Rob Van Dam’s final WWE appearance is slated to be this year’s One Night Stand PPV, in Jacksonville, Florida, on the 3rd June. Dave Meltzer is reporting that the bad blood between him and John Laurinaitis, which stems from Van Dam embarrassing Laurinaitis in front of the locker room during a big meeting, affected the contract talks. Van Dam wanted to take time off as a condition of entering a new contract, hoping to get a deal like the one WWE offered Paul Wight in which merchandising rights would be paid for one year without him wrestling so long as he did no other unapproved outside projects. Wight turned that deal down and WWE felt it could set ‘a dangerous precedent’ if they gave it to Van Dam. The PPV date is actually before his contract runs out but they will pay him until it does expire, in effect creating a non-compete clause of their own making. Van Dam has reportedly told friends he feels ‘betrayed’ about conversations he had with management about bringing back ECW and that they were never prepared to accept how over he was with the fans. He is also finding it hard to be apart from his wife so much now that the joy has gone out of it, leaving no incentive beyond the financial.
Randy Orton was slated to be sent to ECW to replace Rob Van Dam in terms of ‘star power’ – and also as a punishment. Dusty Rhodes was keen on him coming over, since he liked his father and feels he can straighten Randy out. Of course, given the situation on Smackdown, Orton could just as easily end up there if not just stay put on Raw. The Wrestling Observer says Orton’s situation is that he is one wrong move away from “the Kurt Angle ultimatum”. He had to pay the $30,000 damage to the German hotel room he trashed himself.
Credit: Wrestling Observer Newsletter, May 07, 2007 (click here for subscription info)