Florida hasn’t been too kind to the Van Dams. Rob Van Dam’s wife – Sonya – was involved in a serious jet ski accident last July that did severe damage to her leg from which she is still recovering. ECW Television Champion Rob Van Dam fractured his left ankle at a house show at the Zuma Beach club in Florida on January 29th defending the ECW Television Title against Rhino. Van Dam’s ankle turned the wrong way during a baseball slide maneuver. Though he fractured his left ankle, Van Dam continued the match even attempting a splash off a ringside fence.
“Next time we go to Florida, we have to take some good luck charms with us,” joked Van Dam in an conference call with SLAM! Wrestling. “I am not in that much pain and after what I have seen my wife go through, I learned a lot from watching her — like how to get around. This definitely feels like a hangnail compared to what she had.”
Mr. Pay-Per-View is down but not out. Convalescing with a broken leg which will take approximately four months to heal properly, Van Dam hopes to be at the Living Dangerously pay-per-view, but in what capacity he isn’t sure. He has had discussions with ECW President and head booker, Paul Heyman, but nothing has been set in stone as of yet.
“I have no plans. I just expect to be part of it. I don’t know what to expect at this point but I am definitely not in any condition to get into the ring and wrestle, not to say that I couldn’t — I proved when my leg broke that it wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t wrestle. I continued the match another fifteen minutes or so. And, I could still go in the ring today and wrestle if I had to. The result of course would be a life-time injury that would never go away which would devalue Rob Van Dam and nobody wants to see that.”
Taking it easy at home and keeping as much weight and pressure off the injury as possible, Van Dam is relying on his wife much of the time to get through each day in reasonable shape.
“She’s had to pretty much take over. She’s not at a 100%. She put the crutches down a week before I picked them up,” said Van Dam thankful for all the support he’s gotten from concerned fans, his friends and family in and outside ECW.
As a wrestler, Van Dam (who has just inked a five-year deal with ECW) is no stranger to injuries. He has fractured the same ankle before when he used to wrestle barefoot years ago. In a match against ‘Pistol’ Pez Whatley, Van Dam slipped on a wet arena floor and fractured his left ankle. Van Dam also came close to losing his sight in one eye when a piece of a broken table went through his eyelid.
But the question on every wrestling fan’s mind is what will happen to the ECW Television Title if he can’t defend it in a month’s time? Not even Van Dam knows what ECW has in store.
“I don’t know what the official plans are. I don’t know what the plans are by the rulebook because, believe it or not, when you get a belt they don’t give you a rulebook with it,” he said. “One thing I do know is that if they were to decide to put the belt up for grabs I certainly hope that they would give me a shot at going for it. And I would beat everybody and I would win it again.”
Van Dam’s quest for the ECW World Heavyweight Title currently held by Mike Awesome is also on hold. Not that Van Dam minds very much. He was quite happy being the longest-running current champion in pro-wrestling today having held the ECW Television Title for almost two years. Van Dam’s day will come. He is sure that he could take the World Title whenever and wherever he wants to.
“I’d rather have my run with the World Heavyweight Title when ECW is kicking ass in the ratings a little further down the road. Right now, everybody knows that ECW is the company with the most opportunity. We are on our way up and everyone knows WCW sucks. They’re a sinking ship and we are going to be one of the top two groups in a matter of months and at that time when everyone is looking at ECW it would be a fine time to showcase my talents with the Heavyweight Championship,” said Van Dam confidently.
Van Dam is in no hurry to return to the ring and risk serious injury. For now, he is going to get some much needed rest and return when the time is right.
“There’s a standard people expect out of Rob Van Dam and I can’t wrestle like that with a permanently screwed-up ankle,” he said.