Rob Van Dam Shares A Sentimental Moment From 'Headstrong'
Rob Van Dam always knows how to take the wrestling world by storm. The former WWE Champion is the star of Headstrong, a riveting documentary by Joe Clarke. The film follows RVD as he bravely dives headfirst into the comedy circuit while dealing with concussion issues over the course of his legendary career.
Dozens of famous wrestling personalities make surprise appearances throughout the documentary; many will be in town for New York City’s WrestleMania week this upcoming April. Tommy Dreamer and Mick Foley, who are both proud New Yorkers, are just a few of the names who will be bringing their extreme brand to the city that never sleeps in just a few short weeks.
Music & Mojitos had the opportunity to catch up with RVD in an exclusive interview. The 48-year-old wrestler shared a moment from Headstrong that meant the world to him. The documentary shines a bright spotlight on his interaction with WWE Hall of Famer, Bruno Sammartino.
“It was Bruno’s last public appearance,” Van Dam tells Music & Mojitos.
Billed as “The Living Legend,” Sammartino was a good guy in-and-out of the ring. The Italian-born Sammartino passed away on April 18, 2018 at the age of 82. Widely regarded as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, Sammartino was a cultural institution in New York City. Responsible for selling out the iconic Madison Square Garden 180 times, Sammartino was a tremendously popular headliner that paved the way for wrestling’s boom period in the 1980s. Headstrong beautifully captures an exchange between RVD and Sammartino at a fan conventio—one that needs to be seen to be believed.
“Prior to the documentary, our relationship was just in passing. I probably just shook his hand and said hi to him while walking down a hallway,” recalls Van Dam. “I don’t think I’d ever had a conversation with him before that. At The Big Event, he had a big line of fans who wanted to meet him. I went up to him to shake his hand and get a picture with him.”
That’s when movie magic happened. RVD didn’t want to interrupt Sammartino’s precious time with his adoring fans. Before Van Dam could walk away, Sammartino wanted to share his honest thoughts with the Headstrong star.
“When you watch the scene, he clearly is pulling me in and saying, ‘Rob Van Dam, I gotta tell ya. I’ve seen you in the ring many times—you’re pretty damn great.’ To have Bruno say that, oh man. I’ve got all the respect in the world for Bruno, just like everybody else does,” says Van Dam.
While Sammartino might not be around anymore, his impact will be felt for generations to come. That fact doesn’t get lost on RVD, who cherishes the footage in Headstrong.
“That’s one of the things that I’m most proud of in the movie.”