Rob Van Dam: The obvious one is to do it out of love. Follow it because you love it so much and that is going to carry you because you have got to know that you are fighting odds. You can't just give advice and tell someone how to make it as a superstar or in the top position in any business. So for someone to hold a job as being a top pro wrestler in the world, that is really setting your goals high. I wouldn't discourage anybody because I set my goals that high but I would just say realize it, own it, own that challenge that you've put yourself up to and do it because you love it. And then if you do make it then obviously you get paid for doing something that you love.
Eric: Are there any wrestling schools that you recommend youngsters going to?
Rob Van Dam: I would just Google pro wrestling schools and punch in my zip code. There are so many schools and such a wide range, from being trained by legends to being trained by guys that really suck and really have nothing to offer. Some guys charge $10,000 for the whole tuition of the whole college and others will charge you $25 a day. So you really have got to do a lot of homework. If you do go to Houston, and you go to Booker T's school, you know that you are getting trained by the best, someone that is a current world champion caliber and you can't get that anywhere else. I often recommend Dory Funk down in Florida. There are some good ones out here in LA, Jesse Hernandez has one in San Bernardino. And of course, WWE has their own farming ground that they scout talent from. So if you think you've got a really great look and you want to be seen as soon as possible then you'd want to be signed up at their school in Tampa.
Eric: Towards the end, ECW was notorious for not paying some of their wrestlers. What are the warning signs that a young wrestler should look out for when dealing with a promoter and what advice do you have for young wrestlers that may be dealing with crooked promoters?
Rob Van Dam: That used to be a part of the business when you were coming up. Traditionally, when you start out, you're not making any money anyway. If you are getting paid, it is very little. So for us that have been in it a long time, we see somebody get picked off the streets and get paid to train and learn how to wrestle and then get thrown in the ring before they are ready, then it is our job to dance around the ring and make them look good, that guy gets no respect. So it's all about paying your dues. And part of paying your dues is starting out without much money and probably getting screwed by a few promoters.
I've definitely been in a position where I had a choice of either knocking the promoter out or taking a chance that maybe he would be mailing me the check like he was telling me he would. For me, I went with hoping that I'd get that check which I never did. But really, when you're in demand like RVD is, which you could strive to be, I charge a lot of money because my time is worth a lot to me, my time away from home. And nobody can set the value on what your time is worth except for you and that's an important thing to note. And I get all my money up front which you can't do when you are starting out. I get business class or first-class air travel and you can't do that when you're first starting out. That's why I say that you've go to really, really love it.
It's hard to go about it by yourself. It's best if you have some friends to go with and split the costs of the car, the gas, the hotels, and all that. And work your way up and always try to stand out and try to be better than everyone else on the card every night whether it is a small card in front of a small crowd or a big crowd in front of a humongous audience.
Eric: Is there anything else you would like my readers to know?
Rob Van Dam: I update Robvandam.com a few times a week currently. And I'm always adding new features there. That's where you can always go to find out what my plans are. On Wednesdays, I'll be doing RVD Radio which you can get off of Robvandam.com from 9-11 PM Eastern Time. Booker T will be on there, Sabu, Fonzie, and a bunch of other guys and it will be topical. You know, we are going to be talking about the scandals this week and the BS scandal solutions they have. We're going to be talking about Tiger Woods and his need for sex rehab. Is he really addicted to sex or is he just trying to pacify those who will judge him that don't have the same morals and priorities as him? We're going to be talking about that stuff.
That's what I do and you'd never know that just seeing me in a WWE ring. That's why you've got to watch RVD TV, listen to RVD Radio, read my blogs, and you learn a whole lot more about the real me. And for me, that's what's been really important about me stepping away from the ring. Exploring the real me. Maybe now I can come back more whole with everybody knowing a lot more about me. A more solid position and at a time when hopefully the wrestling position may appreciate me more too. We'll just have to wait and see.