If you’ve been regularly reading our vintage Best and Worst of WWF Raw columns (and if you’re not, you’re doing yourself a serious disservice as a wrestling fan), you’ll know that just a couple of weeks ago, we tackled the beginning of the landmark “ECW invasion” angle that the then-WWF experimented with in early 1997. One of the ECW stars who was notably absent for that episode was “Mr. Monday Night,” Rob Van Dam. RVD would eventually show up on WWF television in May of that year, but the star of 3-Headed Shark Attack recently revealed that WWE wanted him to stick around, and he opted to take a walk instead.
When Van Dam recently appeared on The Steve Austin Show, he recalled the angle and the circumstances surrounding it. Unbeknownst to him, WWE had their eye on him, but his loyalty to ECW trumped the thought of a potentially bigger contract and more exposure.
“I walked out on them in ’97 during that invasion angle because I was there for the betterment of ECW, and that’s what Sabu and I thought. And Vince thought that I was there for a different reason and Paul kept us in the dark about that. He told us the whole time, ‘if there’s anything you don’t like, just say the word – we’ll go, we’ll walk.’ And it came a point, we’re there to put ECW on the map on their TV. Well, he did mean it. He wanted us to get heat with WWE, so he could keep us. That’s the way Paul was. And I told him, ‘dude, they wanted me to put over Armstrong, Brian Armstrong. And what’s that going to do for ECW?’