Rob Van Dam Discusses Ups And Downs In His Relationship With Triple H In WWE

During the latest episode of his "One of a Kind" podcast, WWE Hall of Famer Rob Van Dam took time to discuss his up-and-down relationship with Triple H.

Van Dam started off by saying that he had received warnings about him and developed an opinion of "The Game" based on Bret Hart's documentary and also what Triple H said during an interview that RVD felt exposed the business. Van Dam was defensive about keeping it a closed-door society at the time.

By 2002 when The Invasion angle was over, Van Dam sensed resentment from Triple H.

"I felt some resentment because I was told that he was anti-RVD in the business meetings with the agents and everything," Van Dam recalled. "So I took that personally. And then also, I felt that there was some heat there building up and this was about the peak of it. I felt that he was — I don't want to say pretentious — but I felt like he would treat me in a way that was tongue-in-cheek disrespectful where he thought it was going over my head, but it wasn't. I had a build-up of that and stuff, so that's how I remember that coming together right there at the Staples Center."

The Frog Splash Gone Wrong

At the end of 2002, Rob Van Dam started chasing Triple H's World Heavyweight Championship. They competed in the very first Elimination Chamber match at that year's Survivor Series, and RVD was tasked with hitting a frog splash off of a pod onto Triple H.

"The idea was presented to me, it wasn't mine," Van Dam said. "But I thought, 'That sounds cool, it should be no problem.' But when I was up there, I was way uncomfortable."

RVD recalled not knowing how much spring to put into the move because there was no bounce in the platform he was leaping off of. On top of that, he couldn't stand straight up because of the cage ceiling.

"I remember being up there and being like, 'Wow, this is like do or die.' Like I've committed," Van Dam said. "I didn't feel comfortable, but when I jumped, obviously I wouldn't have jumped unless I thought, 'I think I got this, I feel like I'm gonna make the best of it,' and I guess I should've dropped straight down and I gave a little bit of a jump down. So when I came down, my shin went across his throat and I didn't know right away that he was hurt... I think it crushed his larynx, so it was pretty bad."

Van Dam felt bad when he heard Triple H was taken out of the arena in an ambulance. He also feared getting in trouble.

WrestleMania 19 Felt Like a Personal Vendetta

When WrestleMania 19 came around the corner in 2003, there were rumors that Triple H didn't think Rob Van Dam was over enough to face him at the biggest show of the year. As a result, Van Dam competed in a "Sunday Night Heat" tag team match alongside Kane, while Triple H defended the world title against Booker T.

While reflecting on that period, Van Dam admitted it did feel like Triple H had a personal vendetta against him, but he was also stuck in a mindset of thinking of Triple H as "one of the boys" even though he had influence in the office.

"So if I'm asked, 'Do you feel like he held me back or kept me down,' I guess that's evidence right there if that's how the jury was waivered," Van Dam said. "But also, he had a right to have his opinion and his judgment, and he sat in that position in the office. I didn't use to be able to give him credit for that, and now I do. Look what he's done, now he's running everything. Obviously, you can't say, 'He didn't know what he was doing or talking about.' But I do feel like if it was that side of him or if it was somebody else maybe that was pro-RVD, then I think a lot of things probably would've been different."

Working With Triple H in 2013

Fast-forward to 2013 when RVD returned to WWE, Triple H had settled into the role of Chief Operating Officer.

"I remember when I did my return [in 2013], everybody's telling me, 'He's running stuff now. You gotta call him and talk to him before you get on the schedule.' That's the way it works, so that was a big change. But my 2013 run went really well. Since then, he's always treated me with respect."

Van Dam clarified that Triple H was "mostly" respectful to him back in the day, but there was a backhandedness to his comments.

"It's just that, in the game, I kind of felt that even though he was treating me respectfully, it was kind of backhanded. He never would've said something insulting or deliberately, but maybe something like, 'Oh, hey, glad you could join us, Rob,' when everyone's already been discussing a six-man match and I've been avoiding it for as long as I could... He would say, 'Glad you could join us, Rob. You need something to munch on?' I would say, 'I know what you did. I'm gonna remember that.' It was more of that [then] and less of that [now]. When I see him at the Hall of Fames and stuff like that now, it's all good."

Triple H's legacy

After working with Triple H as a talent and executive, Van Dam respects seeing "The Game" rise to the top of WWE.

"I mean, if you really think about what he's done as far as ascending in this industry, he's made it higher than any of the boys ever," Van Dam said. "He went from paying tuition, I suppose, to Walter Kowalski in Mellon, Massachusetts, back in 1990 or 1991 and he went through all of his years of learning and making the right moves and stuff to where he's running the WWE. I think that's pretty f****** remarkable, you know?"

"He goes down as that example of success and what could be achievable. 'Believe yo'self!' ... I think that's a pretty damn good success story and what he's done to the industry, he's not just taking it over, but he's continuing it in a time right now when it seems like we need somebody with credibility to grab the reins."

If you use any quotes from this article, please credit "One of a Kind" with a h/t to Rllegends for the transcription.