While traveling from a show in West Virginia to Philadelphia with Sabu on July 1st, 2006, Rob Van Dam was caught speeding. This was not unusual for WWE superstars travelling from town to town, who with the amount of miles driven per year, were certain to incur a speeding ticket or two.
The two ECW legend were calm at first. Sabu was known for his high-flying, suicidal style of wrestling, but in real life was a calm, collected individual who gave no police any trouble. He was infamous for some botches in the ring, although it was recently revealed that some of those were done on purpose to fool the fans.
The policeman pulled the duo over for speeding and they hoped that would be the end of it. However, the cops immediately smelt the aroma of marijuana in the car and soon began to search it for drugs. Being the WWE Champion and the face of the ECW brand, you’d have thought RVD would have been more careful.
However, he was not. RVD was discovered to be holding 18 grams of marijuana, alongside five Vicodins. Not to be outdone, Sabu was found holding drug paraphernalia and nine tablets of Testolactone. This was huge, especially during the peak of the “war on drugs” in a post-9/11 world. The duo were immediately arrested.
They were later posted bail and did not spend any time in prison. Whether lack of evidence, WWE involvement or another reason in unknown but the pair were ready to wrestle at the next WWE TV show. However, their pushed suffered more than they ever could have.
While Sabu was not in a high-profile position in WWE, he had the potential to make a great career in the company. He had been in high profile matches with top stars like Rey Mystery and John Cena and was set to be one of the biggest faces of ECW. He had also altered his wrestling style to be more “WWE-Friendly” and had the chance to do great things under Vince McMahon.
However, Rob Van Dam was the biggest loss. He was currently in the midst of his first (and only) WWE Championship reign. He had only just cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and beaten John Cena at ECW One Night Stand 2006 in one of the most memorable WWE title changes of all time. His WWE Championship win was a victory for the fans who had supported him throughout the years and was long overdue, since his World Heavyweight Championship feud Triple H ended with him title-less.
Rob Van Dam’s WWE Championship
Well, this would also end with him without his coveted Championship. He would be suspended from WWE for 30 days, but allowed to wrestle on the following Monday Night Raw and ECW. Their reasoning was that they were “conducted an investigation”, or in other words giving him a chance to drop both the WWE Championship and recently awarded ECW Champion, to Edge and Big Show, respectively.
In a recent interview with Simon Miller from WhatCulture, Rob Van Dam spoke about how legal troubles suffered just after his WWE Championship affected his championship reign in the WWE.
“When I did have the world championship, I dropped the ball by getting busted, whether it would be a crime now or not. And by the way, it was just, I had a bag with me it was possession. But that’s what it was, which isn’t, you know, even illegal a lot of times but, I feel like, hey, that’s great that we’ve made progress and I’m glad to be part of that.” Van Dam added: “And so yeah, that’s part of being ahead of my time part of being feeling valid, like I have a place in this life to move people forward in ways that I that I see on necessary or fit.”
He also admitted, in an interview with the Baltimore Sun, that it “couldn’t have come at a worse time”, but also revealed that he was burnt out at the time and even asked for more time off once his suspension had been lifted.
“From my perspective, when people say that couldn’t have happened at a worse time, I always say it couldn’t have happened at a better time. You’re never going to hear me apologize for that.
“I paid a $100 fine for possession of marijuana. However, since the WWE suspended me, it ended up costing me like $30,000 or $40,000 easily. And you know what? I asked for more time off at the end of the 30 days. That was one of my favorite months of my contract. That’s how much I wanted out of there and how much I missed being home.“
“[These days] I can’t imagine going back to the same schedule that I did before. Can’t imagine. Like, I would have to lose just about everything else out of the equation in my life, and then at that point, we do what he got to do, you know what I mean? That’s not in my best interests or my radar to go back to what I did before. No. No no, no, no, no. NO.”
Sadly RVD would never win the WWE Championship again. He would leave the company a year later, after Wrestlemania 23, and not return until 2013. However, his return was brief and he never captured the same success as he had in his brief stint as WWE Champion.
He did win the TNA World Champion in 2010 but it was a far cry from his peak in WWE. It’s a shame that Rob Van Dam’s WWE Championship ended so abruptly, but he has no-one to blame but himself for not just smoking illegal substances in his car, but also speeding and putting himself in the situation to get caught.
Why Did RVD Leave WWE?
Rob Van Dam left WWE in 2007 because
What did you think of Rob Van Dam as WWE Champion? Let us know in the comments or click below to read about RVD’s last WWE match ever
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.