WWE Hall of Famer Rob Van Dam has wrestled all over the world, but it is his family relation to Jean-Claude Van Damme that has caught the eye of the wrestling world.
The former WWE and ECW Champion recently debuted in AEW for a match against Hollywood royalty, leading fans to speculate upon his relationship to greatness.
Many have speculated that Rob Van Dam is related to Jean-Claude Van Damme, with the wrestler even claiming to be cousins over the years.
But are they related? In this article, we’ll reveal the truth behind the relation of the two Van Dam(me)s.
Are Rob Van Dam & Jean-Claude Van Damme Related?
Rob Van Dam is not related to Jean-Claude Van Damme, despite the various similarities between the pair.
Both RVD and JCVD are known for their martial-arts background, with both men famous for their incredible flexibility and intense stretching routines.
As well as this, they look eerily similar in their facial structure, although RVD claims “I never saw the resemblance“.
However, RVD’s name was directly inspired by the Belgian movie star. Rob Van Dam was named as such by Ron Slinker, a promoter in Florida in 1992.
The name “Van Dam” was given to a young Robert Alexander Szatkowski by the promoter, who noticed a few similarities between him and Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Slinker noticed how the two shared similar facial features, as well as their background in martial arts.
He encouraged Rob Van Dam to speak with a Belgian accent, and even tell people he was a cousin of the movie star (despite the different spellings of their surnames”.
Speaking with Fightful, Rob Van Dam revealed all about how Rob Van Dam faked his relationship with Jean-Claude Van Damme.
“When I’m down in Florida in ’91 and ’92, Ron Slinker is running the Tampa Sportatorium,” Van Dam explained.
“Ron Slinker said that he thought I looked like this actor, Jean-Claude Van Damme, who was very over. Ron Slinker told me to tell people that I was his cousin.“
“He wanted me to sound like I had a Belgian accent. I was just like, ‘[in accent] I’m very excited to see these people. All of you people, your love for me.’ I was embarrassed and shy and I just did my best, but it stuck.”