. Monday Night, Rob Van Dam

May 12th, 1997, two years at ECW, Van Dam ‘invaded’ the WWF’s Monday Night Raw against Jeff Hardy. As the show began Jeff Hardy stood in the corner, as RVD slid into the ring and paced back and forth. Jerry Lawler (fitted with his classic crown) grabbed the mic and started roasting the ECW. Lawler pointed out to the crowd, RVD’s status with the ECW, and in Rob like fashion, he stood calm and collected with that Van Dam Charismatic smile. Then surprisingly RVD agreed. RVD roasted the ECW back saying it was low budget and couldn’t hold on to his extreme raw talent. So as, RVD made his debut into the WWF, Lawler dubbed RVD (now on the WWF roster) as Mr. Monday Night. The fans loved him, but the ‘invasion’ was short-lived, and he returned to Philadelphia, but the title stuck.

Mr. Pay-Per-View

According to Cultaholic Wrestling, “If you count pay-per view matches won, Rob Van Dam has the most wins at Wrestle Mania without a loss.” However, the name really stemmed from Paul Harvey keeping RVD off the first Pay-Per View matches of the ECW, even though it was Rob’s idea. Rob spoke out publicly. He said on television, “I was very offended, when they had the first chance to show the world what Extreme wrestling is about, [and] they didn’t have RVD.” Paul admitted, “[I] didn’t book him on the Pay Per View because he didn’t know how long Rob was going to stay with [us] because he was Independent. The first Pay-Per-View needed to be very ECW Branded.” 

RVD as Mr. Mania Night

In 2002, Rob Van Dam made his Wrestle Mania Debut when he defeated William Regal earning the first of six intercontinental championships. Only four years later, the culmination of his dozens of career victories earned him the spot in the unforgettable Money in the Bank Ladder Match of 2006. Front and center ring he conquered five other wrestlers to snatch that briefcase, which he cashed into wrestle John Cena and win the ECW World Title.

“The Whole F-ing Show”

This title sums up Who Rob Van Dam is and his impact in the ECW. While the name itself arose from a long-time feud between Shawn Michaels and Rob. When Shawn Michaels coins himself as the “Showstopper,” Rob came back with something like, “If you’re the showstopper, then I’m “The Whole F-ing Show.” The nickname stuck because he lives up to it. ECW manager, Paul Heyman said of Rob in the CNN Series Idols episode 1 RVD, he knew if Rob was on the card and the first two matches were terrible, the fans could end with RVD, and they would feel like the show was outstanding. RVD was “The Whole F-ing Show.”

Rob’s Latest & Greatest Venture, RVDCBD

Rob has always cared about health and wellness. Even back in high school when he joined the wrestling team, he quit because the coach wanted him to lose thirty pounds to fit into a weight class. Toward the latter half of Rob’s career in wrestling, he was prescribed opiates to deal with the pain like many other wrestlers. He lived from pill to topical just so he could perform the rigorous schedule of routines. But, Rob wanted something nontoxic and healing, not just a band aid. He also got tired of watching his friends overdose on pills.

CBD, at the time, was outlawed. After, Headstrong, a 2019 documentary about Van Dam’s stand-up comedy, showcased Rob’s struggles Rob said, “I wanted to look into CBD products, and in particular something for the brain. Although I don’t have CTE, I’m tired of my friends killing themselves [with] depression … from acquiring several concussions. … I wanted to do something that would help all of us.” After the 2018 Farm Bill passed, Van Dam decided to combine his interest in combating concussion damage, chronic ailments, and stress and anxiety with the plant that saved his own life. By producing RVDCBD with a team of partners, Van Dam could directly supply a potential remedy to not only wrestling superstars and alumni but also to the dedicated fans themselves.  

 

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