Rob Van Dam’s AEW Debut Shows Tony Khan’s Love For ECW

Hamish Woodward

Fans were shocked when ECW legend Rob Van Dam first showed up in AEW.

The 52-year-old former WWE Champion had not been seen in a major promotion since 2014, when he left the WWE following some poor booking by Vince McMahon.

He did spend some time in TNA and over in Japan with NOAH, but it seemed the former ECW Champion’s time at the top was over.

However, he shocked the world by turning up in AEW in 2023, facing off with one of the top young stars in the company for a title he is all too familair with.

Rob Van Dam’s AEW Debut

Rob Van Dam made his AEW debut on the August 2nd, 2023 episode of AEW debut.

His appearance came during an advertised confrontation between FTW Champion Jack Perry (also known as “Jungle Boy”) and ECW legend Jerry Lynn.

Perry seemed to be angling for a match with Lynn, although the former star reassured him that his career was long over, and he would not be engaging in a match with the FTW Champion.

However, Jerry Lynn did have a friend who could fight on his behalf, and introduced Rob Van Dam for his AEW debut.

It was then announced that Rob Van Dam’s first match in AEW would be against Jack Perry the next week, battling for the FTW Championship.

Tony Khan Was A Big Fan Of ECW

RVD’s debut in AEW was helped by the fact that AEW President Tony Khan was a big fan of ECW back in the day.

He has told the story many times about how his father offered him one thing if he did well in school, and a young Tony Khan chose to attend an ECW show – which turned out to be Chris Jericho’s final appearance for the promotion.

A fan Tweeted a photo of Tony Khan at ECW The Doctor Is In, to which Tony Khan revealed was actually him, and gave some context before promoting AEW Dynamite.

Yes, that was me. This show was Chris Jericho’s last night in ECW, it was 24 years ago this week, and now he’ll be on #AEWDynamite on TNT tonight debating @orangecassidy with a special guest moderator! It will be a lot of fun! Thank you to everyone planning to watch AEW tonight!

RVD Put “A Lot Of Doubters To Shame”

The latest “1 Of A Kind With RVD” podcast, Rob Van Dam talks in-depth about his AEW debut, revealing that he’ll show the doubters with his performance.

He spoke about how many people say he’s “old and fragile”, but that the former WWE Champion does not feel that way in the ring.

“Dude, there’s going to be a lot of doubters put to shame next week. Let me just put it that way.”

“One dude said, ‘He’s too old and fragile for beating his body up. Like, I don’t identify with old. I don’t because I don’t feel old and but I understand that at 52, the younger people would look at that as ‘old.’ I get that. So it is what it is … I’m not insulted, but I don’t identify with it because I feel great.”

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