by Daniel Johnson
Rob Van Dam just lost to Cesaro in a number one contender’s match for the WWE United States Championship on WWE Monday Night Raw. Exactly one week before RVD won a match. A six man match where he was just used to get a pop and was in no ongoing storyline to speak of. It makes me think, “RVD isn’t that different from Hardcore Holly these days.”
Now, some Hardcore Holly haters or HHHs (no one is using that acronymn, right?) may take this as a slight against RVD, but in actuality it is nothing of the sort. If you attended a WWE house show in the the 2000s and Hardcore Holly wrestled you can probably attest that Holly always got a reaction from a live crowd. I’m not just talking cheers as a result of him being a wrestler in the Attitude Era, but vocal pops well into 2008. The RVD and Holly comparison is not a perfect one, but on the surface there are similarities and even digging further more can be found.
In their respective time frames both have/had been wrestling for about 20 years, both looked younger than their respective ages and both even had signature poses that crowds reacted to. RVD’s pose is of course much more obvious as he repeatedly points to himself and declares, “R…V…D.” Yet, I remember seeing Holly for the first time during his Hardcore era and was shocked how many cheers he got just by clenching his fist and shaking it a little or pointing to the sky with two fingers.
Looking deeper into these poses it is easy to see why these actions get the reactions they do. RVD and Holly each have had distinctive looks and plainly look like performers. People who are meant to get a reaction. All they need is that little extra push that telegraphs to the audience, most importantly the casual fans, “cheer now.” There move sets evoke similar responses despite being considerably different. Whether it is five star frogsplash or an Alabama slam the message is clear. “This is a big move. Cheer now.” This is further assisted by the slight delay each of these moves has just to get that last little bit out of the crowd.
The ability of RVD to get a reaction no matter what makes him an ideal person for WWE to tuck into matches they feel need just a little more oomph. Even if his participation in them makes little to no sense. Remember him being shoehorned into the Cesaro/Jack Swagger feud at WWE Extreme Rules 2014? Wait, a second what does that remind me of?
Yes, when the folks in the WWF didn’t have nearly as much faith in Chris Jericho as they do today and Chyna was…well Chyna, the WWF sent Hardcore Holly to the rescue. Heck, in a pinch WWE has even inserted each of these forever over guys into main events when it made little sense to do so. Admittedly, RVD’s main eventing WWE Money in the Bank 2013 was a hell of a better decision than when Holly was placed into the main event scene. The less said about Holly’s match with Brock Lesnar at WWE Royal Rumble 2004 for the WWE Championship, the better.
And oh yeah before I forget it is worth pointing out both men have used the same theme music forever. Forever. You may vaguely recall RVD using “Walk” by Pantera or Holly having a theme to match his former race car driver gimmick, but that was before forever. Somehow.
Overall, most of us will never be in the position of a wrestling veteran who is permanently, over seemingly no matter what, but still doesn’t have to be put in high pressure main event storylines. I guess we can only imagine how sweet it must be.
Categories: Smooth Runs